Sins cleansed if you support Mugabe's party - VP

2015-05-18 19:48
President Robert Mugabe (AFP)

President Robert Mugabe (AFP)

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Harare - Zimbabwe's vice president has reportedly told rally-goers in the southern town of Kwekwe that they will be cleansed of their sins if they vote for President Robert Mugabe's party.

Former education minister David Coltart said in a tweet: "This is not the first time that [VP Emmerson] Mnangagwa has parodied the scriptures."

Coltart said that Mnangagwa had also parodied the Bible around the time of the Gukurahundi killings in Matabeleland in the 1980s, when up to 20 000 Zimbabweans were killed. Mnangagwa was state security minister at the time. 

The privately-owned Standard newspaper on Sunday quoted Mnangagwa as saying in Kwekwe’s Mbizo suburb, where a parliamentary by-election would be held next month: "I am happy that you have come here today to confess to God that you have sinned because of the unholy alliance of moving... with sinners in the MDC."

"If you are here supporting Zanu-PF, your sins have been cleansed," the paper quoted Mnangagwa as saying.

Jeffrey Smith of the Robert F Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights in Washington told a News24 correspondent on Monday: "For many years Zanu-PF leaders have relied on this kind of hateful rhetoric. It's a tried-and-true strategy.

"It's meant to get inside the psyche of the people and it's clearly in violation of a number of SADC's own principles meant to ensure free and fair elections," Smith said in a telephone interview.

The ruling party is campaigning for by-elections in 17 constituencies on June 10. The independent Zimbabwe Peace Project says there has been "intensifying violence" in one of the constituencies, Hurungwe West. 

Although the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is boycotting the polls, Zanu-PF still face a challenge from candidates supporting ousted vice president Joice Mujuru and others with links to the MDC who have opted to stand as independents.

Mnangagwa, 68, was only appointed vice president in December. He is rumoured now to be best-placed to succeed the ageing Mugabe. 

But Mugabe has not confirmed this, and Zimbabwe's information minister, Jonathan Moyo, said in a BBC interview broadcast on Monday: "He is an appointed vice president. [Mugabe] did not appoint him so he could succeed him."

"Power in this country is acquired through a democratic election," Moyo said.

On Twitter, Coltart quoted Mnangagwa as saying in 1983: "Blessed are they who follow the path of the government laws for their days on earth will be increased."

Read more on:    mdc  |  zanu-pf  |  robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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