PRESIDENT Mnangagwa will tomorrow lead the nation in the Presidential National Day of Prayer and Fasting to galvanise the moral and spiritual fortitude of the nation in its fight against Covid-19.
The Day of Prayer comes at a time when infection rates are increasing in African countries, with South Africa becoming one of the hotspots on the continent, which makes it increasingly difficult for Zimbabwe.
In his address to the nation last month, President Mnangagwa noted that the majority of coronavirus cases had been imported.
As of yesterday, Zimbabwe had recorded 356 confirmed cases, including 51 recoveries and four (4) deaths, but the country is exposed to more cases as many citizens are returning from South Africa, which has so far recorded over 60 000 cases.
The whole nation is expected to join the Head of State and Government for a virtual church service that will be attended by leaders of different denominations at State House in Harare from 10am to noon.
The church service will be broadcast live on ZBC-TV, Zimpapers Television Network (ZTN) and other online platforms.
Churches will be allowed to gather in groups of 50 in observance of social distancing rules, while the wearing of face masks remains mandatory in all public places.
Quoting from the Bible, the President last week urged all Zimbabweans to participate.
“The Lord enjoins us through His words to King Solomon in 2nd Chronicles Chapter 7:13-15, which reads ‘. . . if I send pestilence among my people, and my people who are called up by my name shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and my ears attend to the prayer that is made in this place’.
“Standing on this scripture, I therefore proclaim 15 June 2020 as the Presidential National Day of Prayer and Fasting. On this day, from 10am to 12 noon, I invite the whole nation to join me and church leaders from various denominations via live broadcast on ZBC and social media streams for a church service which I shall host at State House.”
President Mnangagwa urged people to fast and participate in groups, while upholding social distancing guidelines.
“I urge you all on this day, to join us giving up one, two or all meals in fasting. It will be best to arrange to participate in this service as families, small groups, or church services not exceeding fifty people, and observing the precautions we have been taking to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.”
The President said henceforth, church congregations, which had been banned under the national lockdown, will be allowed to worship, albeit in groups of not more than fifty people.
“I wish to acknowledge that our church leaders are essential personnel in preventing the spread of the coronavirus. Going forward gatherings for the purpose of worship not exceeding fifty congregants and observing all prescribed social distancing requirements are allowed throughout the nation.”
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said: “Zimbabwe is a predominantly Christian nation even though all religions find a home here. It is because of this fact that His Excellency, President Mnangagwa has seen it appropriate to bring everyone in one accord, praying and meditating on the challenges which face us as a nation because of Covid-19.
“A few people and clerics will gather at State House but otherwise everyone will gather in small groups at home, and between 10am and 12 noon join in a period of prayers of petition to the Lord.”
Zimbabwe Amalgamated Churches Council patron Mr Jimayi Muduvuri thanked the President for proclaiming the Presidential National Day of Prayer and Fasting, saying scientific solutions to fight Covid-19 need to be aided by prayer.
“The President has shown wisdom in calling for this day. It is exactly what the nation needs right now. Although we all appreciate the importance of scientific solutions to fight Covid-19, we cannot undermine the importance of the spiritual side of things.
“ZACC has over 5000 church denominations under its wing and we have alerted them of this important day. They will gather in all the 10 provinces. They are all keen to observe complete fasting on the day, which means there will be no meals at all. We encourage everyone, regardless of political affiliation to be part of the day,” said Mr Muduvuri.
Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe general-secretary Pastor Blessing Makwara urged all church denominations to heed the President’s call.
“We have received an invitation to attend the event at State House and we are going to send our representative. As evangelists, we believe in the power of prayer. 1 Timothy Chapter 2:1-4 speaks to the power of prayer and that prayer was made for all men.
“The National Day of Prayer has come at the right time because on 1 June started our 90 days of prayer for the nation through all our 891 churches.”
Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe president Bishop Johannes Ndanga said the day of prayer should be turned into an annual event.
“We subscribe to the doctrine of theocracy, and not democracy. Under theocracy, we believe that all leaders are chosen by God and we know that the President is not where he is by accident but by God’s design.
“We appreciate what the President has proclaimed because it is a message given to him by God and we are behind him solidly. As ACCZ, we are going to propose to him that this day be turned into an annual event. We want every 15 June of every year to be turned into a national day of prayer.”
United Family International Church spokesperson Pastor Prime Kufa said: “For us as a church we are always praying for our nation because we believe in the power of prayer. The only difference this time is we are going to be doing it as a nation, which means more voices calling upon the name of the Lord. “It is the Lord God who says in 2 Chronicles 7:14, ‘If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, seek my face and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and I will heal their land.’ If only Zimbabweans could make the Lord their source even in the good times as well, we will surely rise!”
Reverend Sam Malunga, founder of Tehillar Christian Network, said the entire religious community, such as Muslims, Bahais, Hindus and many other religious believers, were relieved that the ban on religious gatherings had been lifted and that the nation was coming together in prayer.
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Mr Ranson Madzamba said a gospel music concert will also be held on the day.
“Breaking the fast in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic is the theme we are moving with at the concert that shall be aired live on ZBC-TV and on the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Facebook page, as well as the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe Facebook page on Monday from 9 pm till midnight.
“The gospel artistes to perform are Minister Mahendere, Baba na Mai Charamba, Matthias Mhere, Mambo Dhuterere, Janet Manyowa, Family Voices, Dorcas Moyo, Kuda Mutsvene, Note2Note, Blessing Shumba and Pastor Emmanuel Marecha.”
In conducting the day of prayer and fasting, Zimbabwe joins scores of the world’s nations, including the United States of America, Brazil, South Africa, Botswana and Tanzania, in observing a specific day of prayer in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic that has disrupted everyday life.