Original Research

Mocking the just God? A theological critique of President Mnangagwa’s use of the name of God to justify his rule in Zimbabwe

Suspicion Mudzanire, Collium Banda
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 42, No 1 | a2218 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v42i1.2218 | © 2021 Suspicion Mudzanire, Collium Banda | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 February 2021 | Published: 12 October 2021

About the author(s)

Suspicion Mudzanire, Department of Practical Theology and Missiology, Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Collium Banda, Unit for Reformational Theology and the Development of the South African Society, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

Abstract

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa justified his unconstitutional ascendency to power after a military coup that dethroned former President Robert Mugabe in 2017 by claiming that ‘the voice of the people is the voice of God’. He repeated the claim in 2018 when Nelson Chamisa refused to recognise him as the legitimately elected president of the country after accusing him of rigging the 2018 elections. Mnangagwa’s use of God’s name to authenticate his rule raises the question: as one of the foundational attributes of God is justice, what does it mean for political leaders openly claiming to be ordained into office by him? This leads to a further question: Has Mnangagwa’s rule satisfied the demands that come with claiming to be ordained by God to rule, and what should be the church’s response towards Mnangagwa’s rule in view of God’s justice? This article uses God’s attribute of justice to critically evaluate Mnangagwa’s claim that ‘the voice of the people is the voice of God’. The claim is described and placed within Mnangagwa’s claims and insinuations to be a Christian. His current rule, which is characterised by violent repression and corruption is examined and evaluated. God’s attribute of justice is presented and highlighted in how it challenges Mnangagwa to reform his rule to align it with God’s nature of justice.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The article combines insights from religion and politics, the mission of the church in a context of political oppression and systematic theology to highlight the need for the Zimbabwean churches to judge all political systems according to the adherence to God’s justice. It also provides some theological tools by which churches can protect themselves from being co-opted by unjust and oppressive regimes that violate God’s justice.


Keywords

justice; democracy; Mnangagwa; coup in Zimbabwe; repression; church and politics

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Crossref Citations

1. Debunking The New Dawn Myth: A comparative analysis of South Africa and Zimbabwe
R. Mngomzulu Bheki
African Journal of Political Science and International Relations  vol: 17  issue: 3  first page: 28  year: 2023  
doi: 10.5897/AJPSIR2023.1437