Police hound Bulawayo pastors


POLICE on Wednesday summoned pastors of a Christian organisation to explain their source of funding, days after they had met with the MDC-Renewal team in Bulawayo last Friday.


Makokoba MP and MDC-Renewal team head of the Diaspora and international relations committee Gorden Moyo met members of the Shalom Trust on Friday before the launch of the party’s philosophy and agenda at the Large City Hall.

The breakfast meeting attended by 20 pastors and a number of other church leaders was held at the Bulawayo Public Library.

Pastor Anglistone Sibanda, the co-ordinator of Shalom Trust that draws its membership from pastors and church leaders from various denominations in the city, confirmed that police had summoned and asked them to reveal their source of funding.

The Police Internal Security and Intelligence department questioned Shalom Trust members for hours at the Bulawayo Central Police Station on Wednesday.

“They wanted me to submit a copy of our deed of trust, tell them our sources of funding and our profile as well as contacts and residential addresses of our board members. I think it was a reaction after we held a pastors’ meeting that was addressed by Moyo on Friday,” Sibanda told Southern Eye yesterday.

Sibanda said the Friday meeting with the MDC-Renewal team was an interactive platform for church leaders and political leaders held under its ongoing programme that seeks to create interface between the church and politics with a view of helping the church play its priestly and prophetic roles as well as influencing politics in a positive way.

“In this programme, we have a series of meetings lined up with politicians from across the spectrum who are based in Matabeleland and because the renewal team was going to have a landmark meeting in the afternoon, we thought it would be prudent to hear what they were going to say to the public before their meeting,” he said.

He condemned the police summons as harassment and illegal.

“I think the requirements by the police are illegal and it’s a way of intimidating CSOs (civil society organisation) and that they are probably on a mission to target influential people in society so as to silence them in the wake of a failing economy due to disastrous policies,” he said.

“The security system is exposing its desperations to sustain the status quo by all means even those means that are outside the provisions of the law because there is no law that requires CSOs to also register with the police.”

Bulawayo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Mandlenkosi Moyo refused to comment yesterday referring Southern Eye to national police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi who could not be reached for comment.