via Govt backs ‘Judgement Night’ – DailyNews Live by Helen Kadirire 6 APRIL 2014
Walter Mzembi, minister of Tourism and Hospitality Management, said yesterday the government had endorsed the United Family International’s “Judgement Night” to be held on April 19.
More than 150 000 people, including foreigners, are expected to attend Emmanuel Makandiwa’s “Judgement Night” prayer session at the National Sports Stadium.
Mzembi said already, international delegates had started arriving for the convention, which he said promotes religious tourism.
“Judgement night has the potential to become a major event on the Christian calendar worldwide in the next few years, something like our own religious World Cup and it is in this area of its own size that government has been attracted,” Mzembi told a news conference yesterday
“And we do not talk to individuals as government and we deal with constituencies and this is a constituency on its own. We hope that going forward it can raise a new generation of cadres that are going into business and various facets of life but steeped in the Christian values.”
He said people have gradually lost their values and it was only the Church that can communicate without fear or favour, in a non-partisan way restoration of those values.
Last year, Judgement Night was cancelled at the last minute after administrators of the venue drilled holes in Makandiwa’s plans by making too many demands which the church could not meet.
Mzembi attributed the cancellation of last year’s Judgement Night to squabbles within the unity government.
“Because of the cross communications then, we were speaking in tongues, no one could understand us,” Mzembi said. “On the one hand, MDC could say this and we would say that in Zanu PF and until we stalled this project and it could not happen. They were trying to milk the spiritual project.
“But today as a Zanu PF government, we are very conscious of the importance of this project to the nationhood and our national values as Zimbabweans. We support them so that they get competitive rates in the transport, accommodation and even in the venues.”
Mzembi indicated that church-inspired business was the way to go, adding not even politicians could pull the crowds that religious conventions attract.
He said that such huge crowds of people gather to get spiritual food for their hungry souls, hence the buzz in religious gatherings.
“There is a lot of buzz in the transport industry where people are constantly in motion, going to church and it is moving certain sections of our economic life but no one is measuring it,” Mzembi said. “If you cannot measure it, you cannot know it and if you cannot know it you cannot incentivise it.
“In tourism, we know how to incentivise this and this is why we went lobbying for Statutory Instrument (SI) 124 and 199 to extend its benefits to the religious sector, provided they demonstrate to us that there is going to be economic value for the people of Zimbabwe. The church is free to exploit this SI’s to mutual advantage.”