HARARE – Controversial preacher Emmanuel Makandiwa has come under fire for nudging the Zimbabwe Media Commission to close down the Daily News.
Makandiwa’s lawyers wrote to the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) requesting it to severely punish the paper over an inadvertent error made on one of the paper’s street posters.
Makandiwa, who had earlier withdrawn a $2 million suit against the Daily News, has received brickbats for his latest drive to have the popular newspaper shut down.
What has angered the nation is that Makandiwa had an option to approach the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) or even the Media Council who handle complaints but decided to approach ZMC which among other things deregulates newspapers.
Various media groups have rallied to defend the Daily News against Makandiwa’s request for the ZMC to severely punish the paper in a move more associated with war mongering.
The preacher is now under fire for wielding the axe, an action which observers say is far removed from Biblical teachings.
Amid the furore over the threats, the Daily News took to the streets to get a sense of what the people feel about the self-styled prophet’s threats.
Tatenda Chinho, a 35-year-old entrepreneur said: “What I want to ask is what more did the Daily News do to Makandiwa? Hazvizizvega. But as a man of God he should not be after the closure of a paper that feeds many families and presents views that are needed in society.
“Take for example Paul in the Bible, he was beaten and jailed but he never thrashed those people, he represented the ways of Jesus, and so we expect to see Makandiwa representing the ways of Jesus. Maybe it is because of how the Daily News portrays him as a gimmick referring him as a ‘self-styled prophet’ that he is angry with.
“We see many churches getting involved in questionable politics and other issues, straying away from the works of God.”
Learnmore Manana, 38, a security officer said: “When you are steadfast in prayer, you’re tried and tested and the way to fight those temptations is just leaving it to God. If someone hits you and you hit back you’re now as bad as the person who hit you. If it is an enemy, you leave it to God, maybe these are tests to see where he really stands with God.”
A 23-year-old security officer, Learnmore Ngauvhi said: “We see Makandiwa as a man of God, so there are certain things we expect him not to get involved in, like a person who knows God.”
A 25-year-old woman who works for the Institute of Chartered Secretaries said: “Jesus was denied three times by one of his disciples but he did not deny him. If a daughter elopes, no matter how much the mother wanted her to wed properly, you will never see that mother denouncing her daughter.
“What I am saying is he should not be like (Nolbert) Kunonga (an Anglican bishop who was recently dethroned). How then does he preach to his congregants about Bible teachings on forgiveness if he himself cannot be an example? He must not let temptations get the better of him.”
Alfonce Murondi, a 35-year-old man said: “It now seems his teachings are now centred on money and other things. When he withdrew the case, he should have stopped there.” – Bridget Mananavire