BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA

ZANU PF-linked cleric Obadiah Msindo has blamed the church for failing to inculcate values of peace and harmony among citizens, hence the current polarisation in the country.

Msindo was commenting on the role of the church in politics following last month’s verbal showdown between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Catholic bishops over the deteriorating human rights situation in the country.

The cleric said the tension in the country mirrored the situation in churches where conflicts and leadership wrangles were the order of the day.

“I strongly believe that the mandate of the church is to create a conducive environment for national tolerance, environment for respect, environment for peace and harmony,” Msindo said.

“What is happening in the country is a reflection of what is in the church, disunity within a church is disunity in the society, when we are taught to hurt another group or faction of the church, then it will reflect on our political landscape.

“I expect the church to represent justice, represent peace, to represent the truth and to represent the love of God. Human rights abuses are a result of intolerance, a result of other people’s inability, immaturity to respect other people’s opinions.”

Msindo added: “I believe and expect every man of God, no matter what President Mnangagwa has done, no matter what Nelson Chamisa (MDC Alliance leader) has done, no matter what the government has done; the church should never compromise on the stance of promoting a peaceful environment, peace is the foundation.”

Catholic bishops recently clashed with the Zanu PF government over human rights abuses.

Last month, Mnangagwa labelled the bishops “devils”, saying they were hiding behind the religious veil to advance the opposition’s regime change agenda. This was after the Catholic bishops released a hard-hitting pastoral letter castigating Mnangagwa’s heavy-handedness on civilians. Msindo urged the church to facilitate dialogue among political rivals.

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