From George Maponga at MBUNGO
President Mnangagwa yesterday exhorted Zimbabweans to unite and remain strong in the face of prevailing economic difficulties saying the challenges confronting the country will soon be overcome, paving way for an epoch of prosperity.
Addressing thousands of Zion Christian Church congregants gathered at the church’s cathedral at Mbungo Estates to celebrate Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi’s 79th birthday and also pray for good rains in the forthcoming farming season, President Mnangagwa said challenges facing Zimbabwe required resilience.
The President, who shares the same birthday with Bishop Mutendi – September 15 – was also honoured with his own birthday cake at the church gathering, making the event a double celebration. The President turned 76 while Bishop Mutendi turned 79 on the same day.
The President told the colourful ZCC faithful that Zimbabwe’s economic challenges will soon be a thing of the past.
“Things might have been difficult or might still be difficult but I liked what Bishop Mutendi said while talking about what pregnant women go through in childbirth. He said pregnant women (during labour) are encouraged to persevere under pain during that time and after a child is finally delivered mothers become very happy and will be smiling all the way,’’ he said.
“It is the same situation to a country. We are currently in problems, but let us unite and persevere saying ‘push’, ‘push’; we must continue moving forward as a nation fully aware that the current challenges are temporary and good times will soon roll,’’ he said.
President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe will only speedily overcome its economic challenges if the country speaks with one voice, saying a divided lot cannot stand.
‘’We must always preach love and unity not to be always at each other’s throat if we are to develop as a nation. Of course, there will be always be some elements bent on spoiling the soup but such characters will not stop our country from moving forward.’’
The Head of State called on Zimbabweans to love their country,describing those bent on instigating demonstrations and sowing the seeds of instability in the country as ill-adviced and languishing in darkness away from God’s grace.
This comes as embattled MDC-Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa, who lost to President Mnangagwa in the July 30 presidential election, has threatened to spearhead nationwide demonstrations in a bid to gain political power through the backdoor.
‘’There are some of us who see but they do not see clearly and others who hear but do not hear properly. We have some amongst us in our country who do not want our country to go forward and prosper but the good thing is that the majority of our people want this country to prosper,’’ said the President.
President Mnangagwa reiterated that he will always remain a listening President leading a Government that was subservient to the wishes and aspirations of the majority of Zimbabweans. He pledged to continue consulting Zimbabweans to find solutions to some of the country’s nagging problems.
The President said he will always remain indebted to Zimbabweans for voting him President during the July 30 presidential contest where he emerged numero uno from a list of 23 presidential aspirants.
‘’I have actually found a perfect opportunity in broad daylight today to tell to all Zimbabweans in the four corners of the country that I am very grateful, very grateful for voting me President. All earthly leadership positions need God’s anointment. Of course, there are others who did not vote wisely but I hope there will see the light at the end of the day and come back home,’’ he said.
President Mnangagwa challenged the present generation of Zimbabweans to be at the forefront of finding solutions to some of the country’s challenges.
‘’You have heard about Zimbabwe’s time under colonial rule and how men and women waged the war of liberation to remove colonial rule but right now can we plan to go back to war again or sow the seeds of conflict, no, we need to plan about how to economically develop our country.
‘’This is a generation that has a task, a task to develop our country and to make our life better. A task to bring glory to Zimbabwe that is the task that this generation has,’’ said President Mnangagwa.
He hailed the ZCC church for spearheading prayers for a good rainfall season in the country saying Zimbabwe’s economy was agro-based hence the importance of good rains every year to ensure production on farms.
The President said if the country received good rains Government will be spared the painstaking burden of importing food, leaving money in its coffers to be used for developmental projects that improve lives of ordinary Zimbabweans.
President Mnangagwa praised Bishop Mutendi for urging his congregants and Zimbabweans at large to hold on to their land dearly saying land was a national treasure which should be jealously guarded.
‘’All of you in your thousands here cannot get jobs even if you ask for them but if you have land in your possession then you have a good starting point and I am happy that most of us now have land in our hands which we can use to produce food,’’ said President Mnangagwa.
The President paid tribute to the ZCC for nurturing morally upright citizens and helping Government to develop the country through building facilities such as schools.
He pledged to be always on hand to help the church to carry out its developmental projects in future.
In his remarks, Bishop Mutendi also urged Zimbabweans to be resilient in the face of economic difficulties facing the nation. He equated President Mnangagwa to the biblical Joshua who led the children of Israel into Canaan.
Bishop Mutendi said economic challenges facing Zimbabwe were caused by illegal sanctions imposed by Zimbabwe’s enemies to break the spirit of its people.
“What we are experiencing now is not something new, we have seen this before but it will soon be over. The enemy no longer has any new weapons in his armoury. That is why he is using weapons that have been used before. The country is on the verge of a breakthrough and we should remain strong and focused,’’ he said.
The ZCC leader said Zimbabwe has undergone rapid socio-economic transformation since 1980 with most Zimbabweans now in a far much better economic position than during colonial rule. He said while during colonial rule there were no problems such as fuel queues as most indigenous people were wallowing in the murky waters of poverty.
Bishop Mutendi also reminded Zimbabweans on the importance of jealously guarding their land saying his church hoped for good rains in the forthcoming farming season for the nation to produce its own food.
President Mnangagwa, who was accompanied by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, donated a tractor to Bishop Mutendi, five tonnes of top dressing fertiliser, another five tonnes of Compound D fertiliser and a tonne of maize seed to the ZCC.
After delivering his speech, President Mnangagwa and Bishop Mutendi led the cutting of their birthday cakes amid jubilation from delirious ZCC congregants.
Present at the event were senior Government and Zanu-PF officials among them State Security Minister Cde Owen Ncube and Masvingo Minister of State Cde Ezra Chadzamira among others.