By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
Zanu PF acting spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa has lashed out at the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC), alleging their language was reminiscent of a letter written by opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa.
Speaking during Zanu PF’s weekly press briefing held at the party headquarters in Harare, Chinamasa alleged that the context of ZCBC’s pastoral letter was divisive and segregating a certain flock from the church.
“The language used by the Catholic Bishops seems as though they are banishing some sheep from the church. It’s like the letter was written by Nelson Chamisa and Tendai Biti,” Chinamasa said.
Chinamasa also urged the Catholic Bishops to amplify the” Sanctions must go” mantra.
“Before you speak, please ask for a dialogue with the President. We are open to any dialogue and we are open to discuss any issue that affects Zimbabweans. We should not allow any tendencies which precipitate us to violence in Zimbabwe.” Chinamasa said.
Two weeks ago, the ZCBC released a statement condemning Mnangagwa’s under-fire administration for being perpetrators of the political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe.
The pastoral letter was signed by ZCBC president Archbishop Charles Ndlovu, Archbishop Alex Thomas (ZCBC deputy president), and bishops Paul Horan (ZCBC secretary and treasurer), Michael Bhasera (Masvingo), Albert Serrano (Hwange), Rudolf Nyandoro (Gokwe) and Raymond Mupandasekwa (Chinhoyi).
Part of the statement read: “It is not so clear as your Bishops that the national leadership that we have has the knowledge, social skill, emotional stability and social orientation to handle the issues we face as a nation,” part of the Bishops Pastoral Letter read.
Information minister, Monica Mutsvangwa responded and attacked the ZCBC using all sorts of derogatory language after the clergymen had condemned the wanton human rights violations and clampdown on opposition activists amid escalating political tensions in the country.
She singled out for strong rebuke, Ndebele priest, Robert Ndlovu and it has been widely considered tribalistic.
Mutsvangwa and her family were accused of authoring a tribalistic statement meant to antagonise the Ndebele people and remind them about the Gukurahundi Genocide where an estimated 20 000 civilians were killed.
The operation was allegedly led by Mnangagwa when he was a minister under late former president Robert Mugabe in the 1980s.
According to several analysts Zimbabwe has not undergone a genuine national healing process and Mutsvangwa’s reckless statements are likely to fuel animosities between the Shona and Ndebele ethnic groups in the country.
Zimbabwe is currently experiencing massive human rights violations perpetrated by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s under-fire administration which is battling an economic crisis partly blamed on corruption and mismanagement.
Over 60 people have been arrested and some of them brutalized by suspected state security agents following the 31st July anti-corruption protests.
Journalist Hopewell Chin’ono who played a key role in exposing Mnangagwa, his son Collins and his wife Auxilia in allegations of corruption was arrested on spurious charges of inciting violence.
The fallout saw the arrest and dismissal of former Health Minister Obadiah Moyo. But Chin’ono was also arrested together with opposition Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume.
They were charged for inciting violence, in connection with 31st July protests against corruption.
They are being detained at the country’s largest and notorious jail, the Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison.
MDC Alliance national youth organiser, Godfrey Kurauone was recently arrested and charged with undermining President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s authority.
All of them have been denied bail in an average of two applications to the county’s courts.
On Friday, MDC Alliance Vice Chairman Job Sikhala was arrested and charged with allegations of inciting public violence in connection with 31st July protests against corruption.
On Tuesday last week, top lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa claimed Mnangagwa’s administration was instituting persecution of human rights lawyers after the Magistrate Court banned her from representing incarcerated journalist Chin’ono. Nehanda Radio