KENNETH NYANGANI/JAIROS SAUNYAMA
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to visit the Johanne Marange apostolic sect in Manicaland province this week to attend the church’s annual Passover.
Early this year, Mnangagwa secretly visited the sect’s headquarters in Bocha following the death of its leader Noah Taguta.
Mutare West MP Teedzai Muchimwe (Zanu PF), who is also a senior member at the church, yesterday confirmed Mnangagwa’s visit.
“We started our annual Passover over the weekend and it is expected to end on the 18th of this month,” Muchimwe said.
“As usual, President Mnangagwa is expected to come. I am not sure of the dates, but he is expected to come this week for our Passover, which is very important. I am a senior church member, and so I will be responsible for welcoming church members from across the region and around the world.”
Last year, the church was in the eye of a storm after defying COVID-19 regulations by holding its annual Passover where thousands of sect members gather in Marange.
Many are viewing the visit as aimed at soliciting for support for Mnangagwa’s presidential re-election bid as the country heads for the watershed 2023 polls.
The country is already in election mode and the ruling Zanu PF party is pulling out all stops to retain power as it engages various stakeholders to attract five million votes.
The church’s annual Passover is the first after the death of Taguta, who left the sect sharply divided as his sons fought to control the church, which has a huge following locally and across the globe.
In an unrelated matter, Zanu PF deputy political commissar Lillian Zemura has cautioned party members who are already campaigning for the 2023 elections.
Addressing scores of party supporters during by-election victory celebrations in Murehwa South in Nyamakaira ward, Macheke, Zemura — who is also a politburo member, said: “We are just a few months away from a by-election, yet we hear there are people who are already pushing their preferred candidates and are campaigning. That should stop. As Zanu PF, we are saying this is the time to mobilise people to register to vote and make sure that those without identity cards are mobilised to secure them.”
Zanu PF retained the Murehwa South seat during the March by-elections after it fell vacant following the death of Transport minister and constituency legislator Joel Biggie Matiza, who succumbed to COVID-19 early last year.
Murewa district co-ordinating committee chairperson Israel Maliki urged party members to be disciplined and ensure that they uphold party rules and directives.
In Mashonaland East province, the Zanu PF leadership recently announced that it was having sleepless nights due to party candidates who are transferring from Harare province, where they have perennially lost to opposition parties.