“Politicians can go to any length in order to win votes and stay in power forever. I was not surprised to see recent pictures of President Robert Mugabe clad in full Apostolic Church regalia holding a hob stick, on a mission to lure the sect members to embrace his leadership. We have always known him to be a devout Roman Catholic”, remarked Leona Kazembe, a Catholic lay leader.
The Apostolic sect is believed to command huge membership in Zimbabwe and throughout Southern Africa, since many people have turned to it for deep spiritual problems, which they think are beyond the liturgy of conventional churches.
Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) party recently devised a strategy to campaign among different church groups in order to prop up its waning support as shown by March 2008 elections, which it narrowly lost to Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) – only to be salvaged by a violent presidential run-off poll three months later.
Pro- polygamy constitution
Regurgitating what the polygamous apostolic sect members wanted to hear during their annual pilgrimage in eastern Zimbabwe, Mugabe declared: “Our Constitution allows polygamy. We will not force people into monogamous marriages. It’s there in the Bible; Solomon wasn’t only given wealth but many wives too. But we say no to gays! We will not listen to those advocating for inclusion of homosexual rights in the Constitution”.
Political analyst Mike Mgutshini said: “Since Mugabe was already in an election campaign mood, he avoided telling the Apostolic pilgrims about all the wrongs they are notorious for. He should have told them that they should avoid multiple sexual partnerships which spread HIV/AIDS rapidly. He should have also discouraged some of their so-called ‘prophets’ from lying to desperate people that AIDS can be cured by water or raping of minors.”
“While we applaud Mugabe for encouraging the sect members to send girls to school, we are dismayed that he forgot to urge them to send their children for immunisation in order to avoid the child mortality rate from soaring. President Mugabe also forgot to discourage the Apostolic faithful from illegally dealing in foreign currency at most street corners”.
Praise singing is not for political bootlickers only. The Apostolic pilgrims, well known for their insatiable appetite for huge quantities of tea and bread had to recall some prophetic rhetoric in order to aptly thank their new convert for donating two Iranian-sourced tractors, to help them produce food for those who will attend future Passover gatherings.
Said elder Daniel Mashaya during a vote of thanks: “In 1957 our High Priest Johanne Marange had a vision of a black cock fighting a white cock. The black cock triumphed over the white one. The black cock represents President Mugabe and his reign was foretold years back. He is not just the leader of Zimbabwe but the whole of Africa and his visit to our shrine is a fulfilment of the 1957 prophecy.”
In the meantime, Leona and other Catholics should be comforted by reading the parable of the prodigal son. Lastly, to what extent has South African president Jacob Zuma’s polygamous lifestyle influenced his northern neighbour?