MBERENGWA residents are up in arms after the dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) allegedly barred one of the district’s biggest relief body, the Baptist Convention of Zimbabwe, from conducting development projects, under unclear circumstances.
The Baptist Church’s national president reverend Rosette Zijena said he had received a number of phone calls from one Magwaza claiming to be from the president’s office ordering the church to withdraw its water and sanitation project, among other initiatives, from the district with immediate effect.
“The issue is a very sensitive one in that we received phone calls from a Magwaza, who said he was calling from the president’s office in Harare, that we should withdraw our operations in Mberengwa district,” Zijena said.
“He advised that our national evangelist reverend Isaac Mabvumba, who is the Mberengwa district patron where we also have an orphaned and vulnerable children care centre, not to set foot there together with
Greg Fort, who represents the international mission board in Zimbabwe.”
Zijena said officials from the Midlands president’s office had informed them that they would consult their Harare office to get clarity. Mabvumba and Fort said they had received calls from Magwaza and other anonymous people threatening them against continued assistance in Mberengwa district or visiting church members there.
“Magwaza informed me that I should not go to Mberengwa and at the same time an army chaplain, who is a former Baptist convention student, reverend Never Tshabangu, called me threatening to boot me out of the country since I am a white man,” said Fort.
Mberengwa Gold Miners’ Association president Trymore Nkomo also sent messages to Mabvumba allegedly promising to deal with him before the “CIO” called threatening him with unspecified action if he continued his work in Mberengwa.
An official from the Midlands province president’s office said they were still investigating the matter to establish if their officials from Harare were responsible for the messages or if it was the work of some bogus officials.
“We are conducting investigations and soon we will find out what is happening,” said the official, who declined to be named.
Mberengwa War Veterans’ Association chairperson Masarira Masarira said the Baptist Convention programmes were above board and people from one of the least developed districts in the country were benefiting.
“Someone who bans such people from assisting us shows complete hatred of the district,” he said.
“The church has sent our children to school, improved water and sanitation through construction of over 60 boreholes and given us free medication with doctors from abroad treating both humans and our livestock. This is a shocker.”
Chief Mposi said there was need for President Robert Mugabe to intervene since the ban was affecting people on the ground.
“This is one of the least developed districts in the country and we have been depending much on well-wishers, but now we receive news that some. CIOs have barred the Baptist Church from assisting. Surely our president should have a look into this.”
The acting Mberengwa district administrator identified as a Mr Chiwanga said he was not aware of the development.
“I am not aware of the issue, but we have always applauded all organisations that assist the district, especially in water and sanitation since we live in a lower region,” he said.
The Baptist Convention has constructed school blocks, drilled boreholes and provided human and livestock medication as well as medical specialists from abroad to perform free services for residents in the district every year.