Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Manicaland Bureau
President Mnangagwa has urged the church to take a leading role in unifying the country to ensure the achievement of development goals set out by his administration. In an address at the Gospel of God Church International 1932 (GGCI) annual synod at the Johane Masowe Gandanzara shrine in Makoni district yesterday that was made on his behalf by Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, President Mnangagwa said the relationship that exists between the Church and the Government dates back many years and should be valued.
“As the Church you are important because without your support, we are like fish without water. Long ago before Zanu-PF was formed, Baba Johane Masowe had already begun the revolution. He had a direct relationship with God and he knew that he had to fight for black people’s dignity which had been compromised by the white Rhodesians. This is the role that the church plays in our lives, that of restoring our dignity,” he said
“We have a vision of uniting Zimbabweans regardless of their religious beliefs. We can all pray to God in our different ways. If we are united in prayer, we can foster development.”
President Mnangagwa also expressed dismay over the continued existence of conflict between the Church’s two factions.
The two factions have been fighting over rights to visit the shrine at Gandanzara and the matter has spilled into the courts.
Although the High Court gave the two factions equal opportunity to visit the shrine in 2017, there has been tension ever since.
“I am worried about the tension within the church. You should not be fighting among yourselves. You should be uniting to fight whoever is promoting these divisions. The fact that this other faction is camped right outside this shrine is a recipe for conflict. I have heard your plea to have a police station established here because it is important to have it nearby to ensure that there are no confrontations,” the President said.
“Differences exist, but it is how we solve the problems that arise from those differences. We want to find amicable solutions to these problems without fighting.”
He said he was worried about elements that were bent on causing artificial shortages in the country aimed at derailing Government’s efforts to put the economy back on track.
“We have some elements bent on going against Government’s efforts to restore the economy.
“Some fuel dealers have been bringing in fuel and selling only a portion of their stocks so that they can sell the remainder in forex, prejudicing the citizens. Government is seized with correcting this and we have introduced monitoring systems so that this does not continue,” he said.
September 28 is the church’s most important day when members from all over the country and some from as far as Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana and Australia visit the shrine and view Johane Masowe’s grave.