President Robert Mugabe last week  was cited declaring that he has outlived Jesus Christ, a statement that was roundly condemned by Zimbabweans.

In power since 1980, Mugabe is the oldest African president and one of the longest serving. He is Catholic but what he stated in  the recent televised interview does not show that the Catholic teachings stuck with him. “I have died many times. That’s where I have beaten Jesus Christ. Christ died once and [been] resurrected once. I have died and [been] resurrected and I don’t know how many times I will die and resurrect.”

Some Zimbabweans reacted by saying that Mugabe should fear God foremost. “Maybe he was overexcited but he did not have to say that, he is only human. Christ was not of flesh. Lord Jesus was God himself and it is by the Grace of God that President Mugabe lives. I do not have anything against him but I think he must repent from making such statements,” said a church leader who asked not to be named for fear of victimization.

Another pastor from Chitungwiza, a township on the outskirts of Harare, said Mugabe should know better. “Instead of making such a blasphemous statement, our President should have taken the time to praise God for keeping him alive for the past 88 years. It is not time to be boastful but rather to be humble and pray for more years meekly.”

Richard Mazhura, a Christian from Harare, said President Mugabe will be punished by God. “I am not God but let me say that leaders come from God. It is He who has the power over them. Instead of attributing his health to the Almighty, the President attributed it to his wisdom. He will be punished for making such a statement.”

Several Zimbabweans interviewed echoed the same sentiments saying that the President should have respect for Christ.