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    Friday, 20 October 2017

    Catholics mourn ‘Bishop of the people’





    •    Xavier Munyongani, a staunch human rights defender
    •    Criticism of bad governance unsettled Government

    ELIZABETH MASHIRI
    MIDLANDS BUREAU

    GWERU - The Roman Catholic Church has been thrown into deep mourning following the death of one of its most revered clerics, Bishop Xavier Munyongani who passed on at the Avenues Clinic on Saturday last week.
    Bishop Munyongani who was ordained in September 2013 was arguably the Church's greatest moralist who attacked fellow clerics and Government alike for corruption and immoral behavior.
    He was also one of the most compelling preachers in the church with the latitude to spice his sermons with songs from other churches like Anglican and the Reformed Church in Zimbabwe.
    Munyongani who was fondly referred to as murume wavanhu (Bishop of the people) had as a new diocese head revived hopes of a Catholic Church that would  stand up to Government in defense of the rights of the weak and poor as he used every sermon to attack greed, corruption and even President Mugabe for brutality and the way he has brought Zimbabwe down to its knees.
    A statement from Gweru Vicar General Father Lawrence Pasipamire confirmed the death and said Bishop Munyongani is going to be buried at Driefontein Mission on Friday (October 20 2017) at 9am.
    Well-informed sources in Gweru told The Mirror that Bishop Munyongani's sermons were increasingly unsettling the Government of President Mugabe to the extent that he was under surveillance from the Central Intelligence Organisation.
    Bishop Munyongani used every sermon to criticize Government for corruption, greedy, plundering the country's wealth and brutality.
    In one of his sermons and in apparent reference to President Mugabe, Bishop Munyongani said it was unusual for people to get more ruthless as they get old. He said instead, they become more like children who are filled with love.
    "Chii saka chinosaka mwoyo urambe uchingoomarara iwe munhu uchikura. Vanhu vanozivikanwa nekuwedzera rudo nokukura kwavo, saka kutambudzika kwevanhu hamukuoni here?" Bishop Munyongani would ask.
    Last year he made a scathing attack on fellow black bishops whom he accused of bringing down the church in Zimbabwe. He said greedy black bishops have destroyed mission schools that were once rich with cattle, good hospitals and schools because of their plunder of wealth.
    "Varungu vakasiya zvinhu zvakanaka izvi. Mombe dzenyama, mombe dzemukaka, mapurazi airimwa, zvikoro, mahosipitari nemachechi akanaka asi pakangouya mabishop edu eganda dema aya, ndiye zvinhu zvese bhogo-bhogo bhogo vachidya mari. (These mission schools, hospitals and churches were doing very well under white bishops. The problem came when we appointed these bishops of our black skin. They have plundered everything and left the church on its knees and limping)", said Munyongani when he opened a Catholic Couples Conference held in Masvingo last year.
    He also castigated tribalism and said his mission in the Midlands Diocese was to ensure that there was genuine love and unity between the country's main tribes, the Shona and the Ndebele people.
    The social media was this week abuzz with condolence messages from across the churches expressing great shock and deep grief.
    To demonstrate what Christians should go through in defense of their belief, Bishop Munyongani always preached about a member of the Guild of Anna when she faced death at the hands of her persecutors during the liberation struggle asked that she be allowed to put on her church uniform first before she was thrown into a fire.
    Apparently the woman was killed in Chirumhanzu.
    Bishop Munyongani was born in Gutu at Mutero Mission in 1950.top story
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