Vice-President Joice Mujuru has been strongly condemned for saying that President Robert Mugabe was anointed by God to lead Zimbabwe.
While speaking at the official opening of an Apostolic Faith Church building in Mhondoro on Saturday, Mujuru said Mugabe was anointed at the age of 10 and that those fighting to replace him are wasting their time.
She added: 'Leaders are anointed by God, making them irreplaceable. People are wasting their time by opposing President Mugabe. It was prophesied way back in 1934, when he was only 10 years old, that he was going to lead this country. How can a normal person challenge such a leader,' Mujuru queried.
But Mujuru's remarks have sparked a deluge of reactions on social media sites like Facebook, with one user spearheading the assault and posing the question: 'If he was anointed to rule was he also anointed to ruin our country?'
Another user followed up the attack saying: 'It's frightening when we have such scandalous, blasphemous statement from people like Mujuru.'
Pedzisai Ruhanya, a political analyst and director with the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, told SW Radio Africa on Monday that Mujuru's utterances were politically bankrupt and mischievous.
'What she said is shocking considering that her party stands accused of violating human rights on a massive scale. When she says Mugabe was anointed, anointed by who, maybe by Satan,' he said.
Mujuru's statement on Mugabe comes at a time when politicians in the country are chasing the religious vote, with only a few months before a crucial poll.
They are taking the battle to the open-air spaces and sports arenas where the more charismatic church leaders are drawing crowds as big as 50,000. Mugabe has on occasion appeared at an open-air mass gathering of the large apostolic sect, complete in the white gown and staff that is the trademark of sect's worshippers.
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has also been attending a series of "prayer for peace" rallies - mass prayer meetings organised by the Zimbabwe National Pastors' Conference, a grouping of mostly Pentecostal church leaders.
He has professed his faith and told the gatherings that Zimbabwe's problems would be eased by prayer.
Political analyst Blessing Vava said: "It is nothing new. ZANU PF has been using every platform to gain political mileage. They have been into music, soccer, churches and, of late, clothing to try to lure as many followers as possible.