MASVINGO -The church must work hand in glove with the Government to promote peace, and Zimbabwe can only achieve its developmental goals in an environment devoid of conflict and violence, President Mnangagwa has said.
He was speaking at Shonganiso Mission in Masvingo South yesterday, where he witnessed the installation and ordination of Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) Vice Chancellor Professor Rungano Zvobgo as Bishop of the African Reformed Church.
Prof Zvobgo was anointed by his late father Bishop Jonas Mudadirwa Zvobgo to succeed him as African Reformed Church leader, having founded the church during the colonial era.
In his remarks, President Mnangagwa said: “You cannot build a nation in an atmosphere without peace, we have given total freedom to those who want to worship in Zimbabwe. Those who want to pray are free to do so, they are free to worship but you can’t build a nation in an environment of conflict and that is why it is important to preach, yes to preach peace,’’ said the President.
“All churches must preach peace and harmony and if positive things that are done by the church are combined with positive things done by the State, a country can then move forward.’’
The President, who quoted a number of Bible verses, showing his deep knowledge of the word of God, pointed out that while there is a clear distinction between the church and the State, the two needed to collaborate to engender socio-economic development and nurture harmony.
“The church and the State should work together, with the church preaching to its flock to encourage families and communities to shun agents and merchants of violence. The church should preach to our people never to accommodate architects of violence, such characters should never be tolerated amongst us so that we live peacefully and are able to develop our nation,’’ His Excellency said.
President Mnangagwa exhorted Zimbabweans to work hard and strive to develop their nation.
He said Zimbabwe will not beg for food from other countries as God gave it water bodies and rains that can be harnessed for irrigation.
“We should always talk about production, production and production. God even says you should eat something from your sweat and we are not even supposed to be importing food as a country, we must listen to the word from the Scriptures and develop our own nation using our God-given resources.’’
On sanctions, the President said: “A person who was born 22 years ago has never lived and known any other life outside the sanctions, so there is no point in crying over sanctions because to that person this is the only normal he or she knows, we must persevere and build our nation despite the sanctions.’’
He chronicled his close relationship with the Zvobgo family dating back to when Prof Zvobgo’s late father was alive.
President Mnangagwa paid tribute to Prof Zvobgo as an excellent State employee as evidenced by his ability to grow GZU into a top-notch institution of higher learning.
The President gave the newly-ordained Prof Zvobgo counsel in his latest role as Bishop.
He said Prof Zvobgo’s new task was even bigger and taxing as he was going to shepherd both the good and the bad to mould them into morally upright citizens.
President Mnangagwa pledged to donate an ambulance to Shonganiso Clinic, which is part of Shonganiso Mission after Prof Zvobgo requested for one.
In his acceptance speech, Prof Zvobgo pledged to expand and develop Shonganiso Mission to benefit people around Masvingo South and beyond.
Bishop Zvobgo, who passed on in 2001, was one of the indigenous members of the clergy who broke away from foreign churches during colonial days and followed other eminent African bishops, like ZCC Mutendi founder Reverend Samuel Mutendi, to establish an indigenous church.
ZCC Mutendi leader Reverend Nehemiah Mutendi was the principal consecrator at Prof Zvobgo’s ordination as Bishop while Family of God leader Reverend Apostle Andrew Wutawunashe was the co-consecrator.
President Mnangagwa then handed over a certificate of installation and ordination from the Zimbabwe Indigenous Interdenominational Council of Churches to Prof Zvobgo officially marking his new role as head of the church.
Present at the ceremony were senior Government officials including Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando, Masvingo Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Ezra Chadzamira, senior civil servants and members of various churches.