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‘Makandiwa abuses congregants with his political positions’ – Mliswa

Norton legislator Temba Mliswa has blasted United Family International Church (UFIC) founder Emmanuel Makandiwa for praising President Emmerson Mnangagwa during the Zanu PF leader’s visit to his church last Saturday.

Makandiwa went into overdrive extolling Mnangagwa’s virtues during the event, declaring his undying support for Mnangagwa, describing him as God fearing.

But Mliswa is of the view that the pentecostal preacher coerced his large following to support the Zanu-PF leader.

“Makandiwa should just join Zanu-PF to stop this elevated posturing, feinting more enlightenment than everyone else. He is a Pastor for God’s sake and should operate in a smarter way. I’m Independent but openly state the only party I know is Zanu-PF. He should do the same,” he said.

“He can join the party structures and advance the party propaganda openly not hiding behind the pulpit and abusing congregants by foisting on them his personal political positions purveyed with spiritual exousia.

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“Being a true man of God isn’t about abstaining from politics or supporting the opposition. It’s about defending and supporting what is right. Standing for principles, the weak, the poor. Morals. Justice. Truth.

“As an individual he has every right to join the party and show explicitly his side. It’s unfair on his congregation, listening to him as a man of God and yet him using that position to advance his selfish, personal and partisan agenda.

“It’s unfair on the suffering people in his church to have their leader slyly operate as a pastor and yet use his spiritual position to advance secular agendas for selfish aggrandisement. His congregation is filled with jobless youths and he tells them Govt isn’t responsible?”

United Family International Church (UFIC) leader Emmanuel Makandiwa sang President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s praises
United Family International Church (UFIC) leader Emmanuel Makandiwa sang President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s praises

Mliswa added: “That is cheap propaganda we expect at rallies. Other Governments monthly produce statistics of how many jobs they have created in the economy whether directly or indirectly, because ultimately Govt remains responsible for the upkeep of its people.

“We know some of these guys simply use their ‘spiritual’ talents and gifts for personal aggrandizement and we have restrained ourselves from getting involved because some of these issues are about personal taste, beliefs and preferences in life.

“However, going forward I would think Parliament should craft laws to deal with churches the same way Govt is going after NGOs. Same way the government regulates the media, lawyers etc. We want to follow where does the money go after people bring it? How is it used? Who benefits?

“Some church leaders have suddenly been ‘blessed’ by God only after forming churches. Suddenly there has been a stampede to form churches. Too many revelations! It’s high time churches are regulated otherwise people are being fleeced by conmen.

“That is why I prefer the older churches such as Methodist, Roman Catholic, Dutch Reformed, Anglican etc. There is transparency and clarity in these churches as compared to these Pentecostals who weakly spiritualise everything to hide their shady ways.

“The Bible is filled with Men of God who stood for the truth against Kings even to the point of death. Yet our version of Pentecostal leaders are weak and feeble lying that Christians have nothing to do with politics, churning out a bastardised interpretation of scripture.

Temba Mliswa being arrested by police at his Borrowdale home in Harare
Temba Mliswa being arrested by police at his Borrowdale home in Harare in February 2021

“Resultantly, congregants have been daily fed an opium of docility such that they are weak against injustices and repression under the false belief that whoever is ruling has been approved by God and anything goes!

“I believe there is a direct connection between the seeming political passivity of Zimbabweans and our being a Christian nation. The spiritual side has been used to strangle the political consciousness of the masses through the agency of people like Makandiwa.

“The Pastor has a venerated position in people’s hearts and minds and should not abuse that position to feed people his partisan political orientations. He should stand for truth as a principle and speak out against any injustice.

“The equivalent of some of these actions are found in the Bible too, with Balaam going out to prophesy against God’s people because he had been paid. Ultimately it will fail.

“Pentecostal churches are generally bigoted as institutions and view themselves as the sole proprietors of the gospel of salvation. To them, everything and everyone else is lost. It’s a dangerous posture which has created demi-gods who are not foundationed on truth and social justice.

“The lack of capacity for critical introspection within these Pentecostals has also damaged their ability to be solid as institutions and outgrow the person of their founders. Many remain extensions of their founding leaders who are themselves mere mortals prone to fall.

“Thus a correction of a church leader becomes an attack against the church and the foundation of their scriptural beliefs. The believers can’t distinguish the leader from the gospel! It’s tragic but the leaders want it that way because they are protected from critical questions!” Mliswa wrote.