Brian Chitemba Investigations Editor, Sunday Mail
PRESIDENT Mugabe has blasted “pastors” who steal from congregants in the name of God.
In the past few years, Zimbabwe has witnessed a mushrooming of pentecostal movements whose often youthful pastors stage-manage miracles to entice congregants from whom they make a fortune through tithes, personal donations and seeding of money.
President Mugabe was speaking at the 60th birthday celebrations of his sister-in-law, Mrs Junior Gumbochuma.
Mrs Gumbochuma is First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe’s eldest sister.
The President and Amai Mugabe gave Mrs Gumbochuma $60 000 as a gift while their children, Russell, Robert Junior, Chatunga, Bona and her husband Mr Simba Chikore gave her $10 000.
The gift was to thank Mrs Gumbochuma, a ZAOGA pastor, for the pivotal role she played in raising the First Family’s children.
President Mugabe took the opportunity to give wise counsel to hundreds of people who gathered for the celebrations.
He said individuals should worship God directly, instead of relying on so-called “men of God”.
He said it was shocking that there were pastors who were flocking to Nigeria in search of God.
“Kana pari pakunamata, ndinoti Mwari hapana minamato yavasingatambire whether you are Catholic or ZAOGA. Kana uri kuPostori dzekwaMarange, minamato yekwaMwari inotambirwa. Minamato kazhinji kuchurch idzi, established churches inobva kuBible, magariro aJesus, maCatholics ndoyavanoda inobva kuNew Testament,” the President said.
“Kune mamwe machurch vanokopa zvese kubva kuna vana Moses. Hatidi, hatidi zvekunyeperwa zvekuti ah tiri mapastor, asi hupastor zvichireva kuunganidza mari dzinobva kuvanhu nguva nenguva. Mari dzevanhu? Kungotora Bible kuna Corinthians kwakuparidza kuvanhu kwave kutoita mari, kupfuma nemazuva matatu.”
President Mugabe, who is a devout Catholic, urged Christians to read and depend on the Bible, which is the ultimate word of God.
“Hatidi zverudzi irworwo. Isu tiri veestablished churches, tinoti vanhu ngavafunde vave neruzivo rweBible. Munhu pachake, iye pachakewo anokwanisa kunamata directly kuna Mwari. Munhu haamiriri kunamatirwa. Zvino avo vanoita se rally yangu, rally dziya dzinouya vazhinji idzi, chero MDC hapana angatikwikwidza panyaya iyoyo,” he said.
“Zvino ndobva ndati pa rally ipapo, ya-a, kuti tienderere mberi tose tinosungirwa kuwana spiritual support for our problems. I need maize, everyone must contribute every month something to our Treasury. I have dreamt madreams ekuti tikarega kudaro MDC will take over. I have dreamt and my dream will come true. So let us act quickly and prevent that. Imi modaira kuti ah-h, ah-h! Even maMinisters anoti this is a man of God. Each and everyone, especially those in leadership must show in accordance to 1 Corinthians and people will be running back and forth…vomhanya zvino kuNigeria.
“Mwari anoenderwa kuNigeria, eh, vakamuona here?…Ngatiregerei kuva vanhu vane ndangariro dziri pasi dzakadaro. Mwari ndewevanhu vese. Kana takaramba vabereki vari kuZAOGA, Anglican, that’s it. Aiwa zvakanaka.”
President Mugabe also took time to praise Mrs Gumbochuma who he described as a devout woman of God.
“Mai vaMozi (Mrs Gumbochuma) ava, mukavapa chipo chinoguma chava kuchurch. Zvakanaka zvazvo izvo, rubatsiro but unenge wati nderwavo kwete rwekubatsira kuchurch. Aiwa tinoda kuvatenda zvikuru tichiti makorokoto 60 years. Ndoda kuti musvike 90,” he said.
The President then thanked God for a long life.
He went on, “Ndinotenda Mwari kuti vandisvitsawo pamakore aya 93. Ndinoramba ndichinamata. Handiregere kunamata. Kubva ndiri kuhondo ndaienda neRosary, manamatire edu kuRoma (Catholic Church).
President Mugabe also spoke against discriminating against people based on one’s social standing in society.
“Tinofanira kuda vanhu nekuti chero kuZanu-PF tinoti, we are a people’s party. Tinokurirwa nevechurch nekuti isu tinobvunza kuti une card here reparty. Vechurch vanoti unotenda here kuna Mwari? Ndozvatinoda, kuva munhu wevanhu.”