I am a congregant of this church, I greet you all. We have come to this church which I grew up in. Most of you were not born yet in the 1940s. I attended this church before we migrated to Zambia which was still called Northern Rhodesia. We went to Kafuwe Mission, which is also a Methodist institution but I later left to join the liberation struggle. When we came back from war I attended church services here briefly while staying in Tynwald but I stopped again
Efforts to repatriate the skull of Mbuya Nehanda and other heroes of the First Chimurenga of 1896-7 have stalled because of lack of enthusiasm about the whole effort by President Emmerson Mnangagwa who sees himself as a Christian of Zambian origin and therefore does not believe in the “nonsense” about her purported spiritual importance, the ZimbabweNewsLive can reveal.
For many years, there have been reports of the imminent repatriation of the skulls, and as recent as February this year, the state media claimed that the skulls would be in the country in time for the Independence Day celebrations, but nothing came of these reports. This prompted ZimbabweNewsLive to make follow-ups in light of latest activities to honour the heroine.
When ZimbabweNewsLive approached one Cabinet member, who is a close relative of Mnangagwa, to check progress on the repatriation of the skulls of Mbuya Nehanda and the others now that the government is seized with making a show of honouring the heroine when the country is facing many immediate challenges, he laughed first before revealing what he claimed Mnangagwa has repeatedly said to close family members.
“He does not believe in the whole thing… the “mumbo-jumbo about Mbuya Nehanda, although, like Mugabe he does not discourage those who believe in it,” the Cabinet source said. “He always says he believes that God has kept him alive for a special purpose… he says it was not Mbuya Nehanda who saved him from the gallows in his youth, but God because this same Mbuya Nehanda could not save herself and her colleagues not just from the gallows, but also from having their heads carried off for display in Western museums.”
Mnangagwa missed the gallows by a whisker in the 1960s when he and his colleagues were arrested for sabotage activities against the Rhodesian settler regime.
“He says those of his colleagues in the Crocodile gang who believed in Mbuya Nehanda were hanged just like her. He says it was God, not Mbuya Nehanda, who saved his life on many occasions, including when he was poisoned in Gwanda in 2017 and when a bomb exploded at his rally at White City Stadium in Bulawayo in the run up to the July 2018 elections. He always says, ‘if I believed in Mbuya Nehanda I would have been long dead, but I believe in God and He has kept me alive for a special purpose’ and you can see his conviction when he talks about the many attempts on his life. It was because of this that he called for a day of prayer and fasting… many think it was someone’s idea, but the truth of the matter is that it was actually his own.”
The source said Mnangagwa on the statue of Mbuya Nehanda that is being erected in Harare CBD, he is neither supportive or opposed. “He is taking after Mugabe who did not want to antagonize political allies on account of personal matters like those of faith.
Asked when the skulls could finally come, the Cabinet member was dismissive: “If indeed the skulls where that important, they could have been delivered at the Lancaster House table and our leaders would have left London with them. The fact that they left them there and they have remained there for more than 40 years tells you what the leaders thought and still think of them… they are useless!”
President Emmerson Mnangagwa in 2017 attended a Christmas Eve church service at Mabelreign Methodist Church in Harare together with the first lady Auxilia .
Mnangagwa was given a chance to speak to the congregation and this is what he had to say:
“I am a congregant of this church, I greet you all. We have come to this church which I grew up in. Most of you were not born yet in the 1940s. I attended this church before we migrated to Zambia which was still called Northern Rhodesia. We went to Kafuwe Mission, which is also a Methodist institution but I later left to join the liberation struggle. When we came back from war I attended church services here briefly while staying in Tynwald but I stopped again”.