Govt lashes out at ‘misguided and evil-minded’ Catholic bishops

Stunned by the Catholic bishops’ strong denunciation of the crisis in Zimbabwe, Friday, the government has responded by issuing a vitriolic attack on the men of the cloth, calling the church’s leadership “misguided and evil-minded.”

The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference (ZCBC), under the leadership of Archbishop Robert Christopher Ndlovu Friday published a pastoral letter entitled: “The March is not ended,” in which the church condemned the deteriorating human rights situation in the country.

The clergy said the anger among Zimbabweans had been supressed for too long citing unresolved Gukurahundi massacres in the 1980s and went on to lament the country’s toxic and divisive politics.

The bishops in a letter that trended on social media platforms castigated President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration for its failure to decisively deal with corruption which has cost Zimbabwe millions of dollars.

Among other things, religious leaders expressed dismay at the failure by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s envoys to consult the church and civic society for them to get a clear picture of what is happening in Zimbabwe.

The government in its response Saturday did not have decent words for the bishops.

“As the Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ) we vehemently object to and strongly condemn the Pastoral letter of Archbishop Ndlovu and his coterie of Catholics Bishop prelates,” said Information and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, in a lengthy emotional statement.

“Its evil message reeks with all the vices that have perennially hobbled the progress of Africa.  It trumpets petty tribal feuds and narrow regionalist agendas so that it can sow seeds of internecine strife as a prelude to national disintegration.”

She went on to accuse Archbishop Ndlovu of fanning tribalism between the Ndebele and the Shona.

“Concurrently he sows sins of collective guilty on the Shona majority,” said Mutsvangwa.

“That way he seeks to numb the spirit of collective national vigilance against the known and proven enemies of the populace of Zimbabwe.”

Mutsvangwa accused Ndlovu of being a coward who lacked the courage to participate in the liberation struggle of Zimbabwe.

“Your pastoral letter feigns contrived courage by a dyed in the wool coward,” said Mutsvangwa.

“The Government of Zimbabwe calls upon the Catholic Congregation to ignore the specious Pastoral letter.   The letter is full of generalized accusations.  By way of contrast, the meticulous Catholic Peace and Justice Commission of the anti-colonial, anti-racist epoch collated, compiled and published dossiers of specific crimes committed by the colonial settler minority regime.”

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