The leader of the Zion Christian Church Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi, who is the patron of the Zimbabwe Interdenominational Council of Churches, told President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his deputies on Monday that indigenous churches were the pioneers of the revolution so there was no way they could be puppets of the government.
If they were puppets at all, they could only be puppets of God.
He said the revolution in Zimbabwe had always been inspired by spiritual leaders, including the First Chimurenga which was inspired by Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi who were spirit mediums.
The second revolution was inspired spiritual leaders of indigenous churches which were started between 1912 and 1954 before the official launch of the Southern Rhodesia African National Congress led by the founding father of Zimbabwe, Joshua Nkomo, in 1957.
ZICC, which groups indigenous churches but is open to other churches, was formed because local church leaders were being excluded from organisations like the Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations which tended to speak on behalf of all the churches of Zimbabwe but without consulting them.
The ZHOCD comprises the Zimbabwe Council of Churches which is made up of churches mainly established by the former colonial masters, the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference, the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe and the Union for the Development of Apostolic Churches in Zimbabwe Africa.
Bishop Mutendi said the founding fathers of the churches under ZICC, who include Samuel Mutendi, David Masuka, Moses Makamba, Andreas Shoko, Johanne Marange, Paul Mwazha, Ezekiel Guti and Loveless Manhango , among others, were persecuted by the colonial regime for starting these religious organisations and this inspired nationalists to start the liberation struggle.
He said indigenous churches should, therefore, be the voice of the people and should speak on behalf of the people. The others could join in but should not take the lead.
The ZICC patron urged Mnangagwa to talk to the opposition quoting from Isaiah 1 vs 18 which says: “Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet. They shall be as white as snow; though they be as red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
He, however, emphasized that any talks between the country’s political leaders should be internal, citing Deuteronomy 30 vs 11-14, which reads: “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” Nor is it beyond the seas, so that you have to ask,” Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.”