Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Matabeleland South Bureau Chief
CHURCHES have been urged to take a leading role in promoting peace and unity across the nation as the country heads for general elections.
Addressing a church gathering during his visit to the Gwanda branch on Monday, Zion Christian Church (ZCC) Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi said as the 2023 elections draw closer his church has already started campaigning for a peaceful plebiscite. Also present at the gathering were political leaders.
Bishop Mutendi said the church and leaders of the nation should work together to eradicate political tension that can culminate in violence. He urged people to desist from engaging in tribal conflicts. Bishop Mutendi said unity of different ethnic groups in the country dates back to when the late Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo and Robert Gabriel Mugabe united Zanu and Zapu. He said this unity has continued to be preserved up to now. Bishop Mutendi said the country’s visionary leader President Mnangagwa has always emphasised the importance of unity.
“We are one country and one people there is no need to discriminate one another on tribal grounds. We know that elections are getting closer therefore let’s vote in peace. The voting process is an opportunity for us to safeguard the resources of our country and therefore we all need to get registered so that we can vote,”.
“Let’s be careful of external forces who turn us against one another in order to stall development. We shouldn’t be sponsored by the Western countries who want to divide the nation. In order to develop our country, we must remain united and we should maintain peace. As a church let’s continue praying for our country. Even the leaders of this country prioritise prayer that is why we hold national prayers,” he said.
Bishop Mutendi said the country was endowed with resources which if fully utilised could boost the economy of the country. He said communities should not depend on foreign sponsored organisations to develop their areas. Bishop Mutendi said some interventions from Non-Governmental Organisations have failed to provide communities with lasting solutions for their problems but have only provided temporary relief. He said Government programmes such as the Pfumvudza/Intwasa have had far reaching and positive effects on communities.
Bishop Mutendi said each community must invest in their areas.
“As people you have your own land and your own resources. You have to develop your land and utilise your resources as no one will do this for you. When you start businesses make sure that you aim big and don’t be content with small businesses. We are our own liberators. As people from Gwanda you are the main investors of your area and you have to develop your area.”
“We don’t hate other countries or shun other countries. Let’s continue to trade and relate with other countries but let’s not have another country trying to dominate us,” he said.
Bishop Mutendi urged youths to be productive on their land and to spearhead development in their communities.
Also speaking during the same event Minister of State for Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Cde Abedinico Ncube commended the church for its great work in ensuring peace prevailed in the country.
“We would like to thank Bishop Mutendi for the work that he is doing to move around preaching development and peace in various communities. This is the kind of partnership that we need as Government. Church leaders play a crucial role in the community and we need them to change the mindset of the people and to bring everyone on board. As churches let’s continue to do our part in building society,” he said. @DubeMatutu