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Church raises $30m for Mugabe

Itai Dzamara

HEAR the Word Ministries in Borrowdale last month gave President Mugabe a $30 million gift raised through a collection at the church.

ca, sans-serif”>Members of the congregation this week said there was a danger that the church group – formerly Rhema – could be seen as part of Mugabe’s patronage network.

Pastor Tom Deuschle, the head of the church, however said the gift was in accordance with the scriptures and should not be interpreted in any way as an endorsement of everything Mugabe is doing.

“It wasn’t a Christmas present. It was a collection for a gift to the president. It amounted to close to $30 million. The scriptures say that we should honour our leaders,” said Deuschle

A congregant present when the collection was taken said a number of people were deeply disturbed over this.

He said a passage in the Bible was quoted to justify the collection.

Deuschle acknowledged the displeasure of some members over the gift, which he said the church only decided upon in line with scriptures.

“There has been some criticism of giving a gift to this man because some people are saying that he has caused all sorts of havoc in the country,” he said.

“But we are honouring the office of the president and he is the incumbent. It doesn’t mean that we entirely agree with what he has done. It’s not an endorsement of him.”

Deuschle said that whilst there was a lot of controversy regarding Mugabe’s leadership, the Bible also teaches Christ’s followers to bring grace unto others.

“The Bible says bless those who despise you. Even if we believe the president is despising us, we as Christians have to bless him. Our church is apolitical, we don’t belong to Zanu PF or the MDC but we seek to bring grace to all people,” he said.

Mugabe has been blamed for the country’s plunge into economic chaos as he obstinately clings to power.

The church in Zimbabwe as well as in the region has directed a barrage of criticism at Mugabe.

Reports by the Peace for Solidarity Trust, a group of clergy based in South Africa released last year, described Mugabe’s regime as a “rogue” state.

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