PRESIDENT Mugabe has blasted “pastors” who steal from congregants in the name of God.
In the past few years Zimbabwe has witnessed a mushrooming of pentecostal movements whose often youthful pastors stage-manage miracles to entice congregants from whom they make a fortune in the form of tithing, personal donations and seeding of money.
President Mugabe was speaking at the 60th birthday celebrations of his sister-in-law, Mrs Junior Gumbochuma.
Mrs Gumbochuma is First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe’s eldest sister.
The President and Amai Mugabe gave Mrs Gumbochuma $60 000 as a gift while their children, Russell, Robert Junior, Chatunga, Bona and her husband Mr Simba Chikore gave $10 000.
The gift was to thank Mrs Gumbochuma, a ZAOGA pastor, for the pivotal role she played in raising the First Family’s children.
President Mugabe took the opportunity to give wise counsel to hundreds of people who gathered for the celebrations.
He said individuals should worship God directly instead of relying on so-called “men of God.”
He said it was shocking that there were pastors who were flocking to Nigeria in search of God.
“God listens to all prayers whether you are Catholic or ZAOGA,” said Cde Mugabe.
The President who is a devout Catholic, urged Christians to read and depend on the Bible, which is the ultimate word of God.
He said upcoming churches should learn from conventional churches such as the Catholic Church.
President Mugabe said some churches were fleecing congregants by forcing them to contribute certain amounts of money every month
“Let us act quickly and prevent that. Even Ministers are saying such pastors are men of God. Some of these pastors are running to Nigeria to seek help.
“Do we need to go to Nigeria to engage God?…We should not sink that low. God is for all the people and if our parents are members of ZAOGA, Anglican, that’s it” said President Mugabe.
He also took time to praise Mrs Gumbochuma who he described as a devout woman of God.
The President then thanked God for a long life.
He also spoke against discriminating people based on one’s social standing in society.