A “Peace and Family Festival” at the National Sports Stadium in Harare yesterday, led by Korean cult leader Dr Hak Ja Han Moon, failed to attract anticipated huge crowds after Zimbabwean church leaders urged members to stay away.
Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa who had been scheduled to open the highly-publicised event did not show up, instead sending a Zanu PF politburo member Josiah Hungwe to read his speech. A gala dinner on Tuesday that the president was supposed to attend in honour of “Madam Moon” was cancelled.
Mnangawa’s about-turn was because of the Christian outcry, according to Bulawayo 24.com. Madam Moon is the widow and successor of the late Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon, who claimed to be a messiah.
The Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC), the Evangelical Federation of Zimbabwe (EFZ), and various individual churches warned members not to attend the festival because they did not identify with the teachings and practices of the movement.
Apostle Ezekiel Guti of ZAOGA Forward in Faith Ministries requested all “churches to pray a prayer of protection from the cult coming into Zimbabwe as it will destroy and lead believers astray”.
Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) president, Bishop Johannes Ndanga, who organised the festival was furious with Christian leaders who stopped their followers from attending.
He said the festival was a peace gathering and not a church gathering, and Zimbabwe needs peace, reported Bulawayo 24.com.
When the Christian outcry against the festival began the Zimbabwean government defended its support for the event.