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Irked By Catholic Church’s Criticism, Zimbabwe Govt Labels Bishops Evil-Minded

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By Daniel Jones, Harare

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) Desperate to silence dissenting voices in the midst of a crisis, the ZANU-PF led Zimbabwean government has torn into the Catholic Church leadership labeling the local Bishops’ Conference as “misguided and evil-minded.”

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa on Saturday released a damning statement attacking the church’s leadership in Zimbabwe for likely to cause a civil war.

The attack on the Catholic Church by the Emmerson Mnangagwa government comes a day after the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference (ZCBC) issued a pastoral letter to its members and widely trended on social media denouncing corruption and violence in the southern African country.

The ZCBC led by Archbishop Robert Ndlovu of the Archdiocese of Harare as its president, released a pastoral letter titled “the march is not ended” as it castigated political leaders for ‘re-creating a war situation of us and them” and called for a national transformation.

The bishops made reference to the contentious tribal civil crisis of the 1980s when more than 20 000 Ndebeles were allegedly killed by the 5th brigade in what became known as the gukurahundi.

The ZCBC said: “the crackdown on dissent is unprecedented…suppression of the people’s anger can only serve to deepen the crisis and take the nation into deeper crisis. This comes on the backdrop of unresolved past hurts like gukurahundi which continue to spawn even more angry new generations.”

The ZCBC also referred as “an opportunity missed” failure by the South African president envoy and Mnangagwa government to widely consult concerned stakeholders last week.

In a four page response, Mutsvangwa urged Catholics to ignore the pastoral letter accusing the ZCBC, particularly its president Archbishop Ndlovu of misleading citizens.

“Ahead of Sunday Mass government of Zimbabwe draws the attention of the national Catholic shards of a pastoral letter issued under the misguided of evil minded leadership of the Archbishop of Harare.

“As government we vehemently object to and strongly condemn the pastoral letter of Archbishop Ndlovu and his coterie of Catholic bishop prelates. Its evil message reeks with all the vices that have perennially hobbled the progress of Africa. It trumpets petty tribal feuds and narrow regionalist agendas so that it can sow seeds of internecine strife as a prelude to national disintegration,” said Mutsvangwa, who is government spokesperson.

She said the ZCBC’ nefarious cynicism of history will “lead the Catholic Church into the darkest dungeons of Rwanda type genocide.”

“Indeed the Archbishop Ndlovu dones the robes of Archbishop Arthanase Seromba who was the chief spiritual ideologist and violent practitioner of the 1994 Hutu-Tutsi genocide in Rwanda. (sic) The infamous Rwandese Catholic Archbishop would eventually be tried and sentenced to life imprisonment by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda,” said Mutvangwa as if to threaten Archbishop Ndlovu with arrest.

She accused Archbishop Ndlovu of seeking to sow seeds of division.,

“The errant and evil bishop has a nauseating mental amnesia of the blight of minority settler rule and its baggage of exploitative racism against the totality of the black majority popular of Zimbabwe.

“The levity of his mental amnesia is worsened by the fact that he tears off pages of the progressive crusade for justice and democracy that has hitherto been the shining virtue of the Catholic Church in Zimbabwe.

“He wants to posit as the leader of the righteous Ndebele minority by fanning the psychosis of tribal victimization. Concurrently he sows sins of collective guilty of the Shona majority. The way he seeks to numb the spirit of collective national vigilance against the known and proven enemies of the populace of Zimbabwe,” said Mutsvangwa.

She accused Archbishop Ndlovu, of Ndebele origin, of being an agent of regime change agenda and being linked to the recent July 31 protests, adding that gukurahundi was resolved through the 1987 Unity Accord between Zanu-PF and PF-Zapu, even as she described the ZCBC as narrow minded.

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