The planned visit by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to the annual Bernard Mizeki pilgrimage organized by the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe has caused divisions within the church. Mnangagwa is expected to attend the event on Saturday as the guest of honor.
Some church leaders and congregants are threatening to boycott the event in protest of Mnangagwa’s visit. They feel it will turn the sacred gathering into a political rally and endorse a faction within the church. Although 15,000 congregants are expected to attend the pilgrimage, some have refused to pay the $1 fee requested by organizers in protest of Mnangagwa’s visit.
The Anglican Council of Zimbabwe, which comprises bishops from the church’s five dioceses, will still go ahead with Mnangagwa’s visit despite the protests. The ACZ chairperson Bishop Eric Ruona says they want to pray for the president and nation during his visit. However, he dismisses claims the event has been politicized.
Critics argue Mnangagwa’s visit is meant to garner support for his reelection bid as the 80-year-old president has been courting the Christian community. He has recently attended services of indigenous apostolic churches who have pledged to mobilize votes for him.