BULAWAYO – President Emmerson Mnangagwa is in Bulawayo today — the first time since succeeding Robert Mugabe — to grace an event organised by faith-based organisations to “thank God” for a peaceful power transition.
Mnangagwa last month took over from 93-year-old Mugabe, who was forced to resign following a military intervention code-named “Operation Restore Legacy” — shepherded by retired general Constantino Chiwenga.
The thanks-giving ceremony, to be held at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, has been organised by the Faith for the Nation Campaign (FNC) — a grouping of different church denominations, founded in 2000.
“Join the nation’s political and spiritual leaders form various denominations in giving thanks to God for a peaceful transition into a new era. God has given our nation the answer to peace. Zimbabwe is God’s own country,” said fliers distributed by the organisation.
FNC national coordinator Shuvai Wutawunashe told the Daily News on Sunday they had indeed invited Mnangagwa to be the guest of honour at the ceremony, likely to attract scores of people to the second capital.
Wutawunashe said the Church had been praying for new a Zimbabwe for years.
“The theme for the special service is ‘God has given Zimbabwe the answer of peace’. This comes as the Church acknowledges that the miraculous peaceful transition into a new era in Zimbabwe was with God’s help, and that it has come as God’s answer of peace to fervent prayers for the nation over the years,” Wutawunashe said.
However, Wutawunashe could not be drawn into revealing much about the purpose of Mnangagwa’s attendance.
The fliers distributed by the church also said: “The upcoming special thanksgiving and dedication service is being held in the context of the 2017-18 Pan African and World Christian Churches Convention — a gathering of Churches from Africa and the world hosted by the Family of God Church, coming to fellowship and hear God’s Word that guides the Church in 2018.”
The visit by Mnangagwa comes at a time opposition parties led by Zapu president Dumiso Dabengwa and civic society here have upped the ante against the new political dispensation, demanding a change of tactic from Mugabe’s government, with regards to addressing the emotive Gukurahundi issue.
Under Mugabe’s rule, discussing or having gatherings to with Gukurahundi was literally taboo.
However, since Mnangagwa took over, controversial pressure group Ibhetshu Likazulu for the first time managed to hold a commemorative event on Unity Day without hindrance as compared to the past where police would swoop on them.
To prove that Mnangagwa still has a toll order in dealing with the post-independence atrocities, in South Africa recently, a group of protesters picketed outside the Zimbabwe’s embassy in Pretoria, where he was addressing Zimbabweans based in that country.
As this is that was not enough, last week Dabengwa set August 2018 for the reburials of Gukurahundi victims.