HARARE – President Robert Mugabe has taken a dig at Zimbabwe’s celebrity prophets, intimating that they use the church to fleece hapless congregants of their hard-earned cash.
Mugabe used the burial of his nephew — Takudzwa Wesley Goronga — to remind Zimbabweans about sticking to the traditional church where he still belongs.
“Kunamata kuzvipira isu nemoyo yedu yose kuna Mwari. Chatinochema nacho ndechekuti vamwe vavakungounganidza vanhu vachiti ehe ndezvekwaMwari izvo zvisiri zvekwaMwari zviri zvekwamari,” (Worshipping is a complete submission of our hearts to God but our concern is that there are others who now gather congregants and say they are doing God’s work when it is just about money), he told mourners in his native language.
“Vamwe varikuitira Mwari, capitol M-W-A-R-I. Ko ‘W’ wamazobvisa apa mabvisirei? Ini ndinoenda kumaestablished churches. Ndosaka ndisingamhanyire zvichechi zvamazuva ano izvi. Hanzi shevedzai nhingi pano. Anotozadza vanhu mustadium ehe. (I go to established churches that’s why I don’t go to those new churches. They say invite so and so and they fill stadiums).
“Vakawanda vanomhanya vachida kuponeswa. Vanenge vachiti tinoponeswa asi mava mushure, chokwadi chichavapo chekuti uri pachokwadi here iwewe, wakadarowo?(There are many who rush there seeking salvation but will there ever be truth that you are also genuine).
This was seen as a thinly veiled attack on popular prophets who preach prosperity gospel and deliverance which critics say is based on commercial gain.
Mugabe’s warning comes at a time when his government says there has been an increase in tourism receipts thanks largely to religious tourism.
Tourism minister Walter Mzembi has even come up with incentives on the back of huge attendances at both Emmanuel Makandiwa and Walter Magaya conventions which attracted staggering numbers of believers.
Some of Mugabe’s ministers attend Makandiwa and Magaya’s services.
Mzembi, for example, worships at the UFIC.