Bulawayo City Councillors, Sunday, reportedly staged a walkout during a prayer meeting for Cyclone Idai victims at Harvest House International Church after a senior pastor at the church allegedly openly praised Zanu PF while giving his sermon.
Reverend Frank Kunda allegedly praised President Emmerson Mnangagwa for “his visionary leadership and foresight” which offended a delegation of city fathers led by Mayor Councillor Solomon Mguni.
Miffed by the unsolicited praises, the mayor staged a walkout with councillors Mlandu Ncube , Sikhululekile Moyo, Shadreck Sibanda, Donaldson Mabutho, Arnold Batirai, Pilate Moyo and Tawanda Ruzive in tow.
The councillors all belong to the main opposition party, MDC Alliance.
Also present at the sermon were minister of state Judith Ncube, Provincial Administrator Khonzani Ncube, Acting Town Clerk Mrs Sikhangele Zhou and Zanu PF politburo member Absolom Sikhosana.
Contacted for a comment the mayor confirmed the incident saying they felt offended by the pastor`s behaviour.
“The behaviour offends against the spirit of unity and diversity in the city and more particularly in that, we had been invited to pray for Victims of Cyclone Idai. There was, with respect, no need to politicise the process. It was a call to duty,” said Cllr Mguni.
“People must distinguish a political party business from a government function”.
Cllr Mguni said after they walked out, Minister Ncube tried to do damage control by telling Reverend Sarah Nyathi, who is the wife to the founder of the church, Dr Collin Nyathi, that the Mayor had asked to be excused.
Contacted for comment, Harvest House International Church founder Bishop Colin Nyathi said he was not part of the sermon but there were no political statements said during the prayer meeting.
“My wife was there and would have told me if any problems were encountered. She reported the service was interesting and the mayor even stayed for lunch. We do not make any political statements at our church,” he said.