Bishop in trouble over Moyo, Gono ‘sermons’

Posted on January 17, 2010 | Category: Politics; Business, Sport

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

SQUABBLES have rocked the Pentecostal Assemblies of Zimbabwe (PAZ), pitting
presiding Bishop Trevor Manhanga against pastors who believe he is
politicising the church. In particular, members were not happy with his
growing tendency to invite senior Zanu PF politicians to minister at the
church.

They cited a function late last year when Manhanga invited Tsholotsho North
legislator Jonathan Moyo, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono, Air
Zimbabwe Chief Executive Peter  Chikumba and Africa University
Vice-Chancellor Professor Fanuel Tagwira to officiate at a leadership
seminar at the PAZ.

“It looks like he wants to do exactly what his friend (Bishop Nolbert)
Kunonga is doing with the Anglican Church,” said a pastor at the church.

“Most of the things that are happening at the church at the moment have
nothing to do with ministering the gospel, but it is just for the political
emancipation of the presiding Bishop and a few individuals.

“People are leaving the fellowship in numbers because of this. Honestly how
can he invite people like Gono and Professor Moyo to come and preach to
pastors?”

Disgruntled members last week said Manhanga had gone to the extent of
getting rid of some pastors he felt were against his politicisation of the
church.

It is alleged that Manhanga targets mostly pastors challenging his
legitimacy, and who have the potential of wresting the leadership of PAZ
from him.

Elections are due in 2011.

Among these is an activist and leader of the Rugare Pentecostal Assembly,
Pastor Lawrence Berejena.

Also on Manhanga’s alleged blacklist is former Bishop Emmanuel Bawa, former
national executive member Dickson Changara, and Leo Mupanduki, the founder
of some 28 churches affiliated to the PAZ.

Lennie Meril, the founder of Kwekwe Christian Assembly and Victory
Tabernacle in Mutare, where Manhanga is currently pastoring, was also
frustrated until he returned home to Canada.

“Manhanga wants all pastors to toe his pro-Zanu PF line, but knows pretty
well this will not work,” said another member of Upper Room Ministries, one
of the key members of the PAZ.

“Right now they have not renewed Berejena’s credentials because of his
association with the MDC-T, and for voicing loudly against corrupt
tendencies within the leadership.”

The members said they want Manhanga to step down because he is no longer
serving the fellowship under the will of God.

It is understood that when he sensed looming defeat in the elections,
Manhanga created an electoral board comprising handpicked lieutenants to
oversee the whole process.

And to show members how connected he was, Manhanga “invited secular leaders
to preach to leaders of the church”.

Moyo confirmed that last year he made a presentation at a PAZ meeting, but
said “there was definitely no preaching”.

“Some time last year, there was something arranged as a leadership seminar
for PAZ leaders to interact with people in different sectors of society,”
said Moyo who formally rejoined Zanu PF at the end of last year.

“I was invited alongside Professor Tagwira, Dr Gono and Dr Chikumba to
address various topics on leadership. I gave a lecture on issues of
governance.

“It is stupid for anyone to say we preached at that meeting. There was
definitely no preaching. We are humble enough to appreciate that scriptures
should be left to the men of God.”

Manhanga said it was “incorrect” that he was elbowing out pastors and elders
perceived to be against him.
“That is a lot of nonsense. There is no pastor that has been chucked out,”
Manhanga said.

“Let the people making those accusations come out in the open. I have got
nothing to hide.

“As for my continued stay, I was put into office by the fellowship, and my
term expires in 2011.”

He also disputed the claims that Moyo, Gono, Tagwira and Chikumba had
preached at the church.

“There is no politician coming to preach, we only invited them for a
leadership seminar last year,” Manhanga said.

But the disgruntled members argued that if the objective was to get
politicians and influential people to make presentations, Manhanga should
have invited known Christian leaders, some of whom were members of the PAZ.

“There are many known Christian leaders in business and politics he should
have invited.

“Why didn’t he invite people like (Health Minister) Dr Henry Madzorera, who
is a member of the church?

“There is not much inspiration to draw from people like Gono and Moyo, and
even Chikumba is struggling at Air Zimbabwe,” argued the member.

Manhanga argued that they had invited Madzorera, but he could not make it as
he was out of the country. Madzorera was not immediately available for
comment.

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