President Mnangagwa yesterday lauded leaders of opposition parties under the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) for their zeal and commitment towards nation-building and unity.
He also said next year, the focus will be on boosting productivity across all sectors of the economy, creating decent jobs, empowering citizens and providing safety nets for the vulnerable.
The President said this while addressing thousands of congregants during the third edition of the annual National Thanksgiving and Dedication Service at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) Grounds here.
The President thanked the organisers of the church service, Faith for the Nation Campaign — an inter-denominational grouping of local churches, saying the event created an opportunity for the nation to come together for thanksgiving, renewed and lasting blessings.
It is a platform where believers meet the country’s leadership to intercede for the nation.
The President extensively quoted from the scriptures as he spread a message of love, hard work and nation-building.
“I find it most refreshing to be working with leaders who do not keep good ideas in their back pockets as political capital for later, but who come forward with those ideas for the sake of our beloved country and that is patriotism. The spirit of unity among us while still respecting and accommodating our rich diversity, views and opinions must be a part of all of us,” said the President.
“Let us continue to love one another as one people united by one flag, national anthem and by the love of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
President Mnangagwa met leaders of opposition parties at his farm outside Kwekwe in the final Polad meeting for the year to review progress as well as mark National Unity Day on December 22.
Polad, a platform for political parties that fielded presidential candidates in the 2018 harmonised elections to contribute to social, economic and political progress, was launched in May this year and 18 political parties were represented.
President Mnangagwa advised parties that continue to undermine Polad that there was power in unity.
MDC-Alliance has rejected dialogue under the auspices of Polad, preferring to talk exclusively to Zanu PF, claiming other parties were not necessary.
The President urged churches to complement Government efforts in promoting the country’s economic growth and development in pursuance of the national vision of transforming the economy into an upper middle-income status by 2030.
He said the country’s economic growth hinges on collaboration between the Government and churches, among other players.
“Indeed, we recognise the important role played by the church as you intercede for peace, harmony, unity and development in our nation as well as for the country’s leadership in general. Guided by the Word of God, you the church have a vital role as we pursue the objectives of the national vision and confront a world with its many challenges,” said President Mnangagwa.
“Meanwhile, the Bible says in James 2 v 14, ‘Faith without works is dead.’ We recognise the many developmental projects and philanthropic works done by the churches of Zimbabwe in general. These include schools and health facilities dotted around the country and we acknowledge your contribution to various sectors of the economy.”
He urged churches to increase productivity in all their projects in pursuit of Vision 2030.
“We encourage you to increase productivity in all your respective projects, collectively as churches and in your individual pursuits. Vision 2030 depends on investment by each and every one of us for its success. Let us all put shoulder to the wheel and work for Genesis 3 v 19 says, ‘In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return,” said President Mnangagwa.
He urged churches to continue playing a key role in protecting society’s moral fibre through preaching the gospel of love, peace, justice and forgiveness at household and national level.
“A strong spiritual leadership is integral as it influences the nation’s conscience and curbs wayward tendencies,” said President Mnangagwa.
Turning to devolution, he urged churches to promote local economic development through the utilisation of local resources.
“God gave us dominion over all things here on earth. During our lifetime, let us be good stewards of all that has been put under our care for the benefit of generations to come. Let us leverage our God-given resources to grow our economy. As we accelerate the implementation of devolution, I urge the church to promote local economic development from ward level upwards, through the full utilisation of resources found within our communities,” he said.
President Mnangagwa reiterated that the country would not revert to the multi-currency system and urged citizen to embrace the local currency.
“No country can develop without its own currency. As you are aware, we are now using our own currency and I urge all of us to accept it, use it and be proud of it and also defend it from all forms of attack. There is no going back to the multi-currency system,” he said.
The President said his Government remains committed to transforming the economy into an upper middle income in line with Vision 2030, despite illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the United States, UK and their allies.
“As Government, we are accelerating our quest to speedily attain Vision 2030, to become a middle-income economy. In 2020, we will focus on ensuring higher productivity across all sectors of the economy, creating decent jobs, empowering our people and satisfying their needs to improve their standard of living,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said the programmes to ensure the availability of affordable transport and healthcare were ongoing, with more Zupco buses expected to be delivered in the coming weeks.
The President said the Government has ordered more drugs and equipment for health institutions.
He said the Government will continue to ensure that vulnerable communities access food relief, including speeding up the rehabilitation, development and modernisation of infrastructure.
President Mnangagwa also appealed to churches to pray for more rains and a good harvest in light of the impact of climate change.
He commended churches and the generality of Zimbabweans for embracing the national clean-up campaign, which is conducted every first Friday of the month.
“As we strive to restore a spirit of cleanliness in our nation, I am pleased to see that the church is playing an active role in the national clean-up programme. Deuteronomy 23 prescribes that there must be a designated place outside the camp where refuse is disposed of. In the New Testament in 2 Corinthians 7, we are instructed to cleanse ourselves from the rubbish that might cling to us,” said President Mnangagwa.
“We also thank the Lord for the enthusiasm with which Zimbabweans from all walks of life and of all ages have embraced this programme. The ultimate aim is for all of us to adopt new attitudes and habits by making sure that filth, including corruption cease to be a feature of our lifestyle, surroundings and communities.”