Zimbabweans should remain steadfast in the wake of relentless “ungodly” attacks that are meant to “inflict suffering on all of us” through destabilising the economy, especially ahead of the August 23 harmonised elections, President Mnangagwa has said.

He also exhorted Zimbabweans to set the tone for peaceful elections through using internal mechanisms, such as the Church, rather than inviting outsiders to act as mediators. Addressing thousands of congregants at the 56th commemorations of the Anglican Church of Zimbabwe’s martyr, Bernard Mizeki, in Marondera yesterday, President Mnangagwa said the country’s detractors were conspiring to destabilise the economy ahead of this year’s elections.

“If people sit down, wherever they are, and plan that people in another country like Zimbabwe must suffer, those people are ungoldly. This is what the Bible says. Let us also remain steadfast against the onslaught by our detractors who seek to hurt our economy and inflict suffering on all of us. Such greedy, divisive and harmful tendencies are ungodly. Our collective energies, skills, ideas and competencies must be directed towards building a prosperous, modern and industrialised Zimbabwe.”

He implored the Church to intercede for the nation ahead of the polls.

“In keeping with our national Constitution, our country will be holding the Harmonised General Elections on August 23, 2023. In this regard, I appeal to the Anglican Church and other churches throughout our beloved motherland, Zimbabwe, to preach and pray for peace, unity and love; before, during and after elections. Let us not wait for outsiders. We should promote peace, preach unity and harmony among ourselves.”

The President, who quoted extensively from the Bible, said churches were ordained by God to be peacemakers and must dutifully carry out this role. 

“As the salt of the nation, Christians and other religious communities carry the weighty obligation to be bridges for love, harmony, respect, tolerance and unity. You are the peacemakers; even the word of God says in Matthew 5 verse 9: ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God’.”

The strong bond between Government and the Church, he added, should help the country achieve sustainable development that leaves no one and no place behind.

 “The Church must never shy away from its obligation to help lift our people out of poverty and into prosperity through sustainable production and productivity ventures. Nyika inovakwa, inotongwa uye inonamatigwa nevene vayo; ilizwe lakhiwa, libuswa, likhulekelwe ngabanikazi balo.”

The President said churches must unapologetically preach the message of production and the dignity of hard work. The Anglican Church could leverage on its network of churches across Zimbabwe and the region to boldly take its place towards accelerating socio-economic development of the people, he said, adding that there was need to broaden career paths and opportunities for young people within its schools and institutions, riding on the ongoing science, technology and innovation drive being championed by the Second Republic. 

“The Church has continued to churn out some of the country’s most brilliant brains and academic giants serving both in the public and private sector. 

“Our national hero and the late chairman of ZANU, Cde Herbert Wiltshire Pfumaindini Chitepo, was a product of St Augustine’s Mission, Tsambe. Schools such as St David’s Bonda, Bernard Mizeki College, Peterhouse Schools, St Patricks Chiwundura, Cyrene Mission, St James Nyamandlovu, Daramombe, St Columba’s, St Mary’s Chitungwiza, St John’s Chikwakwa, among others, have raised trailblazers and leaders in our nation across all sectors of the economy. Many are also leaders in various institutions and sectors the world over.”

He also spoke against abuse among young people, urging parents to continue disciplining their children.

“At family and school level, we must remain guided by Proverbs 13 verse 24, which states that ‘whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them’,” he added.

In his remarks, Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga said elections are only held once in five years and should thus not disturb the general peace the country enjoys. 

“Elections will come and go, but you will remain a father, a mother, an uncle, a neighbour and a friend. Let us not destabilise our country because of elections that are only held on one day.”

Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, who is also a member of the Anglican Church, senior officials from Government and ZANU PF also attended the event. The commemorations, held under the theme “Celebrating Bernard Mizeki: A call for the Church to Evangelism and Discipleship”, attracted the Church’s foreign dignitaries.

Mizeki was an African missionary and martyr who died in 1896 after dedicating his life to Christianity. He remains a towering figure in the Anglican Church. Yesterday, President Mnangagwa revealed that he had accepted the Anglican Church’s request for the Bernard Mizeki shrine to be accorded the status of national heritage site. He also donated materials for the church to spruce up the sacred place.

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