Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa of the United Family International Church and his wife Ruth yesterday joined thousands of their church members in a massive clean-up campaign in Harare which covered the city’s business area.
The clean-up campaign was supported by the Harare City Council, which provided 17 refuse trucks.
The church members were divided into 30 groups comprising hundreds, with each group assigned to a bus terminus or certain streets to sweep and pick up litter.
At Simon Vengai Muzenda Street (formerly Fourth Street) bus terminus, business came to a standstill as people jostled to get a glimpse of Prophet Makandiwa and his wife, who joined a group assigned to clean up the area.
Speaking at a church service at the City Sports Centre just before the exercise, Prophet Makandiwa said there was need for collective effort to achieve a healthy and litter-free country. “As I was driving in our city I saw a situation that does not require money, but which we can address,” he said. “It’s a programme that requires energy and commitment.
“I feel there is something practical that we can do for our nation. We have more than 30 places that need to be cleaned.
“As we pray for the nation, we also realise that there are things that require effort and commitment, so in this case we are going to go in every part of the city picking up litter and sweeping every dirty area we will come across.”
Prophet Makandiwa said the Harare City Council was doing its best to remove litter, but that too many people were littering compared to the number of workers it has for the job. Church spokesperson Pastor Prime Kufakunesu said in an interview that the initiative was a brainchild of Prophet Makandiwa, who intends to de-litter the city and send a message to Zimbabweans to act responsibly.
“The church is sending a message to the people that it is our responsibility as citizens to keep our city clean,” he said.
“People have a wrong opinion that it is the responsibility of the City of Harare alone to maintain cleanliness.” Harare City Council’s principal communications officer Mr Michael Chideme commended the church for the clean-up campaign.
“We welcome the role the church is playing because this is what causes behaviour change since many people go to church,” he said. “If the church starts walking the talk then we are assured of a litter-free country because good values and norms come from the church.”
Harare residents also commended Prophet Makandiwa for being practical in his teachings and actions.
“We were not expecting that a person like Makandiwa could come and sweep at a bus terminus,” said Mr Norman Penzwa, who operates at Simon Muzenda terminus. “It shows that he is a humble man and the clean-up campaign is a good initiative and a challenge to all of us.”
A motorist, Mr Wayne Mudzimurega, urged Zimbabweans to emulate Prophet Makandiwa’s example.