Patrick Chitumba Midlands Bureau Chief
Zimbabweans need to remain united and peaceful since challenges facing the country will be overcome if people work as a collective, President Mnangagwa said yesterday at Defe Dopota in Gokwe South.
Addressing multitudes of Zion Christian Church members who gathered to commemorate the 46th anniversary of the death of the church’s founder Reverend Samuel Mutendi, the President denounced any form of violence and urged Zimbabweans to work in harmony for the socio-economic development of the country.
Reverend Mutendi died in 1976 and every year in August, church members meet to commemorate the anniversary of his death.
President Mnangagwa was accompanied by First Lady Amai Auxilia Mnangagwa, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga and his wife Mrs Miniyothabo Chiwenga, among other senior Government officials.
The President, who left current ZCC leader Bishop Dr Nehemiah Mutendi and church members asking for more, quoted several Bible verses which were read out supporting his message.
The President said Zimbabweans must be champions of peace and productivity.
“Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. God will be with you as you practise peace and harmony. I call upon you to continue making Zimbabwe a peaceful country. Our people should live in harmony, love each other and prosperity will be a blessing from above. Wherever you are, be a champion of peace, be a champion of production. We must keep the spirit of harmony which the founder of ZCC preached,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said ZCC will be there forever as it was founded on the principles of peace, love, unity and harmony.
“ZCC is not an overnight church. It’s one of the churches that started during colonial rule and is still growing. The church will go on even if you leave it. This is a church that was built on peace, love, unity and harmony,” said President Mnangagwa.
Quoting Mark 16:15 which reads; “And he said unto them go into the world and preach the gospel of peace unto all nations”, President Mnangagwa said ZCC members should preach peace wherever they were.
“I call upon you to strive for peace, unity and harmony for the development of the country,” he said.
President Mnangagwa noted that the Bible also said that those that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed.
The theme of the conference is peace and commemoration of heroes of Zion who preach peace and unity.
“This is what we are remembering today. The theme speaks to the story of Reverend Samuel Mutendi and the overall national agenda of peace. Samuel Mutendi preached peace.
“Reverend Samuel Mutendi gave us practical lessons when he formed the church and started preaching the gospel of peace and salvation. He established this great church through hard work, determination, consistency which is what the Government is advocating for as it empowers the people,” said President Mnangagwa.
Reverend Mutendi was not deterred even when he faced oppression at the hands of the colonial masters.
“He, against all odds, persevered and established the church. We have a duty today to carry this message. We have a duty to the God of Samuel who gave him the wisdom to preach peace. We must leave a legacy or good inheritance to the future generation because our work will follow us,” he said.
President Mnangagwa commended the existing relationship between Government and ZCC saying the church preaches peace and unity always as well as working towards the development of the country through its own initiatives.
“ZCC is involved in a lot of good work aimed at developing the country. ZCC is involved in education and has many schools running. In September 2020 I had the honour to tour ZCC agro-industrial park in Masvingo and that’s a huge development by the church aimed at developing the nation,” he said.
ZCC was involved in a lot of production programmes that developed the nation.
“My Government will continue to facilitate and support churches on production and productivity and change people’s lives.”
He said God is a God of peace and harmony who blesses those who advocate peace.
President Mnangagwa said come the 2023 harmonised elections, the church should vote for the ruling party which is a people-centred party.
Zimbabwe remained a unitary State and the unity and democracy in the country could never be sold.
“There is only one party that liberated the people of Zimbabwe from the bondage of colonialism and that’s Zanu PF and you must vote for Zanu PF. Reverend Mutendi advocated the liberation of black people. We must walk with that spirit and hope, the spirit of peace and spirit of national building. Our peace and unity are not for sale. Our unity and democracy can never be sold. We must reject violence of any kind. We must always pray for peace, walk peacefully and exalt peace,” said President Mnangagwa.
Zimbabwe was a single country with one name and one flag and 16 national languages. “We only have one revolutionary party and that is Zanu PF that will maintain the heritage,” said the President.
There were challenges bedevilling the country but working as a collective, the country would overcome them.
“We had opportunity to talk of challenges faced in this area. Bishop Mutendi raised a number of issues and I want to promise you that the Government will address them. We know this year we didn’t have adequate rains. Some districts have hunger but no one will die of hunger because we have stock at GMB,” he said.
Government was working on mitigating against climate change which is affecting rain patterns by construction of many dams.
“We looking at 450ha to be put under irrigation and if we do irrigation we will be food sufficient. That is why we are constructing dams to mitigate against climate change.
“We want to construct two dams on two rivers in Gokwe. We agreed that the construction of the two dams will be put in the November budget and construction will resume. We have a donation of six rigs and one is coming here to drill boreholes until we have water all over, until every need with regard to water is satisfied,” said President Mnangagwa.