AT a time when the world is adapting to a new normal birthed by the deadly coronavirus contagion, a virus that has no known cure, President Mnangagwa will today lead the nation in prayer and fasting as the country seeks divine answers to a disease that has turned lives upside down and wrecked economies globally.
Like most world nations, Zimbabwe is still adapting to the new normal, that includes social distancing, wearing of masks and limited human movement, in the wake of the fast-spreading disease that has killed close to a million people globally.
Almost all cases in Zimbabwe have been caught in quarantine centres for returning residents. The latest figures released yesterday show an extra 27 confirmed infections, but all among returning residents from South Africa, taking the total to 383. Full recoveries are now numbered at 54.
Experts have said the statistics could have been grim for Zimbabwe had it not been for the swift response to the pandemic by President Mnangagwa, who put in place a motley of measures that helped curb infections.
While the pandemic has battered most of the world nations, including neighbouring South Africa where cases are on the rise, Zimbabwe has to date recorded four deaths.
And now leading the way in prayer, President Mnangagwa will today host a church service at the State House that will be broadcast live on ZTN, ZBC TV and also streamed live on radio stations and social media platforms.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo yesterday said all was now set for the National Day of Prayer.
“We are now ready as Government. The programme is now complete. We have invited all stakeholders, mostly religious leaders. In doing so, we have been mindful of the need to observe the required number of people during gatherings, that it should not exceed 50 as well as the need to observe social distancing consistent with the Covid-19 measures,” said Minister Moyo.
During the same time, millions of people across the country will join the President in prayer and fasting from 10am to 12pm as the country collectively turns to faith in response to an invisible enemy.
Faith leaders, drawn from different denominations said in seeking prayer the country is putting all its problems into the hands of the Almighty God who is able to offer answers to questions and a phenomenon that is baffling logic and science.
Roman Catholic Priest Father Fidelis Mukonori said the call for National Day of Prayer and Fasting by President Mnangagwa ought to be complied with by every Zimbabwean regardless of one’s political persuasion.
“It has nothing to do with politics, neither is it a political whip. It is rather a national cry for the people of Zimbabwe so that God can hear us. As church we have always been praying and we support every decision in furtherance of our sworn objective,” said Father Mukonori.
The Council of Apostolic Churches of Zimbabwe (CACZ), an umbrella body of Apostolic and Zion Christian Churches which is led by its president, Bishop Clement Karikoga Chisango, said in a statement that it was fully behind the call to prayer by President Mnangagwa in order to collectively appeal to the Lord during a time of crisis.
“The Monday June 15 occasion truly brings all Zimbabweans together as it accords them a very rare opportunity to appeal to their creator in order to overcome the coronavirus pandemic that has ravaged the entire world, seek God’s intervention in reigniting the economy, heal the nation and unite all peoples of Zimbabwe towards a common goal,” said CACZ deputy president Apostle Amos Seremani.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa also urged the nation to heed the President’s call for the nation to observe a day of national prayer and fasting and to join him as he meets with various church leaders.
She said churches should observe the lockdown regulations and maintain social distancing during the time of prayer.
“The country is still exposed to the coronavirus pandemic, as more people continue to return from outside the country,” she added.
Minister Mutsvangwa said that the country was experiencing difficult times as confirmed cases of Covid-19 continued to rise.
In his address at State House last week, President Mnangagwa said time had come for Zimbabweans to come together in supplication so as to seek the Almighty God’s “mercy, wisdom, help and healing to overcome this deadly pandemic”.
“I also 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 of church services not exceeding 50 people, and observing the precautions we have been taking to prevent the spread of the coronavirus,” said the President.
“Let us offer prayers of petition to the Lord that He may grant us His mercy, deliver us from this noisome pestilence and give us the wisdom to take the effective steps to overcome it,” said the President.
In prayer and fasting, the country joins most of the world’s nations, including the United States, Brazil, and fellow SADC member states — Botswana and Tanzania — in observing a specific day of prayer in the wake of the novel virus that has dislocated lives and turned societies upside down.
The President said the country would even in prayer and fasting “diligently continue to observe every precaution necessary to prevent the spread of the coronavirus”.
Presently, Zimbabwe is on level 2 lockdown that has seen most formal businesses opening, and also a relaxation in the number of people that can be carried on a bus.