Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Manicaland Bureau
Over the past decade, more so last year, numerous misfortunes and disasters have hit Manicaland, impacting on the province’s development agenda.
Not only has the province been affected by economic challenges, but it has also been on the receiving end of some of the most unfortunate tragedies.
Manicaland was the epicentre of the Cyclone Idai disaster which ravaged the country in March last year, killing hundreds of people and destroying homes and infrastructure worth billions of dollars.
Companies that had already been struggling were almost brought to their knees as they lost infrastructure and machinery.
The situation was not made any easier by the drought which followed, leaving the already vulnerable areas in an even deeper quagmire. Crops that had survived the cyclone were destroyed by drought, leaving farmers in despair. This affected the physical, social and spiritual well-being of the people of Manicaland and indeed, the rest of country.
It was with this in mind that the people of Manicaland converged at Mutare Showgrounds yesterday to pray for their land, as First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa took the National Day of Prayer to the province.
Manicaland becomes the first province to host the National Day of Prayer which was launched by the First Lady in October last year in collaboration with different churches to foster unity, peace, uphold morality and build the nation.
Addressing the gathering, the First Lady encouraged the people of Manicaland to pray for healing and prosperity.
“Today is not a day for speeches, it is a day to talk to God,” she said. “Let us speak to Him and tell Him our problems. Manicaland is your heart in the right place? We might not be able to say it all, but God knows everything that is in our hearts.”
The First Lady called on everyone to self-introspect so that they may be able to accept the good that others do and learn from them.
Amai Mnangagwa said taking the National Day of Prayer to the provinces would give all Zimbabweans an opportunity to come together.
“Today we started with Manicaland, we want to know what lesson we can draw from this session as we move from province to province praying for the country,” she said. “Tauya kuzotambira Mwari achibva kumabvazuva. Is your heart ready for him Manicaland?
“We don’t want people who will rely on hearsay, you have to be here to witness this historic occasion when we come before the Lord. We are a God-fearing nation, let us continue to be untied and he will answer our prayers.”
Standing in for Manicaland Provincial Affairs Minister Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba, Defence Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said the province was blessed to be the first to host the National Day of Prayer.
“Your visit is a timeous event as the people in Manicaland are in great need of socio-economic deliverance through prayer,” she said.
“We want to thank God for giving us this opportunity to come together and pray. Even the rain that has been falling heavily for the past weeks stopped today to allow us to pray for our country.”
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri hailed the First Lady for being one of the first people to mobilise aid for the victims of Cyclone Idai and bring projects meant to uplift the lives of those affected.
“The gathering in Mutare focused on several prayer points that included peace, love and development, God gave us this land we must work it, prayer against natural disasters and all calamities, economic revival, good international relations, prayer against corruption in all sectors and productivity.”
Dr Patience Hove from El-Shadai International Ministries led the prayer for productivity, growth and fruitfulness and declared deliverance from the spirit of corruption and restoration of all sectors of the economy.
Prophetess Memory Matimbire led the prayer against disasters and called on the nation to make a commitment with God and remind Him of his promise to Noah after the flood.
She said Zimbabwe would no longer be held hostage by disasters.
The business community also took part in the session to pray for the revival of industries in Manicaland. Mr Henry Nemaire from Tanganda Tea Company led the session.
Apostle Violet Magombo, from Vision Protectors Ministry led the flagship ceremony which was instrumental in highlighting the strengths of each of the country’s provinces and the need for God to restore the wealth of each one of them.
Congregants and other stakeholders who took part at the event hailed The National Day of Prayer initiative. Representing traditional leaders, Chief Chiduku from Rusape expressed optimism that the prayer would foster unity in the country and promote peace.
“As traditional leaders, we know that prayers are the only way for the country to be peaceful,” he said. “We hope these prayer sessions will continue because nothing beats prayers. Others might come to show off, but we know there are many who are coming with genuine concern for their country because they know that every good thing comes through prayer. When we come before the Lord with a clear vision of what we want to achieve, everything becomes possible.”
Mrs Jane Muhawa from the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe said the prayer meeting was good for the development of both the country and everyone who had taken part in it.