Indigenous Churches Will Not Support Friday Demos: Archbishop Ndanga

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Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) President Johannes Ndanga has condemned the mass demonstrations planned by the main opposition party and scheduled for this Friday.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is projecting to orchestrate a “Free Zimbabwe” demonstration on the 16th of August. The planned demos aims to pressure President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his government to rectify the economic crisis in the country, characterised by a debilitating liquidity crunch, foreign currency shortages, rising inflation, spiralling basic commodity prices, erosion of disposable incomes, power outages and low productivity.

The Advocate Nelson Chamisa-led party, which challenged the results of last year’s presidential elections, claiming they were rigged, has continued to poke holes at Mnangagwa’s legitimacy and has refused to engage him in dialogue unless he concedes defeat.

Insiders from the opposition party indicate that the Friday demo could be the start of a series of protests that the party leader hopes will push the President of the 2nd Republic into a corner, and subsequently into agreeing to talks for a possible transition.

But the leader of the indigenous churches has slammed the demonstrations, saying they are designed to unconstitutionally unseat a democratically elected Government.

Speaking during the ordaining of bishops of seven different indigenous apostolic churches, Archbishop Ndanga said indigenous churches will not support the mass protests planned against Government, adding that it was incumbent upon Zimbabweans to build their own nation and support the administration of the day.

Adding on, the Archbishop that the organisers of the demonstrations clearly do not have the people at heart as they want them to engage in acts of violence, which would trigger a normal response from security agencies to save other citizens and property.

“We should help Government run the country. What people do not understand is that if a country fails it does so collectively. We fail collectively; it’s not about party A or party B failing. As ACCZ, we are calling upon all members of Apostolic and Zion churches in the country to support Government through its national events.

There are people who just want the position of Presidency and they are misleading people because they have selfish motives. We are always in an election mode. We need to unite,” he said.

Archbishop Ndanga said the nation should speak with one language as happened in the Book of Acts.

“We should not suffer because people so and so wants to be President. This is retrogressive. . . We need to consider people because you can’t let people suffer simply because you want the next person to fail,” he said.

Archbishop Ndanga said sanctions have had adverse effects on the economy and the ordinary man and called on political parties and NGOs to stop lobbying for them.

“Let us do away with sanctions. We want sanctions to be removed. We should change the peoples’ mindset so that when we say sanctions must go, we are speaking one language not to mobilise people to march.

“We need to change our mindsets from the top of the politicians to the last man. We are launching the “African Mindset Changing” movement where we are targeting everyone but mostly our churches,” he said.

Other church unisons who have spoken on the Friday demonstrations have however acknowledged that calls for demonstration by the opposition party are a sign that all is not well and the political leadership in the country must take heed.

In a joint statement issued last week, Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD) – an ecumenical union made up of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, Union for Development for Apostolic Churches in Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference and Zimbabwe Council of Churches, said:

“The fact that some Zimbabweans feel compelled to take to the streets to demonstrate to voice their concerns evinces the need for broad-based and comprehensive dialogue process towards the resolution of urgent and long-term challenges undermining unity, trust and patriotism.

Church leaders exhort his Excellency, President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the leader of the MDC, Advocate Nelson Chamisa to explore the possibility of accelerating much-needed dialogue in this time of deepening national division and despair.”

Pro tem, the MDC has said that it will go on with the Friday protests, despite there being reports that they have cancelled it.

“On Friday, we will be marching for jobs, for affordable health care facilities, for electricity, for affordable education, availability of fuel and water and decent salaries for our civil servants and the ordinary workers of Zimbabwe. We shall march for the restoration of the people’s dignity and for the return of functional industries, for democracy, accountability and the respect of human rights. We will be marching against the culture and ailment of corruption, impunity, abductions, and the erosion of the people’s dignity, looting and embezzlement that have afflicted the country’s entire body politic,”

said the party in a statement issued on Wednesday afternoon.

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ImChris Charamba

ImChris Charamba

Head Storyteller at Enthuse Afrika. Balances literary writing with pop culture experience. Captivates raw, authentic sights, moments, feelings and conversations. Follow me on Twitter @ImChrisCharamba

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