Robert Mugabe on Pope Francis

Harare, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe says he wants Pope Francis to visit Africa because he is “a man of God who will be praying for all of us, praying for the sinful world to repent.”

Mugabe attended the Pope’s inaugural mass on Tuesday despite a ban on him travelling to most European countries to protest his human rights record and alleged vote rigging in violent elections. Vatican City is not affected by the ban. Vatican officials said representatives of all world governments were welcome to come.

On his return from Rome, Mugabe urged reporters to go to church, lead a morally-guided life, avoid heavy drinking and write well without putting in “a twist like all journalists do for propaganda,” the Zimbabwe Herald newspaper , a government mouthpiece, reported Wednesday.




Zimbabwean Christians Make Stand Against Corruption

Christian Today:

Thousands of Christians are marching in Zimbabwe this week to protest against corruption.

The action was organised to coincide with the global Anti-Corruption Day yesterday and is part of the yearlong anti-corruption campaign, Exposed 2013.

Churches say that corruption is keeping millions of people trapped in poverty.  Leaders of Zimbabwe’s three largest Christian bodies have signed a letter urging Christians to rise up against corruption.

Dr Shana Goodwill, who as Chair of the Heads of Christian Denominations representing 75 per cent of the nation’s Christians, said: “Here in Zimbabwe we will march on our cities to show our anger at corruption.

“It has to stop. The poor are dying.”

Dr Goodwill said the world church had a vital role to play in ending corruption.

“If Zimbabwe can do it, any country can,” said Dr Goodwill.

“We want to send a message to the world. We have a dream. Ending corruption can help the poorest people in the world.

“The church needs to shine its light in the world and put the spotlight on corruption.”

Dr Goodwill is chair of Heads of Christian Denominations in Zimbabwe (HOCD) comprising the three main Church bodies – Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Zimbabwe Council of Churches, and the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe – representing millions of Christians.

He is also a member of the national Anti-Corruption Commission and sits on the Steering Group for Exposed 2013 coalition campaign around corruption.

The Exposed campaign aims to mobilise 100 million Christians against corruption by October 2013.

The year of campaigning will culminate in a global vigil from 14 to 20 October.

During the year, campaigners will be aiming to secure 10 million signatures online to deliver to G20 leaders in November 2014.

Dr Dion Forster, International Co-ordinator of EXPOSED, said: “These anti-corruption campaigners in Zimbabwe are inspirational their actions will send a message to the rest of the world that enough is enough.

“We are no longer content to put up with corruption. The world’s poor are eager for us to act.”



Anglican Row Turns Violent

The Herald Online reports on more trouble in Mugabeland:

A Priest aligned to Bishop Chad Gandiya’s Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa was yesterday seriously injured after being struck with a brick by supporters of Archbishop Nolbert

Kunonga during an eviction at the Tafara Anglican Church in Harare. The attack comes amid calls by various church leaders for the feuding bishops to observe peace towards each other.

Police spokesman Superintendent Andrew Phiri said Reverend Naboth Manzongo sustained a deep cut on the forehead after being struck with brick during the eviction of Archbishop Kunonga’s Rev Teddy Mukariri.

Police said Rev Manzongo was rushed to Parirenyatwa Hospital for treatment. “No arrests have been made yet, but the assailants are known. We are still investigating the matter,” said Supt Phiri.

Five men aligned to Archbishop Kunonga reportedly manhandled the deputy sheriff during the eviction of a priest from an Anglican house.

Evictions resumed yesterday in various parts of Harare, despite ACPZ’s pending urgent chamber application.

An assistant to the deputy sheriff was pushed and shoved while carrying out his duties before being denied entry into Number 101 Central Avenue where Reverend Tendai Mutongomanye, a son-in-law to Archbishop Kunonga, stayed.

Rev Mutongomanye’s wife is the one who operated a crèche at the Anglican Cathedral. At the time of the eviction, Rev Mutongomanye was not present.

The gang locked up the gate and denied the deputy sheriff’s team access to the premises. This prompted the team to seek police reinforcement. When the police reaction group arrived, a group of violent youths jumped over the precast wall and fled.

Police scaled over the gate and caught up with the elderly Rev Mukariri who had remained inside the house.

There was drama at the house as the elderly reverend clashed with the police. He denied ever possessing keys to the gate and other rooms, despite relaxing alone in the house.

Rev Mukariri shouted at the police and refused to leave until they dragged him out. The priest refused to board the police van, prompting policemen to lift him up and throw him at the back of the vehicle.

Rev Mukariri, who was always on his mobile phone communicating to different people about the police actions, threatened to report the officers to their seniors.

“You cannot do that to me. I am a priest and again I am much older than you are. I am old enough to be your grandfather.

“I will report you to your bosses. You do not know me,” said Rev Mukariri. He remained in the truck under police guard until the process was completed.

The police later dropped him off along Samora Machel Avenue as they proceeded to another church property at Number 123 Kwame Nkrumah Avenue.

Evictions were effected in most parts of the city with limited resistance…

Read on here.


1, 2, 3… Flush. Synchronised Toilet Flush to Clear City Sewers

You know, you just can’t make this stuff up:

In a bid to clear their city’s blocked sewers, authorities in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, have a novel idea.

We don’t know if Dynorod have any branches in Zimbabwe but based on this story coming out of the country, it doesn’t sound like they do. The second-largest city in the country, Bulawayo, has a problem with its sewers. They’re blocked and thanks to water rationing in the city, waste has built up in the pipes.

But the lads in charge have come up with a brilliant idea to clear the blockage. They have asked everybody in the city to flush their loo at exactly 7.30pm on Monday. With almost 1 million people expected to take part, that’s a lot of water entering the system at once.

And the plan is to do this every Monday, at 7.30pm, to keep the pipes clear.

The city’s mayor, Thaba Moyo, tells Yahoo a bit more about it.

“We are going to have a big flush every Monday to push all the waste that would have accumulated during the water rationing. It means everybody has to flush their toilet at the stipulated time which will be 7.30pm.

“This is done to prevent any sewer blockages as we anticipate longer periods without water in the sewer system.”

“It’s a national problem. Most cities are having water shortages, and we are hoping that the supplies will last until the rainy season and pray that we have good rains.”



Robert Mugabe Wants to Quiz Archbishop Rowan Williams on Homosexuality

AFP reports:

Harare — Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe wants the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to explain the Anglican church’s stance on homosexuality and the western sanctions on him and his allies, a spokesman said on Sunday.

Rowan Williams, spiritual leader of the world’s Anglicans, is due to lead a communion service in a Harare stadium on Sunday, as part of his three-nation African tour.

Williams may not be allowed into any Anglican facilities in Zimbabwe, after a breakaway bishop aligned with Mugabe seized all of the church’s property.

For weeks Williams has sought a meeting with Mugabe to discuss the split, which has degenerated into violence as supporters of excommunicated bishop Nolbert Kunonga chased Anglican faithful out of churches, schools and orphanages.

Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba did not say if the two men would meet, but told the state-run Sunday Mail newspaper that if they did speak, the 87-year-old president would challenge Williams about gays and sanctions.

“Fundamentally, he would want to know why the church of the British state, the Anglican Church, has remained so loudly silent while the people of Zimbabwe, and these people include Anglicans, are suffering from the illegal sanctions,” Charamba said.

“The second issue that the president wants this man of God to clarify is why his Anglican Church thinks homosexuality is good for us and why it should be prescribed for us.

“He thinks the Archbishop will be polite enough to point to him that portion of the Great Book (that) sanctions homosexuality and sanctions sanctions”…

More here.

I for one would love to hear how Archbishop Rowan Williams would respond. And he may as well get his answer straight now, for I fear that one day, One far greater than the Zimbabwean President, will demand an answer from the Church leader too…



Zimbabwean Man Wins Mr Ugly Pageant


A Zimbabwean man upstaged 15 others to win the Mr Ugly title at a weekend pageant, a local newspaper reported on Monday.

Thirty-year-old Austin Mbewe from the second city of Bulawayo won R1 200 and a blanket at the contest held on Saturday in the border town of Beitbridge, the Herald newspaper said.

“I feel honoured by this victory,” the paper quoted him as saying after winning the title.

“I have been a subject of ridicule from society since childhood and the world has seen that there is a beautiful side to my ugliness.”

Organiser Lovemore Chonzi said: “Basically, the competition is meant for people to have fun and celebrate who they are, just like any other contest in the world.”

The competition, which is in its third year, has the blessing of the country’s arts council and the government tourism authority.

The winner was chosen by a panel of female judges.

Two runners-up won R600 and R500 respectively and a blanket each.

A similar competition is being planned for the capital Harare on Monday.

What a nasty competition!


Didn’t Mugabe Effectively Excommunicate himself?

Now I see he is in Rome for Pope John Paul II’s beatification:

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe arrived in Rome for the beatification of the late Pope John Paul II, airport officials said Saturday, despite his EU-wide travel ban for alleged human rights abuses.

The Vatican did not personally invite Mugabe to the Sunday event, said the Rev. Federico Lombardi of the Holy See Press office.

But a diplomatic relationship exists between Zimbabwe and the Vatican, a sovereign state that is not a member of the European Union.

The BBC also has the news.

But as I was saying, back in 2007, he was acting very differently:

By ridiculing the church and insulting its bishops, Zimbabwe’s Catholic president, Robert Mugabe, blamed for the country’s political and economic turmoil, has cut himself off from the Church.

That is the view of Fr Oskar Wermter, a Jesuit priest in Zimbabwe since 1966 and now based in St Peter’s Mbare, a socially depressed area in Harare where government demolitions in 2005 destroyed livelihoods and left many people hopeless.

“In a very real way,” President Mugabe has “effectively excommunicated himself, that is to say put himself outside the community of the church, by resisting the word of the church and attacking the bishops in a most offensive, vulgar form,” says Fr Wermter.

His comments are published in the current issue of the Jesuit electronic newsletter, In Touch with Church and Faith:

“People once more demand that Mugabe be excommunicated. This is old hat. It was mooted years ago. It was said then that this was no longer done today. At any rate, excommunication in a strict legal (canonical) sense is a measure applied only in certain circumstances defined by church law.

“While in the past excommunication was used against heads of governments and leaders of nations, kings and emperors, this is extremely rare today. We no longer live in the Middle Ages. The local bishops do not even have that power. It would have to come from the Pope himself.

“However, in a very real way, though not technically as defined by church law, Mugabe has effectively excommunicated himself, that is to say put himself outside the community of the Church, by resisting the word of the church and attacking the Bishops in a most offensive, vulgar form. At least the constant propaganda line that he is a “practising devout Catholic” is now shown to be false…

And even just last year:

President Robert Mugabe faces possible ex-communication from the Roman Catholic Church for allegedly violating a standing doctrine governing the conduct of its members when he wore a Vapostori robe at a gathering of a Johanne Marange Apostolic Sect in Manicaland last weekend, church leaders have said.

Rod in hand, President Mugabe preached polygamy to the congregation of more than 200 000 worshipers who had gathered for their annual Passover at Mafirarikwa in Marange communal lands, further compounding his “transgressions”.

“Our Constitution allows for polygamy. We will not force people into monogamous marriages. Inga muBhaibheri chaimo zvirimo. Solomon haana kungopihwa upfumi chete asi nevakadzi vakawanda”(It is written in the Bible that King Solomon was not only blessed with riches but with many wives as well) President Mugabe said…

In any event, his attendance is indeed controversial, and do spare a thought for the multitudes still suffering today under his dictatorial rule.