Nehemiah Mutendi
Nehemiah Mutendi
Nehemiah Mutendi
BornNehemiah Mutendi
(1939-09-15)September 15, 1939
Bikita, Masvingo
ResidenceZimbabwe
NationalityZimbabwean
EducationPamushana
Alma materSolusi
OccupationReligious Leader
Years active1976 to Present
OrganizationZion Christian Church
Known forCurrent Leader of Zion Christian Church
PredecessorSamuel Mutendi
Parent(s)Samuel Mutendi
RelativesRuben Mutendi (brother)

Nehemiah Mutendi is a Zimbabwean born religious figure who is the leader of the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) one of the biggest locally initiated churches in the country.

Background

Nehemiah Mutendi was born on 15 September 1939 at Mukute in Bikita, Masvingo and he is the sixth son of the late Rev Samuel Mutendi. At the age of 37 in 1977, he left teaching as he was ordained Bishop and leader of the Zion Christian Church after his father had passed on in 1976. He grew up in Bikita and assisted his parents herding the family livestock until he was ready to go to school.

Education

He attended Pamushana, the DRC mission school for primary education in Bikita. He then went to Solusi for Junior Certificate. After completing Rhodesia Junior Certificate, he trained as a teacher at what is now Mutare Teacher's College and taught in Manicaland Province for several years before he was recalled by his father to serve in their church schools. The honorary doctoral degree he was awarded by the University of Zimbabwe was in apparent recognition of his efforts in education and social development.[1]

Work History

Mutendi is a former teacher. He was also director of a company called Whitepark Limited which was launched in 2002.[2]

Farm Mechanisation Scheme

In July 2020, Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi was listed, in the BSR of 18 July 2020, as a beneficiary in the 2007 RBZ Farm Mechanisation Scheme, as a result of the Fast Track Land Reform Programme.

The data is analysed by recipients origin:.

  • Mashonaland provinces had the most beneficiaries, both in terms of numbers and value.

Mashonaland East got US$47,5 million,
Mashonaland West US$44,7 million
Mashonaland Central had US$34,2 million.

  • Two Matebeleland provinces had a combined total of US$13,9 million.
  • Masvingo US$26,4 million,
  • Manicaland US$18 million
  • Midlands US$14 million.

Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi, is listed under the thematic group “The Clergy”. He is listed with two loans of US$271,000.00 and US$315,600.00 for a grand total of US$586,600.00.. [3]

Religious career

With the title Bishop, Mutendi was appointed leader of the Zion Church after the death of its founder Samuel Mutendi in 1976. As the leader of the church, Mutendi has the responsibility of taking forward the so-called Zion City Dream of the founding fathers of the church which strives towards philanthropy, education and health service centres for its people. Bishop Mutendi was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Zimbabwe in 2012 for leading the faith-based organisation into a development and spirituality brand it is today.[4]

At present, the Zion Church has grown to be one of the biggest locally initiated churches in Zimbabwe. It has followers in most parts of the country. The church has also established annex churches overseas in countries such as the United Kingdom. The church has thousands of followers. It is known for its somewhat unique music which includes the use of indigenous percussion instruments such as drums and trumpets. The church is also known for its barefoot dances which along with the beating of drums and backing voices to give it a true orchestra sound.

Comments on the Catholic bishops' letter

Nehemiah Mutendi has hit out at fellow men of the cloth in Catholic bishops who on Friday 14 August 2020 wrote to Government of Zimbabwe expressing disquiet over rampant rights abuses and poor leadership. Addressing the media in Mutare on Tuesday 18 August 2020, the Zimbabwe Indigenous Interdenominational Council of Churches (ZIICC) patron insisted the church should not be found opening old wounds.

Mutendi, who is also Zion Christian Church (ZCC) leader, said instead of opening old wounds like the Gukurahundi issue, churches should divert their energies towards preaching messages of hope to a nation burdened by drought and sanctions induced economic hardships.

“This is the time to preach hope that God has given us this land and boundaries, we live here and we have a past and bad things have happened and we are correcting it through prayer,” said Mutendi. The press conference by ZIICC follows a strong pastoral letter by seven Catholic Bishops who deplored an unprecedented government crackdown on dissent against a backdrop of economic ruin.

Amongst the solutions proffered by the Bishops was the need to heal the country and deal with past injustices for the country to move forward. Responding to the Pastoral letter, government strongly rebuked the bishops describing the man of the cloth as an evil-minded flock of misled narrow-minded bishops.

Similarly, Mutendi sees everything wrong with the stance taken by his peers. “Church leaders should not speak out about past wrongdoings but focus on giving hope to their flock. There is no need to remind one another of the past because everyone has dark past. “We don’t talk about those bad things that happened in the past. We don’t want tribal feelings, we don’t need to remind each other of our past because everyone has a dark past,” said the cleric.

Mutendi said the church should leave politics to the politician and stick to its roles of praying and feeding the nation. “Leave the politicians alone, let them play their game. Let’s pray and feed the nation. “Are we true shepherds when we are seen to be promoting chaos in our country, making people remember the past, and describing who did what? Is there anybody without a past? Is there a nation on this earth without a past? “As an indigenous church which does not get instructions from other quarters except from heaven and bible, we don’t go overseas for assistance,” said Mutendi.

Mutendi however admitted that violence was perpetrated on the opposition in the country citing a case where the late and founder of MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai, who died of colon cancer was brutally assaulted and injured by soldiers in Highfield township on March 11, 2007 on his way to prayer meeting. “One case of violence which I always remember in my head is when Morgan Tsvangirai was injured and bandaged. Everybody witnessed that but today there are reports of violence but you don’t see a picture,” said Mutendi.

He said ZIICC will be not be coerced to join to speak ill about government by joining a bandwagon of “liars”. “But we cannot join lies, we cannot witness lies. If someone asks me what happened in the past, we know what happened in the past there was violence. “But if anyone asks me whether there is violence today, I can’t tell you what I have not seen. I can’t join liars,” said Mutendi.[5]

Mutendi with Mnangagwa



References

  1. Vincent Gono, [1], The Sunday News, Published: 11 October, 2015, Accessed: 19 August, 2020
  2. , Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi's Profile,Duedil, retrieved:24 Mar 2015"
  3. https://www.bigsr.co.uk/single-post/2020/07/18/BSR-EXCLUSIVE-Beneficiaries-of-the-RBZ loan of US$325,368.00-Farm-Mechanisation-Scheme BSR EXCLUSIVE: Beneficiaries of the RBZ Farm Mechanisation Scheme], Big Saturday Read, Published: 18 July 2020 Retrieved: 18 July 2020
  4. , Experience,Morrisen Mamutse Linkedin Profile, retrieved:24 Mar 2015"
  5. [2], New Zimbabwe, Published: 19 August, 2020, Accessed: 19 August, 2020