By Byron Mutingwende
The Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) Harare Province has reiterated its support for Robert Mugabe’s presidency and his government, as the country heads towards the 2018 elections. This emerged at the ACCZ Congress in Bulawayo running from 27-29 October 2017.
“The ACCZ Harare Province categorically and unequivocally supports the government of the day in line with Biblical principles that demand of us to pray for our leaders; bearing in mind or taking cognisant of the fact that they were ordained by God. That means we are fully in support of President Mugabe and his government,” said Bishop Lameck Chitope, the ACCZ Chairman of Harare Metropolitan province.
Analysts say that position could have been influenced by the meeting that the Apostolic sects in Harare held recently with Shadreck Mashayamombe, the Harare Province Zanu (PF) Political Commissar believed to be one of the kingpins of the G40 faction that seeks to propel First Lady Grace Mugabe into the presidium during the much-anticipated Zanu (PF) extraordinary congress.
The church has for long been playing a pivotal role in the country’s political discourse. During the liberation war, clerics were influential conduits of food and medicine for the guerrilla fighters. The church, particularly the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) was vocal against the Midlands and Matebeleland disturbances known as Gukurahundi in which thousands of innocent civilians were massacred in order to quell ZAPU insurgency. Other vocal men of the cloth who had a voice in politics include the ex-communicated Roman Catholic Priest, Archbishop Pius Ncube – known critic of President Mugabe’s rule.
Johannes Ndanga, the ACCZ President said the church should be an advocate for peace and took a dig at factionalism currently playing out within the ruling and opposition political parties.
“The focus of political leaders should be on addressing the social, political and economic challenges that the country is grappling with. These include high unemployment, outbreaks of diseases like typhoid and lack of essential medicines in hospitals. When we provide solutions to such challenges, we can then talk about positions,” Ndanga said.
Runyararo Kunzekweguta, the ACCZ Regional Coordinator for the Southern Region said the church was playing a key role in addressing unemployment and other social ills.
“We encourage our church members to engage in income-generating projects like poultry, market gardening and seed-funding. Our youths and members get occupied by these projects and this goes a long way in reducing social ills like prostitution and drug abuse among the youths,” Kunzekweguta said.