THE bond between Zanu PF and the Church formed during the country’s protracted liberation struggle cannot be broken by some men of God hiding behind the pulpit to push a “nefarious” political agenda, President Mnangagwa has said.
Addressing members of the Politburo yesterday, the President — who is the revolutionary party’s First Secretary — said even in post-independent Zimbabwe, Zanu PF has continued to work hand in glove with the Church.
“In the post-independence period, we continue to work well with the Church to advance the national development agenda, as a united people.
However, it is most unfortunate when men of the cloth begin to use the pulpit to advance a nefarious agenda for detractors of our country,” said President Mnangagwa.
This comes as the Roman Catholic Church last week torched a storm after releasing a letter under the title “The march is not ended”, which contained unproven and untested claims of a crisis in Zimbabwe.
The sensationalised pastoral letter dovetailed with the country’s detractors’ attempt to manufacture a non-existent crisis in Zimbabwe which was supposed to culminate in subversive demonstrations on July 31, a march that was thwarted by the country’s security forces.
After Zimbabweans rejected the opposition subversive attempts that were disguised as anti-corruption protests, the country’s detractors roped in some churches, civic society and opposition forces in the region to harp about the non-existent crisis.
However, President Mnangagwa, who commended Zimbabweans for rejecting the evil regime change machinations, said men of cloth dabbling in politics should make a choice between being politicians or shepherding the nation as the clergy.
“They must come out and form political parties. As Zanu PF, we are ready for the 2023 elections. We are a people’s party that believes in unity, love, peace and in championing development. We fought for the empowerment of our people,” he said.
The President said Zanu PF, as a party that fought tooth and nail to deliver Zimbabwe from colonial bondage, achieve democracy and constitutionalism, would always ensure that those tenets are entrenched in the country.
“Following their crashing failure, our detractors are evidently in disarray and desperate, and grasping at straws to destroy confidence in our democratically elected Government.
They are equally on an overdrive to discredit our people-centred programmes,” he said.
In the aftermath of its crushing defeat in the 2018 harmonised elections, the MDC Alliance vowed to sabotage the Zanu PF led administration by throwing spanners into most of the Government programmes, through rolling out violent demonstrations and besmirching the Second Republic on social media platforms.
Despite the concerted efforts of the country’s detractors, both internal and external, the ruling party is working towards fulfilling its manifesto through a raft of people-oriented programmes, the President said.
“We are delivering on the promises we made to the people. We set out under the Second Republic to establish and sustain a just and equitable society firmly based on our historical, cultural, social and economic experiences as well as our aspirations for better quality of life for all our people.
“As highlighted in our manifesto, our agriculture programme such as the broadening of the access to land by more Zimbabweans through the rationalisation of farm sizes and the elimination of multiple farm ownership, is on course” he said.
Later this month, the President will launch the Agriculture Recovery Plan, which seeks to meet the promises made towards promoting productivity, enhance support systems and infrastructure, and develop markets for the agriculture products to earn the country much needed foreign currency
The Government, he said had concluded the Global Compensation Deed Agreement with the white former commercial farmers in line with the country’s constitutional provisions.
The President also recommended the speedy implementation of Cadre Development Programmes in the party so as to come up with an informed party member.
“I call upon the Commissariat Department from the cell to the national level to move with speed and implement Cadre Development Programmes leveraging ICTs.
An informed and alert cadre can more effectively advance the national agenda and help to accelerate the implementation of our development projects”.
In a press briefing following the 343 ordinary session, the revolutionary party acting Secretary for Information and Publicity, Cde Patrick Chinamasa said the Politburo endorsed the President’s response to the letter issued by a few bishops and therefore not reflective of the general feeling among Catholics.
“The Politburo endorsed the President’s response to a few bishops whose letter has been discredited as (it was) disrespectful, malicious and pandering to the narrative of the splitting MDCs.
The Politburo laughed them off and advised them that if they are tired of reading bibles and preaching Godly principles of peace, love and unity, then they are well within their rights to join politics openly rather than seek to do so nicodemously, hiding behind the cross of Christ.
We know that Catholic members felt misrepresented by this selfish elite cleric band,” said Cde Chinamasa.
Indigenous churches have dismissed the letter by the Catholic Bishops as “ungodly, biased and disrespectful” and the Politburo also asked why the bishops have been silent each time the civil society groups and the MDC Alliance embark on violent protests, burning shops and police vehicles, looting and harassing citizens.
“Does the Bible they read teach them to preach violence or glorify it? We have never seen anywhere in the world where opposition groups have a right to express themselves violently.
They have remained mum on the impact of sanctions on this economy and only themselves know why they have chosen that route,” said Cde Chinamasa.
Cde Chinamasa said the Politburo noted the “coordinated and systematic social media attacks of the nation by faceless social media robots and ghost accounts meant to spread falsehoods against the situation in our country.
The Politburo assured people to never lose sleep over those falsehoods and attacks, knowing fully well that the party and Government are very vigilant and focused on fulfilling the 2018 Manifesto despite the harsh conditions. There is no crisis in Zimbabwe. Covid-19 is all over”.
The Politburo resolved to intensify the fight against sanctions and welcomed the stance taken by SADC, at its recently concluded summit, to continue calling for the removal of the illegal economic sanctions affecting, not only Zimbabwe, but the region as a whole.
Later this year on October 25, the region will stand up against sanctions and Cde Chinamasa said preparations for the day are in the offing.