Zimbabwe: government makes church cancel Christmas donation

 A government official in Matabeleland South province stopped a church from giving food and clothing to poor villagers and orphans just before Christmas. A ceremony to hand over the gifts sourced from well-wishers by the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe was cancelled at the last minute after the local ruling Zanu PF party Member of Parliament (MP), Andrew Langa, declared that nothing be given to the needy villagers unless he was there. The church had planned to give out books, medicines, crop seeds and mealie-meal to the needy here two days before Christmas. It is now holding back the gifts until it can arrange a date convenient to Langa when he can be present to allow the handing over of the goods. Church social worker Sheba Dube, told ZimOnline news service "We had to call off the event because at the last minute as we got a message that the MP (Langa) said that nothing should be distributed unless he was there." She said the church had also planned to host a Christmas party for orphans in this impoverished district soon after handing over the gifts but that also was cancelled thanks to Langa. "We were planning to have a Christmas party for the orphans because some of them were not going to be able to have a party like everybody else," Dube said. Hundreds of villagers and orphans who had turned up for the Christmas party and to receive gifts had to return home hungry and empty handed, according to Dube. The cancelled gift ceremony is not the first setback for the church's philanthropic attempt in Insiza. Two months ago the church tried to hand over books and medicines to a local traditional chief. But the chief declined to receive the goods saying the church should have gone through the government district administrator. The church was only able to give out the goods after the administrator had given permission that it could do so. Langa, who is also government deputy Minister for Transport and Communications, could not be reached for comment. Source: ZIMONLINE/ICN

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