A defiant President Emmerson Mnangagwa has castigated the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC) for denouncing his unprecedented crackdown on dissent claiming instead there is no political crisis in Zimbabwe.
Speaking at the Politburo meeting on Wednesday, Mnangagwa accused the men of cloth of working with people who wanted to destabilise his government.
“In the post-independence period, we continue to work well with the church to advance the national development agenda, as a united people.
“However, it is most unfortunate when men of the cloth begin to use the pulpit to advance a nefarious agenda for detractors of our country, ” Mnangagwa said.
Last Friday, 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).
Information minister, Monica Mutsvangwa 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 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.
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.
The opposition Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) on Tuesday claimed that there was a serious danger of bloody confrontation between tribes in Zimbabwe following unbridled divisive hate speech and outbursts on Catholic Bishops by Mutsvangwa.