HARARE – Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa led prayers at State House on Monday while a few kilometres away a magistrate denied bail to three female MDC Alliance Youth leaders accused of faking their own abduction.
Many citizens regarded the national day of prayer and fasting as a sideshow to divert attention from corruption, political persecution and a failing economy.
MDC Alliance spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said the prayer session was an insult to the public.
“Seven million Zimbabweans are food insecure. How can you suddenly call upon a nation of hungry citizens to fast with you when all along you’ve been feasting alone in your private jets, looting gold, looting forex, looting diamonds while the masses suffer,” she asked.
The prayer event in Harare was attended by cabinet ministers, Zanu-PF legislators and religious leaders. In his address Mnangagwa said, “We gather in prayer in the total belief that the word of God is good … his word shall not pass away.”
A different scene played out in court where magistrate Bianca Makwande denied bail to Netsai Marova, Cecilia Chimbiri and legislator Joana Mamombe. They stand accused of staging their abduction, sexual abuse and torture.
During the prayer session #ZanuPFMustGo started trending on Twitter.
@ZimbaMonitor posted: “You sit and say pray and fast for our nation whilst you deny these ladies their rights and accuse them of a heinous, unfounded crime. Shame on you!”
@SankaraZW accused religious leaders attending the prayer session of being enablers of the oppressor. He tweeted: “Mwari [God] how do we tell our elders and men of God when we feel that they are enabling our oppression without us sounding disrespectful or going against you?.Tatambudzika [we have suffered enough].”