Churches line up activities to celebrate Easter Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi

Rejoyce Sibanda and Blessings Chidakwa

Easter begins today, with a number of churches lining up various events as they mark the first Passover celebrations without Covid-19 restrictions that started in 2020.

Easter is one of the most important festivities on the Christian calendar as they commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

It all started last week when the Church marked Palm Sunday, which is celebrated to remember the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.

Many companies yesterday had half-days at work, to allow employees to engage in last minute shopping and travel to different places where they will be with relatives, friends or fellow worshippers at church functions.

The head of the Roman Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Bulawayo, Archbishop Alex Thomas said just like every year, the church has everything prepared for Easter. He said it all started last week when the church marked Palm Sunday, which is celebrated to remember the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.

“There is also Holy Thursday whereby we will be commemorating Jesus washing the feet of his 12 apostles, anointing them as his first priests. Then we are also going to celebrate Good Friday which commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Saturday evening is celebrated to remember Jesus Christ’s resurrection and Easter Sunday marks the final resurrection of Christ,” said Archbishop Thomas.

He said as the church celebrates Easter, congregants also have to think of their reformation and moving on with life.

Archbishop Thomas called on youths to partake in the celebrations so that they take the reformation process seriously and change their lives for the better.

He added that even if Covid-19 measures have been relaxed, the church is still abiding by Government regulations.

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe (ELCZ) leader for the Western Diocese, Bishop Michael Dube said the church has different meetings within Bulawayo for the Easter celebrations.

He said such meetings will be held at places that include the city centre, Njube, Mzilikazi, Tshabalala and Emganwini.

“Our 16 parishes in Matabeleland South will all gather at Manama Mission. Programmes start on Thursday with what we call Maundy Thursday which is the washing of the disciples’ feet. We also have the Holy Communion which continues until Sunday morning,” said Bishop Dube.

Harvest House International Church Founder Bishop Collin Nyathi said the church is not going to have any Easter conferences this year as they are mainly focusing on the construction of the biggest conference centre in the country.

He said instead, they will preach the message about the Passover Easter which comes from 1 Corinthians Chapter 5 verse 7 and Exodus Chapter 12.

“When we preach our message on Sundays, we are preaching Christ who reminds us of the Passover because the first book of Corinthians says Christ is our Passover lamb and this is what our Easter is all about. Our message is about the cross. Easter means Passover and Passover means Christ is represented by the lamb. Christ is our Passover,” said Bishop Nyathi.

He said every other celebration about Easter is appreciated but the main anchor is remembering Christ.

Alongside the Easter celebrations, the Government has urged motorists to exercise caution during the Easter holidays.

In a statement, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona said all road users should observe traffic laws as well as Covid-19 safety protocols set by the World Health Organisation and the Government.

He said all passengers in public vehicles are required to wear face masks and transport operators should ensure that all their employees are vaccinated against Covid-19.

Minister Mhona said as per the norm, road safety actors including the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and the Vehicle Inspectorate Department (VID) will be participating in joint enforcement operations throughout the holiday period.

Police have also launched a national crackdown on violators of traffic rules and regulations including all other forms of criminality as part of efforts to ensure sanity and order prevail during the Easter holiday.

Under the operation, police are targeting vehicles without registration number plates and not authorised to carry passengers, drug peddlers, and other crimes such as murder, robbery, unlawful entry and rape.

In a statement, the national spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said criminal elements often take advantage of holidays to intensify their criminal enterprises.

He said police will be out in full force to execute their duties diligently without fear or favour.

“Records have shown that speeding, human error, misjudgment, overloading and defective motor vehicles contribute to accidents. The Zimbabwe Republic Police, therefore, urges drivers to be considerate on the roads and avoid driving under the influence of alcohol,” he said.

“Reckless driving conduct especially overtaking in situations which are not safe should be avoided. Motorists are implored not to exceed the loading capacity of vehicles when carrying goods and passengers.”

Asst Comm Nyathi urged operators of passenger public service vehicles to adhere to the dictates of their route permits and timetables and desist from dangerous and reckless road races for passengers. Asst Comm Nyathi said police officers will be deployed to curtail criminal activities throughout the country through patrols, stop and search, and crime awareness campaigns.

“Parents and guardians are also being advised to monitor the movement of their children, especially girls, who should be left in the custody of mature and responsible people if they are not travelling with them. As police, we will ensure that drug peddlers are arrested and taken to court for justice to prevail,” he said.

“Criminals involved in drug trafficking and peddling in communities will certainly be arrested without fear or favour. Let us strive to prevent crime during the holidays and also drive to arrive alive on the road.”

Asst Comm Nyathi said they will ensure that criminals are accounted for while at the same time, ensuring that there is order and sanity on the roads.

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