PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s last-minute cancellation of his scheduled visit to the Marange Apostolic Sect annual Passover pilgrimage has left many sect members disappointed.
Mugabe aborted the trip after returning from Singapore on Saturday morning, with his spokesperson saying he needed to rest.
The visit to the diamond-rich area was seen as a follow-up to an earlier visit by the Registrar-General’s Office to begin an exercise of doling out identification documents.
“We were expecting the President, we started our Passover on July 1 and we are ending it tomorrow (today). We were told that the President is coming, we were looking forward to having him here, but have been advised he is no longer coming,” sect member, Titus Mudziro said.
Another sect member, who identified himself as Madhuku, said they were disappointed
We don’t know what happened because we are told that the President is no longer coming. We are sad indeed,” he said.
The opposition reacted angrily to Mugabe’s then planned visit, accusing the Zanu-PF leader of seeking to manipulate the “docile” congregants for the benefit of his party ahead of elections next year.
The annual Johanne Marange Apostolic Church Passover draws thousands of pilgrims from across Africa led by Noah Taguta.
MDC-T Manicaland provincial spokesperson, Trevor Saruwaka yesterday said Mugabe’s visit could had coincided with serious manipulation of registration exercise by Zanu-PF.
“The visit by Mugabe to Marange Shrine could coincide with serious issues of manipulation of the voter registration exercise,” he said.
On Saturday, Information minister Christopher Mushohwe rubbished the vote-rigging claims.