The world division of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries has approved a $4,000 grant to one of two groups comprising the Patriotic Front of Zimbabwe to help fund an information office in New York.
The Zimbabwe African National Union, headed by Robert Mugabe, is one of two guerrilla organizations in the Partriotic Front fighting the Rhodesian government of Ian Smith. The other is the Zimbabwe African Peoples Union, headed by Joshua Nkomo.
The grant is being allocated from the World Division's Southern Africa Political Refugees account to aid in dealing with "the problems of refugees in and from southern Africa." Last summer, a grant by World Council of Churches to the Patriotic Front brought worldwide criticism.
Dr. Isaac Bivens, coordinator of the World Division's Africa regional team said: "Our commitment is to the total liberation of the people of Zimbabwe [Rhodesia]. We leave the ideological struggle to the people themselves, just as we leave the fighting to them. They must liberate themselves. Our commitment is to the cause of liberation, which we feel is deeply rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ."
The grant was denounced by Dr. Robert D. Wood, administrator of the unofficial Evangelical Missions Council in the United Methodist Church.