FIRST LADY Grace Mugabe says she is an apostolic sect member and that she is called Madzimai Grace.
Speaking a rally at Mataga Growth Point in the Midlands Province’s Mberengwa District, President Robert Mugabe’s wife disclosed that the entire top Zanu PF leadership usually consulted white garment faith healers commonly referred to as Vapositori.
“Ndiri mupositorika ini hee-e, madzimai Grace (I am a member of the apostolic sect). Yes, we go there, have you not seen me in my white garments? You have even seen baba in the same garments at apostolic churches and we recently realised that we are not alone as even VaMnangagwa also visits them. Yes, we saw him in the garments,” Grace said.
And Grace has all but confirmed the long held view that Zanu PF has infiltrated apostolic churches countrywide and using compromised preachers during campaigns after she revealed that several party bigwigs often visited them.
It has become a tradition in Zanu PF that ahead of every general election, Mugabe makes it a point to visit Vapositori at their shrines with his favourite destination being Johanne Marange Church in Manicaland Province where he dresses in their flowing white robes while holding the infamous shepherd’s crook.
Before former Vice President Joice Mujuru was sacked as Mugabe’s number two, she also used to have a cosy relationship with the same sect as she was the matron of the Johannes Ndanga-led Zimbabwe Apostolic Christian Council which has made public its allegiance to the ruling party and has also declared that they will always support Mugabe.
Recently, her successor Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is tipped to take over from 91-year-old Mugabe, underwent some bizarre rituals at Madzibaba Wimbo of the Johanne Masowe Vadzidzi Church headquartered at Madziwa in Mashonaland Central Province.
Ironically however, Zanu PF political commissar Savour Kasukuwere chastised ambitious party leaders at a rally in Murewa at the weekend for visiting traditional and faith healers in search of political power while they visit the apostolic sects.
At national events such as Heroes and Independence Day celebrations, Zanu PF has over the years offered Vapositori preferential treatment with bays reserved for them at the National Heroes Acre or the National Sports Stadium.
With more than two million Zimbabweans said to be members of one or the other of the numerous apostolic sects in the country, that constitutes a significant number of voters from Zimbabwe’s five million registered voters, observers say. Zanu PF stands to benefit politically from their association.
Towards general elections, mobile registration sites are created at most apostolic sects’ gatherings were the registrar general’s office registers them, in the process issuing most of them with birth certificates and national identity cards.
The ruling party’s political rivals, especially the opposition MDC, have complained that Zanu PF was infringing on Zimbabweans’ freedom of worship.—Mugove Tafirenyika