Easter Sunday, 20 April 2014, will be a day to remember as the turning point for Zimbabwe. The Southern African country generally regarded as the Jewel of Africa, has gone through turmoil which saw its economy plunge to the extent that it stopped calculating inflation when it could no longer count the zeros. It abandoned its currency which at independence was stronger than the United States dollar and entered into an unease marriage which brought back things to near normal. But the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front which won a more than two-thirds majority in July 2013-ending the four-year marriage- has failed to turn around the country’s economy. So far!
Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, however, said all this had changed. “Let us all mark 20 April 2014 as the day things turned around in Zimbabwe,” he said. “We might not see the changes now but let us keep that date in mind.”
Bhasikiti said this on Easter Sunday at a church gathering of the Zion Christian Church at Mbungo in Masvingo where the church had invited Vice-President Joice Mujuru as the guest of honour.
It was a significant day because Mujuru is a member of the Salvation Army. This was a Christian holiday where she should have been celebrating with her fellow congregants. But more importantly the leader of her church General Andre Cox and his wife were in Zimbabwe. But she abandoned it all to attend the ZCC conference.
Mujuru had three things that she wanted the church to address:
The first was humhondi, the rapid increase in the number of people killing each other over petty differences. She said President Robert Mugabe was now inundated with reports of murders and no province was spared.
The second was rape and immorality. Mujuru said people no longer had any conscience as some adults were raping children as young as two months. This was appalling in a country that professed to be 80 percent Christian.
Lastly, the greed that had gripped the country – corruption. The Vice-President said people no longer had any shame and they no longer cared about the suffering of the ordinary Zimbabweans.
Mujuru said the founder of the ZCC, Samuel Mutendi, had started the church to alleviate the suffering of the people. ZANU-PF was started for the same reason.
“Saka tiri kurasika papi. Zvinhu izvi zvinodyidzana. Zviri kutarisirwa nechurch iyi ndizvo zviri kutarisirwa nehurumende,” she said.
In response, the leader of the ZCC, Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi quoted from Mark 16 which is about the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which the church was marking that very Sunday.
It says: “And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised.”
Bishop Mutendi said despite her very tight schedule that included an important visit by General Andre Cox, independence celebrations, both preceded by her own birthday, Mai Mujuru accepted the church’s invitation to fellowship with them.
“This morning she is among the female disciples of Jesus Christ, Mary Magadelene, Maria, Salome and indeed the present day disciples of Jesus Christ – Ruwadzano rwedu rweZCC in finding “uchavakungurusira ibwe pamukova webwiro” . As Vice President, Mai Mujuru did not bring her powerful State machinery to roll away the tombstone that stops us from seeing our Lord Jesus Christ. Like all of us, she has brought her faith to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
“My question to you all is: Who will roll away that stone for you? What giant stone stands in your way? What stops you from becoming what you want to become? You have dreams, hopes, goals. But something stops you. Not enough money, not enough time, not enough power? Kushaya mbereko , kuvakiswa . But also I want to guess that some large spiritual stone stands in your way. How many of us are still facing the stone of makuhwa, anger, hatred, selfishness, pride, arrogance, kunyofura, kusabata chegumi, bigotry, fear? And fear is the big one – it is the tool of the devil, it is the natural worship of the devil! It’s a huge heavy stone blocking your way to Jesus Christ. And yet we should not be afraid because Jesus Christ our saviour has risen today. He is our protection.”
He said Easter reminded people of Jesus Christ, he one person who could roll away that giant stone that blocked them from spiritual, social and economic freedom.
“The women took it on faith that they could gain access to the tomb, even if they didn’t know how. That’s really all it took, just little faith, just a few steps venturing out into the goodness of God. Those stones we feel incapable of moving – all those can be overcome when we trust in God. When we seek to follow God and serve Christ then it is that we find God has already rolled away the stones from our tombs,” Bishop Mutendi said.
“So to you all gathered here today, I say the time is nigh to cast your fears away, and your stone will be rolled away. And to you honourable Vice President, the ZCC honours and thanks you for your fellowship today. It is an honour to celebrate the resurrection with you as a fellow Christian. It is an honour to celebrate our national independence with you as Vice President of Zimbabwe. The Church stands as a comrade to the government in the fight against poverty. We see convergence in the government’s Zim Asset grand plan for economic and social empowerment and the Church’s own empowerment and social upliftment. We stand ready as your partners to implement this plan. We shall be truthful custodians of any resources that the State may allocate us as implementing partners of Zim Asset.”
Bhasikiti said the Bishop’s words marked a turning point for Zimbabwe. The country’s problems had been resolved because all the obstacles to economic prosperity had now been removed. “Kune vanonyora nyorai date iri 20 April 2014. It marks a great start for Zimbabwe.”
As a resident of Masvingo, Bhasikiti knows the power of the ZCC which celebrated its centenary last year with one of the themes being “100 years of true prophecy”. Church elders have vowed that Zimbabwe will never go to the dogs. God will not allow that because “munyika muno makazvarwa munhu mukuru, Samuel Mutendi”.