Mugabe invites Pope Francis to Africa, tells journalists to go to church

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has said he wants Pope Francis to visit Africa and pray for a sinful world to repent, Africareview reports.

 Pope Francis smiles as he chats with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace after the Inauguration Mass in St Peter's Square, Vatican March 19, 2013. President Mugabe has said he wants the Pontiff to visit Africa. PHOTO | AFP

Pope Francis smiles as he chats with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace after the Inauguration Mass in St Peter’s Square, Vatican March 19, 2013. President Mugabe has said he wants the Pontiff to visit Africa. PHOTO | AFP

President Mugabe, who evaded a travel ban to go to the Vatican, said the new Pope should visit Africa, the same way Pope John Paul II, whose visit he described as memorable.

“We would want him to visit Africa in the same way Pope John Paul II did,” President Mugabe, a staunch Catholic said.

“And we know that as a man of God, he will be praying for all of us, praying for the sinful world to repent.”

Under travel restrictions, the veteran ruler is banned from entering Europe, but the restriction does not extend to the Vatican City.

The Zimbabwean leader also had words of advice for journalists who travelled with him, urging them to go to church.

“If you have not been going to church, you start going to church. If you have been drunkards, stop drinking,” President Mugabe, a lifelong teetotaller, said.

“If you have been guilty of fornication, stop it.”

He advised the journalists to follow the 10 commandments, describing them as not difficult to follow.

Most Western nations imposed a travel ban on President Mugabe and his associates following a violent election in 2002.

The Zimbabwean leader, however, often travels to the West under the privilege of attending international summits.

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