Farirai Machivenyika, Harare Bureau
Zanu PF’s pulling power was at play yesterday when more than 35 000 people thronged St Noah College in Bocha to witness the official ground breaking ceremony of the St Noah Sports Stadium by President Mnangagwa.
The Sports Centre is the brainchild of High Priest, Mutumwa Noah Taguta, the leader of the Johane Marange Apostolic Church.
The President thanked the people for coming out in their thousands.
“I never thought I would see such a huge crowd because I thought I would just come here and within a short period of time return because I had another engagement in Harare.
“I am, however, happy and very grateful for such a huge turnout,” said President Mnangagwa.
He commended Mutumwa Taguta for the role he has played in complementing Government in the provision of education and recreational facilities.
“I want to thank the Johane Marange Church for inviting me to officiate at the ceremony for a sports stadium that is going to be the first one to be constructed in the rural areas,” said President Mnangagwa.
“Something like what we are witnessing today does not just happen or can be done by an ordinary person. It is something that is done by someone with a vision. Ideas like that do not come to those without a vision and I was talking to your leaders and they were saying they are building six schools at the moment and they would want to come to Harare and I told them we will provide them land for that.”
He commended Mutumwa Taguta for his efforts in providing educational facilities that not only benefit his congregants but even those from outside.
“Even in urban areas there are very few schools that are as beautiful as the one we are seeing here,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said the Johane Marange Church should continue to provide the lead to other churches.
“This is exemplary. May other church organisations follow what you are doing. Government should be providing these facilities but we are so happy when you provide these facilities,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said the sports facility would ensure healthy growth for children.
“Sports ensure physical fitness and produces mental health in our children. The facility that is going to be constructed here should benefit both boys and girls and will offer various sporting disciplines,” he said.
The President, who is also Zanu PF First Secretary, also thanked the Johane Marange Church for contributing towards the country’s food security through their farming activities.
“I saw your Church farm and I am impressed by how you do your farming activities.
“In the past two years, from the time I was appointed to lead the Command Agriculture programme by the former President, we have said this country should never endure food shortages again whether we experience droughts or not.
“This country should never be food deficient. We have a programme that will ensure this country is a permanent food basket for Southern Africa,” said President Mnangagwa.
He commended Mutumwa Taguta for his ministry growth that has seen it spread to several Sadc countries.
President Mnangagwa promised that his Government would continue to ensure freedom of worship in the country.
“I want to promise that as long as Zanu-PF and I am in power, freedom of worship will be guaranteed.
“Our constitution gives us those rights that make our families, villages and country stable,” said President Mnangagwa.
Family representative Mr Nesbert Taguta said the construction of the stadium would go a long way in their quest to produce well-groomed students.
“It is our belief that the establishment of the sports centre will go a long way in producing students who are empowered, academically, spiritually and physically,” Mr Taguta said.
Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa donated balls for various sporting disciplines, $50 000 to go towards the construction of the stadium, 100 computers to St Noah College and pledged to bring 100 more. He also donated rice and maize to be consumed during the construction.
Youth, Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Raymond Kazembe donated $10 000 while Zanu PF National Chairperson Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri and Minister of State for Government Scholarships in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Dr Christopher Mushohwe donated 30 tonnes of cement.
Several businessmen also donated cement and money towards the construction of the stadium.