Mugabe, a Catholic, was addressing members of the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) at their Mbungo headquarters here. He said he had lost confidence from his own bishops.
“I am confused by my own Catholic bishops, they must learn from you (ZCC leaders). Often Catholic bishops expose that they are not their own men; they are mere puppets of Western Countries. I grew up in a Catholic Church but now I am totally frustrated by how these so called men of God who lie. All Catholic bishops are liars, they demonise my party every day,” fumed Mugabe.
The Catholic bishops of southern Africa have accused Robert Mugabe of perpetrating genocide, saying: “We, the Catholic bishops of southern Africa, call on Mugabe to step down immediately.”
Their remarks came in a statement from the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference (SACBC).
Presented by SACBC president and Archbishop of Johannesburg Buti Tlhagale, the statement resulted from a Pretoria meeting between the bishops of Botswana, South Africa and Swaziland.
According to the Catholic Information Service for Africa (CISA), the bishops called on regional leaders to cut ties with Mugabe, warning that a failure to do so would make them guilty of “passive genocide.”
“The appalling tragedy in Zimbabwe means that the time of talking is over,” the bishops said. They asserted that mediation and negotiations have failed, claiming that six months of talks have resulted in stalemate.
They called on the 15-member Southern African Development Community (SADC), to stop supporting and giving credibility to Robert Mugabe.
“Failing this, SADC leaders accept complicity in creating the conditions that have resulted in starvation, displacement, disease and death for ordinary Zimbabweans. This is nothing short of passive genocide,” the bishops said, CISA reports.
They urged that Mugabe step down to allow a for internationally supervised and credible elections.
The Catholic Church married Mugabe to his wife Grace under controversial circumstances in 1996, after having sired children with her while his first Ghanaian wife,Sally, was still alive. Grace was previously married to Stanley Goreraza, an air force pilot, and believed to be working in the Zimbabwe embassy in China. As secretary to the president, she became his mistress and together they had two children, Bona, named after Mugabe’s late mother, and Robert Jr. Sally died in 1992 after a long battle with kidney.
Although Mugabe could not divulge why he is not prepared to walk out of the Catholic church, he said there was nothing true being preached by the priest from Catholic church.
“I observed how they operate and my conclusion is that almost three quarters of them who are whites feed people with lies,” added Mugabe.
President Mugabe, however, pleaded with his youth in Bikita not to attack Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) supporters in the area, saying he had since learnt that violence scared away supporters from his Zanu (PF) party.
“Please don’t beat people from opposition parties here; there is nothing which we can get from being violent. We grow and live in the same area so there is no point why we should beat our neighbours for holding a different political thinking. Those whom we beat will never support us so the best strategy to lure our opponents is to love them and live with them in peace. Please I beg you to live peacefully with others,” Mugabe said.
The Movement Democratic Change has been calling for a delay in elections due to escalating violence.
ZCC bishop Nehemia Mutendi thanked Mugabe for officially opening their church saying he was going to mobilise his followers to pray for the uplifting of sanctions against Mugabe and his allies.
“My church started the year when President Mugabe was born. I am sure, by finishing this church building, that will help us to pray for the uplifting of the targeted sanctions against our President and other top government officials,” said Mutendi.
Mugabe recently launched an anti-sanctions petition which is expected to garner about three million signatures to force the Western countries and the European Union to reverse targeted sanctions, which Mugabe and his party blame for many Zimbabwe economic woes.