ROBERT Mugabe will win the next elections and his main rival Morgan Tsvangirai will lose leadership of his MDC-T party, Zimbabwe’s largest church organisation claimed on Sunday, citing “prophecies”.

Bishop Johannes Ndanga, leader of the Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) – an ecumenical body of over 100 indigenous apostolic and Zionist churches claiming a combined membership of nine million congregants – said a “council of prophets” from their affiliates had all received the same prophecy.

“As prophets, we would like to reveal the word that has been delivered to us through the spirit. We now know the winner of the next harmonised elections and it is President Robert Mugabe,” he is quoted as saying by the Herald newspaper.

In an uncertain political and social climate in Zimbabwe, self-styled prophets and sorcerers have stepped in to predict how future events will shape up – but the predictions usually attract derision from non-believers.

Ndanga and the ACCZ have never hidden their support for Mugabe and his Zanu PF party, but he insists they are willing to stake the churches’ reputations on the outcome of the elections expected within months.

“We’re very aware that there’re a lot of people who don’t believe in prophecy, but what we are saying is we have delivered the message and what is now left is for people to wait for the elections to come. They will bear testimony that our prophecy was true, when the elections are done,” he said.

“People should understand that this prophecy is not based on whether or not the apostolic churches support Zanu PF. It is a message that has come from God which we are now relaying to the people.”

Ndanga predicted woe for the MDC-T and its leader Tsvangirai, whom he said would be ousted as leader soon after the elections and the party plunged into uncertainty.

“Soon after the elections, Tsvangirai is going to be removed from the presidency of his party and there is going to be chaos in the MDC-T,” he said.

The ACCZ has claimed that Johanne Masowe church leader Shonhiwa Masedza delivered a prophecy in 1934 that Mugabe – then a boy – would lead Zimbabwe. The church feels bound to support the 89-year-old leader who has been a visitor to several of its conventions.

The ACCZ has more than 100 indigenous apostolic sects affiliated to it including the African Apostolic Church, Zion Apostolic Church, Johanne Marange and Johanne Masowe. Its claim of a membership of nine million in a country of 13 million people cannot be proven, but it is generally accepted as the largest church grouping in Zimbabwe.