Controversial cleric Musindo calls for unity

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DESTINY for Africa Network  (DNA) founder Obadiah Musindo has called on the church to promote political tolerance and unity in the country as part of efforts to create conducive conditions for economic development.
Reacting to last Sunday’s hard-hitting pastoral letter by the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference, which alleged human rights abuses by President Emmerson Mnangagwa‘s government, Musindo said instead of promoting divisions, the clerics must be on the forefront calling for dialogue.

“As the Church, we should not speak the same language with that of our detractors. Zimbabweans must solve their problems without external influence.

“We are all Zimbabweans, why don’t we act as brothers? I expect the church to work towards removing divisions. They must work to unite the nation, enable Zanu PF and the MDC to be able to talk,” Musindo said.

The DNA founder accused the Catholic Bishops of failing to distinguish between a crisis and mere economic hardships.

“There is a difference between economic hardships and crisis. The president does agree that we are experiencing economic hardships, but he is doing well to correct the situation without having to take a populist approach.
“Instead of the Church taking a confrontational approach against the ED-led government; it must be encouraging people to work hard,” he said.

Musindo said conflict only leads to destruction. “It does not work to be confrontational as it leads to the death of people as happened on August 1, 2018. Property was destroyed and those previous experiences should have taught us a lesson.

“They talk of human rights, but they do not consider the rights of those whose property was destroyed. Why didn’t the bishops also write to the organisers of the July 31 to find out what measures they had put in place to ensure people are not exposed to Covid-19?” he said.

This comes as Mnangagwa had challenged the clerics to join the political fray and contest him in the 2023 presidential race as opposed to “hiding” behind the Bible while pushing for political change.

The Church has joined citizens and opposition political parties as well as the international community in calling for Mnangagwa to dialogue with his political rivals amid accusations of human rights abuses and cracking down on dissent since he came to power through a military aided takeover from the late former president Robert Mugabe in 2017.

In his opening remarks to the Zanu PF politiburo at the party headquarters in Harare, Mnangagwa said the ruling party has always enjoyed cordial relations with the Church since the days of the country’s struggle for independence from Britain in the 1970s.

“However, it is most unfortunate when men of cloth begin to use the pulpit to advance a nefarious agenda for detractors of our country. Those who want to enter the political realm are welcome to do so.

“They must come out and form political parties. As Zanu PF we are ready for the 2023 elections,” Mnangagwa said.
In their pastoral letter, the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference said the country was suffering from “a multi-layered crisis”, including economic collapse, deepening poverty, corruption and human rights abuses.

“Fear runs down the spine of many of our people today. The crackdown on dissent is unprecedented. Is this the Zimbabwe we want? To have a different opinion does not mean to be an enemy,” the bishops” hard hitting letter read.

The letter was immediately met with an equally stinging response from Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa who chastised the head of the bishops’ conference, Robert Ndlovu, describing the pastoral letter as an “evil message” meant to stoke” Rwanda-type genocide.”

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