Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has told leaders of recent proteststhat they are free to leave the country.
He was addressing party supporters during the burial of the first civil servant at the national heroes’ shrine.
President Mugabe said not all religious figures are true preachers of the bible.
A local pastor Evan Mawarire has launched a series of protests against the veteran leader and his government over the last three months.
As President Robert Mugabe led the funeral service of the chief architect of the post-independence civil service, government workers are worried whether this month they will be paid on time.
The government is struggling to mobilise money as the economy takes a tumble. Some citizens have found a voice for their discontent through local pastor and government critic, Evan Mawarire. He led a series of strikes over the last two weeks.
“Mawarire and those who believe in that way of living, they are not part of us in their thinking as we try to live together, if they don’t want to live with us, let them go to countries of those sponsoring them,” says Mugabe.
Mawarire is currently in South Africa, he says temporarily. A Harare court freed him on Wednesday, on charges of trying to overthrow the government. He denies he has encouraged violent protests.
“We say no, no forever to violence. Beware these men of the cloth, not all of them are true preachers of the Bible. I don’t know if I don’t know which God they are serving. We spell God G-O-D; they spell GOD in the reverse.”
President Mugabe’s administration has come under increasing public pressure over its failure to stem the economic slide.
The last two weeks saw public bus drivers protest over police harassment, civil servants over the late payment of salaries, while ordinary members of the public led by pastor Mawarire had stayed away from work in protest of a series of government policies they say cripple their ability to earn a living.
Credit: Shingai Nyoka