Johanne Marange Apostolic Church High Priest, Noah Taguta said his church did not want to work with Chris Mushowe, Manicaland Governor and Resident Minister accusing him of being a corrupt leader.
Taguta, who mobilized close to 200 000 members of his church to listen to President Mugabe’s address two weeks ago, said he was against Mushowe’s leadership style.
Taguta told President Mugabe during a closed door briefing at Mafararikwa, Marange before he addressed the congregation that should Zanu PF allow Mushowe to lead the campaign then his church would step aside.
Sources said Taguta openly accused Mushowe of corruption alleging he had used government funds to construct a road linking mainland Marange to his home when most areas in the district were not accessible.
The sources said Mushowe remained silent as the President listened attentively to the High Priest’s outburst which got everyone present by surprise.
Taguta further alleged Mushowe was involved in shady diamond deals.
The sources said President Mugabe appeared to be angry at Mushowe as he listened to Taguta.
“The High Priest told the President the party was doomed if people like Mushowe were allowed to lead Zanu PF’s campaign next year,” said a senior Zanu PF official.
In the closed door meeting most senior Zanu PF officials were excluded expect those that had travelled with the President from Harare.
After the briefing Taguta then gave President Mugabe apostolic garments that he immediately wore.
“Mushowe was not given an opportunity to respond because mukuru (the President) looked very angry. But he did not say anything besides just acknowledging what Taguta had said,” said another source.
Taguta reportedly told President Mugabe that Mushowe lost the Mutare West seat in 2008 because villagers were angry with him because of his alleged corrupt tendencies.
Mushowe lost to Shuwah Mudiwa of the MDC-T.
He was subsequently appointed governor and resident minister in a move that also angered top Zanu PF politicians in Manicaland.
Mushowe is seen in Zanu PF circles as a blue eyed boy to President Mugabe. It was not clear how President Mugabe would handle the grievances brought by the apostolic church which Zanu PF is desperately courting ahead of possible elections early next year.