HARARE – One of President Robert Mugabe’s Cabinet ministers recently pleaded with Pope Francis to pray for Zimbabwe as the economic turmoil takes its toll yet again on long-suffering Zimbabweans.
Health minister David Parirenyatwa, who last month attended a meeting on ending paediatric Aids, in the holy city of Vatican said he pleaded with the Pope to include Zimbabwe in his prayers.
“It was brief, just shaking hands and saying what I said. I said to the Pope please can you pray for my country and my president and the people of Zimbabwe, and he smiled very broadly and said I will do this and I passed on,” Parirenyatwa told journalists last week.
“I liked that it was very warm; he is a very warm person, extremely warm person. I wished I was a Catholic.”
According to religious authorities the Papacy, which is the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church headed by Pope Francis, has been a powerful player in European and world politics for almost 2000 years.
By reason of his office as Vicar of Christ and as pastor of the entire Christian Church, the Pope has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered.
Parirenyatwa’s plea to the Pope is by no means a new phenomenon as Zimbabweans are now in the habit of holding mass prayers to solicit divine intervention apparently, after losing faith in the politicians.
Zimbabwe is presently experiencing an acute cash crisis and there are fears that the country could plunge into the pre-inclusive government era when hyperinflation was the order of the day.
The Aids meeting that was attended by Parirenyatwa, resolved to fast track the end of paediatric Aids to the year 2020 from the previous target by year 2030.
Among the options to scale up effective treatment for children living with HIV, the meeting, according to Parirenyatwa, also advocated for countries to increase funding towards health services.
As it is, the country’s health sector is heavily dependent on donor funding, as Treasury is failing to support and meet Zimbabwe’s health needs.
Meanwhile, the ambitious FastTrack Strategy to scale up effective treatment for children living with HIV will be launched at the High Level Meeting in New York this month.