The PAOZ is an umbrella body comprising various Pentecostal denominations in the country. Manhanga is a known Zanu PF apologist and does not hide his closeness to a number of senior Zanu PF officials.
It is understood that Manhanga has instructed the PAOZ’s overseer for Harare, Bishop Never Muparutsa not to renew the credentials for a number of pastors suspected to be linked to the MDC.
“One good example is Lawrence Berejena, a rather young pastor who is always very vocal against some ungodly practices in the church. He has been summoned to numerous disciplinary hearings for no apparent reasons, so that they justify the decision not to renew his credentials this year,” a source told a private radio station on Sunday.
Berejena is alleged to have ruffled Manhanga’s feathers when he complained about the invitation of a number of politicians to come and preach at a PAOZ conference.
“He invited a number of politicians, among them Professor Jonathan Moyo and RBZ governor Gideon Gono to come and give sermons at a church conference, when there were many known Christian leaders who could have done it,” said the source. Both Gono and Moyo could not be reached for comment. Manhanga’s mobile also went unanswered.
Manhanga is said to be a personal friend to both Gono and Moyo.
In addition, Manhanga is allegedly trying to turn the various independent churches that he presides over into denominations of the PAOZ. This would see him tightening his grip on church assets and properties. It is however understood this has met stiff resistance, with one assembly in Waterfalls even taking Manhanga to court.
The sources said a number of disgruntled pastors were already advancing plans of withdrawing some of the churches from the PAOZ banner.