Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi Should Not Mediate Between MDC & Zanu PF
17 March 2020
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By Lionel Saungweme| Indigenous Zimbabwe Interdenominational Council of Churches patron and Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC), Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi, has been described as “a Zanu PF enabler who is unfit to lead a mediation process amongst political parties in Zimbabwe.”

MDC Deputy Treasurer, Senator Lilian Timveos, and Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi's fourth wife, sit together during a ZCC church service.
MDC Deputy Treasurer, Senator Lilian Timveos, and Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi’s fourth wife, sit together during a ZCC church service.

Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi drew the ire of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters after recently declaring that the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) is the only route to national dialogue.

POLAD is a political platform for ZANU PF and 17 fringe political parties that contested the presidential elections in the 2018 harmonised elections.

The opinion survey titled “Pip Over the Wall” came after MDC security hired Independent Researchers to do a SWOT analysis on whether or not the opposition should acquiesce to Bishop Mutendi’s mediation efforts.

The survey also enquired on whether or not MDC should allow its members, who include MDC Deputy Treasurer and Midlands Senator Lilian Timveos
to remain ZCC congregants.

Among ZCC congregants, Senator Timveos is the most senior MDC member.

Independent Researchers found that from 100 congregants, 89% declared that Bishop Mutendi’s “Indigenous Zimbabwe Interdenominational Council of Churches was compromised politically.” Researchers noted that the same public thinks Bishop Mutendi should not be a mediator.

“There are rumours that Bishop Mutendi is not only a ZANU PF member but Emmerson Mnangagwa’s cousin,” says Nomusa Chido (not her real name), a ZCC member who refused to be identified for fear of being ex-communicated.

Nomusa accused the Bishop of occasionally turning church services into “pro-ZANU sermons.”

“Bishop Mutendi can talk positively about ZANU PF, recognise POLAD and degrade MDC President, Nelson Chamisa during a whole sermon. That naked bias disqualifies him,” said Nomusa.

“In 2018, we (ZCC) were considered by many people a ZANU voting block because many congregants took cue from Bishop Mutendi’s partisan sermons,” said Nomusa.

On another note, at least 5% of the congregants approved of the Bishop being deployed as mediator. ZCC member Luckson Chimoto believes the Bishop is correct to preach pro-Mnangagwa sermons because, “at Hebrews 13:17 (the King James Version Bible), God says, “obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves.”

Luckson added that “Bishop Mutendi should therefore be respected as a messenger of God.”

Independent Researchers found that 6% of congregants felt that the Bishop should remain neutral since the survey questions were of a political nature.

ZCC member, Idah Shumba from Chivi, maintained that Bishop Mutendi should steer clear of politics. Idah mentioned that Godliness is above national politics.

“The questions by Independent Researchers were too political. A Christian should not be moved by politics,” said Idah.

Furthermore, Independent Researchers concluded that Bishop Mutendi’s political beliefs do not affect the political stance of ZCC congregants who are MDC members.

MDC security official who only identified himself as Samuriwo, wrapped it up by saying, “after thorough investigations we believe MDC members are not affected by Bishop Mutendi’s sermons and political views. Bishop Mutendi is not a threat to MDC members.”