As the nation approaches elections in the next few months, the church has been urged to reach out to its congregants with the message of love, unity and forgiveness.
The call was made by President Emmerson Mnangagwa when he met church leaders at local hotel in Harare today.
President Mnangagwa said dialogue must continue, adding that his door will always remain open.
“Since taking office, I have used every opportunity to preach love, unity and forgiveness. I shall be meeting with other political parties to spread the same message of unity.
“While there may be some disagreements, we must never allow it to become poisonous. The church and government must preach the gospel of peace and preach the gospel of reconciliation. The new administration preaches peace and unity,” said President Mnangagwa.
The President said his administration remains committed to protecting rights of freedom of worship, saying bitterness that is engulfing some people in the country needs prayers.
“It is duty of the church to urge people to refrain from vindictiveness. The Bible says usadzorera chakaipa nechakaipa,” President Mnangagwa said.
He implored the church to partner the government for the development of the economy, reiterating that he is a listening President.
“Hatirambe tichiumba nyika yedu ikwirire tisapfimbike matarenda at akapiwa naJehovah. (Let us continue to build our country using the talents or resources that God gave us).
“As government, we also invite the church to participate in policies like command agriculture and others,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said the success of 2016/ 2017 farming season has spurred the government to expand it to other crops and fisheries.
He called upon church elders to come up with income generating projects to help the young generation and keep them out of mischief.
Turning to the issue of corruption and quoting Romans 12:1-2, Cde Mnangagwa said it takes time to weed out the corrupt elements but with commitment from all Zimbabweans, it shall be won, adding that real change will not occur overnight.
“In the last 3 months, we have managed to attract US$3 billion worth of investment (FDI) into our country. Real change takes time and will not occur overnight. Together we will drive this nation to success.
“It is time to boldly reclaim our space on the international arena. The period of an inward looking Zimbabwe is over. Focus of the new dispensation is to resurrect our economy,” he said.
The President promised to look into some of the requests by the church leaders which include restoration of a national day of prayer, having a Minister of Religion, restoration of land that churches lost during land reform, establishment of an Economic Christian Forum and church representation in parliament.
“You mention that you need more land to build churches and developmental projects and my government is supportive of that. We are glad by your declaration that the church supports the govt of the day,” said the President.
President Mnangagwa reiterated that Zimbabwe is open for business and expressed gratitude to church organisations for contributing to the development of the nation by building schools and clinics.
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