Churches plot anti-Mugabe protest in Harare for Wednesday

By Bridget Mananavire

Church organisations are plotting an anti-President Robert Mugabe protest tomorrow in Harare.

Supporters of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party protest against President Mugabe in Harare on April 14, 2016 ©Jekesai Njkizana (AFP)
Supporters of Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party protest against President Mugabe in Harare on April 14, 2016 ©Jekesai Njkizana (AFP)

The organisations — Zimbabwe Devine Destiny (ZDD), Prayer Network of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Pastors Fellowship, Christian Voice and Zimbabwe Christian Alliance — said they will proceed with the demonstration despite failing to get police clearance.

ZDD leader Ancelimo Magaya said the group will also submit a document to the Botswana Embassy in Harare, directed to Sadc — seeking the block’s intervention in the prevailing Zimbabwean economic crisis.

“We want government to address the concerns that are being raised, including corruption, poverty, victimisation of protestors as well as church leaders and also what they are doing to war veterans. We want that to stop,” he said.

In the protest, the churches plan to march from Parkade in Harare’s CBD to Parliament.

“…a section of us shall also be going to the Botswana embassy. This is because Botswana President Ian Khama is the current Sadc chairman.

“I have been to the police and they did not clear us, but the lawyers are on it so that we get an order to proceed.”

This comes as Mugabe has castigated church leaders, including the now United States-based #ThisFlag anti-Mugabe campaign leader Evan Mawarire, saying they should stick to religion and not meddle in politics.

“I want to warn leaders of these churches that are emerging only for the sake of money the likes of (Evan) Mawarire that Zanu PF will not tolerate any nonsense done in the name of religion that once you begin to interfere with our politics you are courting real trouble.

“Keep to your religion and we will respect you. We know how to deal with our enemies who have for a long time been itching to effect regime change. We have the means to do that,” Mugabe said last month.

The clergymen have also previously warned government to listen to the cries of suffering Zimbabweans or expect an implosion.

Church groups — including Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference, the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches and the Student Christian Movement of Zimbabwe — have also criticised the politicising of “people’s genuine grievances and the harassment of churches and their leaders”. Daily News