Churches plead with Mnangagwa to open
By STAFF WRITER
CHURCH and civil society leaders have implored President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government to urgently review its position and ease the current national coronavirus lockdown restrictions to allow congregants to physically attend church services.
In its call to government, the Civil Society and Churches Joint Forum (CCSJF) said churches were committed to observe social distancing and other preventative measures aimed at reducing the spread of the pandemic.
Some of the measures the churches proposed to conform with the social distancing requirements were the holding of multiple services for churches with over 100 people.
“We call upon government to open places of worship and the leadership of Churches to adhere to social distancing and hand washing practices as well as temperature checking.
“Zimbabwe as a Christian country should also consider the opening of churches, for as long as the church leaders can pledge to make sure the congregants remain committed to upholding the Covid-19 preventative measures,’’ said CCSJF coordinator, Abigale Mupambi.
CCSJF said that there was need to acknowledge the supreme power behind all creation by allowing people to gather and pray.
“Closing the church is closing God out of our situation, our final solution to this pandemic is going to come from God and God alone.
“The church is an essential services provider, people need God, this pandemic needs prayer and God is only answer.
According to the Bible if God’s people who are called by His name shall humble themselves, repent from their evil ways and pray, God will hear from heaven and heal their land, CCSJF said.
According to CSCJF Zimbabweans cannot continue to fear the virus more than God because they needed spiritual and emotional upliftment during these difficult times
CSCJF Manicaland coordinator Reverend Walter Nyakunu from the Anglican Church also weighed in.
“I appeal to the president of the country to hear our plea for churches to open and once this is done, we must ensure that we should maintain the social distancing call.
“We can see that even shops have opened and are taking heed of the social distances requirements. It must be noted that this is not a daily event we usually assemble once a week and those with more than 100 people can hold two or more services a day.
“This is the place where we pray and intercede for the nation, it’s about God’s grace.
Pastor Solomon Nyamhunga of Active Word Chape based in Bulawayo, said people were now diverting from believing and trusting in the Lord to the point of doing things on their own.
“There is scripture I would like to share in the book of proverbs chapter 3 verse 5 were it says trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
“We have diverted our focus and leaned upon our understanding and that’s were we find us pointing fingers at each other.
He added that the book of Isaiah the Bible says those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength
Since he declared the COVID-19 crisis a national disaster on Friday, March 27, Mnangagwa has twice extended the nationwide lockdown to control the spread of coronavirus, though the restrictions will be reviewed every two weeks.
In the last review, he eased lockdown restrictions to level two and many Zimbabweans were lobbying for further action from the president.
He said the measured would remain in place for an indefinite period and that the country needed to ease out of the lockdown in a strategic and gradual manner.
Zimbabwe has recorded 56 confirmed cases of the coronavirus from both local and imported transmission with 27 active cases and 25 recovered.
The situation has been made worse due to returnees from heavily-hit countries.
Recently, US president Donald Trump told his governors to open worship houses.