INFORMATION Minister Monica Mutsvangwa Saturday responded to the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC) pastoral letter, describing the man of the cloth as an evil-minded flock of misled narrow-minded bishops.
The minister, who could not run of derogatory language to describe the clergymen, said the bishops were reckless regime change agents and who wanted to incite the public to rise against their government.
Last Friday, the ZCBC published a pastoral letter in which they strongly condemned the political and economic crisis in the country, including the ongoing human rights violations.
The bishops went on to offer solutions to heal the country.
They called for the implementation of outstanding reforms, adoption of an inclusive national economic vision and mending global relations.
The pastoral letter, was signed by ZCBC president Archbishop Charles Ndlovu, Archbishop Alex Thomas (ZCBC deputy president), and bishops Paul Horan (ZCBC secretary and treasurer), Michael Bhasera (Masvingo), Albert Serrano (Hwange), Rudolf Nyandoro (Gokwe) and Raymond Mupandasekwa (Chinhoyi).
However, like what is now the norm with senior government and Zanu PF officials, there was no crisis in Zimbabwe, and those calling for intervention were pushing for regime change in the country.
Said Mutsvangwa in a strong rebuke of the bishops, “Its (letter) evil message reeks with all the vices that have perennially hobbled the progress of Africa. It trumpets petty tribal feuds and narrow regionalist agendas. That he (Archbishop Ndlovu) hopes to sow seeds of internecine strife as a prelude to civil war and national disintegration.”
The minister said Archbishop Ndlovu’s statement was tribalistic and similar to Rwandan bishop Athanase Seromba who was sentenced to life imprisonment by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda for inciting genocide.
Archbishop Ndlovu had linked the current State-sponsored violence against the citizens to the Gukurahundi massacres where thousands of people were killed by the military in Matabeleland and Midlands regions in the early 1980s.
“Such was the horrendous and abominable conduct of the Rwanda Catholic Church that Pope Francis, the global head of the worldwide Catholic Church had to make a formal Papal visit to Kigali in 2017. The reason was to offer a contrite apology for the heinous crimes of the Rwanda Catholic Clergy.
“With nefarious cynicism to history, Archbishop Robert Christopher Ndlovu is inching to lead the Zimbabwe Catholic congregation into the darkest dungeons of Rwanda-type genocide,” she said.
Mutsvangwa also dismissed the letter for not naming people who had been brutalised by the State.
“The letter is full of generalised 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,” Mutsvangwa said.
“The Archbishop and his flock of misled Catholic bishops have none of that diligence. Instead, they wallow in generalised and baseless accusations. Absolutely no shred of reported evidence of so-called victims.
“He wants to posit as the leader of the righteous Ndebele minority by fanning the psychosis of tribal victimisation. Concurrently, he sows sins of collective guilt on the Shona majority. That way he seeks to numb the spirit of collective national vigilance against the known and proven enemies of the populace of Zimbabwe.
“His transgressions acquire a geopolitical dimension as the chief priest of the agenda of regime change that is the hallmark of the post-imperial major Western powers for the last two decades.”
She accused the bishops of inciting people to demonstrate, disregarding the risks of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“In the face of all that, our narrow-minded bishop pontificates against Covid-19 rules. Even when America, his much-admired paragon of democracy and justice is complying. Recently President Trump had to call off the National Convention of his Republican Party slated for Jacksonville, Florida,” she said.
“No No No! His Excellency President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa will have none of that. He will strive to dutifully protect the well-being and health of the people of Zimbabwe.
“The cause of national health in face of a pandemic is of no consequence. By calling people to march in the midst of the pandemic the bishop relishes the prospect of mass deaths. To him maybe that speeds up the ascent of the populace of Zimbabwe to their biblical judgment of heaven or hell.
“And behold, pastoral letter Bishops Conference of 14th August 2020 does not bother to invoke the repeated Papal calls for a global ceasefire in regions of war and strive.”