Churches and faith leaders seen backing Mnangagwa against Chamisa

Churches and faith leaders seen backing Mnangagwa against Chamisa
Published: 23 October 2018 (310 Views)
As religious leaders urge the two warring sides in Zimbabwe to resolve their political impasse, many Zimbabweans suspect them of backing President Emmerson Mnangagwa and accuse the clergy of fueling the violence following the country's disputed elections in July.

Christians who support Mnangagwa's opponent are avoiding churches that support Mnangagwa or any political party.

"I don't go to church nowadays," said John Makoni, 35, who owns a restaurant in the eastern city of Mutare, when reached by phone. "Preachers are urging people to accept the outcome of the vote and move on instead of fighting for justice. They should be asking why the elections were rigged and stop supporting one political party."

President Mnangagwa won with more than 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff election against opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, who garnered 44.3 percent.

Chamisa, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, has refused to accept defeat and a subsequent court ruling upholding Mnangagwa's win. The dispute has led to violent protests that have resulted in scores of deaths.

The Zimbabwe Council of Churches previously condemned the opposition leader for championing violence. It has called on both leaders to urge their supporters to maintain peace.

"We need peace in our country. We want our people to be united and tolerant," said Kenneth Mtata, secretary general of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches. "We urge all political leaders to speak against violence and preach peace."

Chamisa, 40, is a pastor and lawyer who took over as the party's chief in February after longtime leader Morgan Tsvangirai died of cancer at the age of 65. He has vowed to swear himself in as president or rally his supporters countrywide to unseat Mnangagwa peacefully if the incumbent doesn't step aside and allow for free and fair elections.

Mnangagwa, of the Zanu-PF party, took power last November after the military forced Robert Mugabe, who had ruled for more than 35 years, to step down. Church leaders have asked Mnangagwa to quickly embark on bringing the country together.

Mtata told journalists last week in Harare, the capital, that religious leaders had already met with the opposition party and were now waiting for Chamisa to sign an agreement to stand down and move on. Zanu-PF is willing to talk but wanted a more formal process that would ensure that protests would not continue, he said.

"We want to urgently bring the two warring parties together so that we can talk and find lasting peace. We want our country to be united," Mtata said.

Pastor Blessing Makwara of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe told Religion News Service that the church was ready to send ministers around the country to preach peace so that citizens will unite around the results of the election.

"We are preaching peace and all church leaders should speak peace," he said. "We should not condone violence because that goes against the Bible teachings."

Sheikh Ishmail Duwa of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs in Zimbabwe said it was time for all religious communities to join hands and pray for peace to save the country from collapsing.

"It's time that as religious communities we should come together and preach peace despite our political party's affiliation," he said.

But Makoni, the Mutare restaurateur, said religious leaders should not hide behind peace.

"Nothing is going to change with the current leadership we have," said Makoni, a father of five. "We need another free and fair election. We cannot accept the elections and move on. Religious leaders need to be on the forefront to call for a repeat election.

"Peace can only be found by doing justice to the victims," he said. "They should be telling the president to resign because he never won the elections."

- Agencies

 0

You May Like These Videos

Comments

There are no comments.

Latest stories

Government sells NetOne and TelOne

by Mandla Ndlovu | 20 March 2019 | 70 Views

How Prophet Isaiah Sovi foretold Cyclone Idai

by Mandla Ndlovu | 20 March 2019 | 112 Views

'Joshua Nkomo made Mugabe the leader of ZANU in 1975'

by Mandla Ndlovu | 20 March 2019 | 93 Views

Water shortage to increase in Harare

by Mandla Ndlovu | 20 March 2019 | 68 Views

#Cyclone Idai: Mnangagwa on the ground

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 71 Views

Zesa gets new board

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 59 Views

Chamisa wants MPs to push for Department of Civil Protection reform

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 62 Views

Heavyweights vie for ZACC posts

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 47 Views

Leyland eyes Zimbabwe bus plant

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 55 Views

Potraz summons Liquid over tariff hike

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 49 Views

ZCTU bosses' freedom bid quashed

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 34 Views

Over 100 trucks transporting Zimbabwe wheat stuck in Mozambique

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 49 Views

Ex-Zanu-PF Senator sued over $368k power debt

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 58 Views

Bulilima West MP bemoans absence of referral hospital

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 48 Views

MP takes council to task over floods

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 44 Views

Men jailed 2 years for defacing Mnangagwa banner

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 55 Views

Man (21) kills brother (15) over food

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 53 Views

Headman leaves behind 35 children

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 58 Views

Mash Central MDC youth leader out on bail

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 26 Views

MDC MP seeks removal from remand

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 24 Views

Victoria Falls mall ready to open

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 34 Views

BCC faces questions over lavish spending

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 24 Views

Mnangagwa resurrects Beitbridge District club

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 20 Views

New Zesa board tasked to curb corruption

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 28 Views

#CycloneIdai: 500 still missing as rescue efforts continue

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 28 Views

Gukurahundi play gets Nama nomination

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 26 Views

'Chamisa visit to #CycloneIdai hit areas a publicity stunt'

by newzimbabwe | 20 March 2019 | 67 Views

Mnangagwa to splash on riot gear

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 65 Views

Zimbabwe inflation to decline to 10%

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 27 Views

WATCH: Cyril Ramaphosa threaten foreigners in South Africa

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 39 Views

Candidates nominated for ZACC - full-list

by Parliement | 20 March 2019 | 31 Views

WATCH: Lobengula's grave site revealed

by Mandla Ndlovu | 20 March 2019 | 35 Views

Zimbabwe Hindus launch Idai relief efforts

by Agencies | 20 March 2019 | 23 Views

'Cyclone victims being buried in mass graves'

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 30 Views

Zimbabwe army rescues 20 marooned villagers

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 37 Views

Students recount sleeping with corpses #CycloneIdai

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 31 Views

Build to live not just stay

by Thomas Murisa | 19 March 2019 | 108 Views

Muzamhindo pushes for a Policy Indaba

by Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo | 19 March 2019 | 104 Views