Rev Andrew Wutawuanshe
Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, a leader whose life from an early age has literally played out practically every experience of our people, both the positive and the painful, is being inaugurated as the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe.
Without doubt, events in the nation’s political arena in recent years, culminating in truly unpleasant episodes in 2017, had adopted an unthinkable lethal insanity which had the nation teetering on the cliff-edge of certain destruction.
Instead of the Godliness, peace, unity, just rule, freedom and economic opportunity which the people of Zimbabwe deserved, an explosion was clearly imminent following which this nation would have been driven into a conflagration starkly different from the present season of opportunity which was providentially midwifed by Operation Restore Legacy and subsequently by President Mnangagwa’s New Dispensation.
The nation, and literally the whole world, unanimously characterised the unprecedented Operation Restore Legacy, peacefully spearheaded by the military and the war veterans, as a miracle.
And a miracle indeed it was — it was nothing short of Divine Intervention — God’s answer to years of sighing and prayer by the people of Zimbabwe.
And in typical Divine fashion, out of a baptism of fire, God elevated a man, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, to be, with his vision of a New Dispensation leading to a decades — overdue democratic Second Republic, the Biblical Answer of Peace for Zimbabwe.
When General Chiwenga’s troops and tanks rolled into the city, and the soldiers were welcomed as redeemers, it was a clear manifestation of a working of God — the proverbial lamb and lion were lying side-by-side in peace.
However, in a setback which of necessity we must all firmly regret, yet not allow to reverse the momentum of the New Dispensation, needless politically motivated violence, destruction and mayhem resulted in the tragic shooting of six civilians as efforts to restore peace in Harare city centre were launched.
This was after a harmonised election which had been held in unprecedented peace and freedom, and which resulted in a Presidential poll result in which, due process being followed, the opposition’s contestation of President Mnangagwa’s victory was referred to the Constitutional Court, which has now returned a decision upholding Emmerson Mnangagwa’s victory and declaring him duly elected President of the Republic of Zimbabwe.
All this dramatic political theatre has understandably, as is frequently the result of the application of Western style democracy, left our people in different, conflicting and in some cases even polarised mind sets.
Yet it is in such times that we must revert to our safest castle or fortification: the understanding that, whether losers or winners of this contest, we are still one people with one destiny — Zimbabweans, united by the Divine ordination of nationhood, by blood bonds and by our beautiful flag.
Our destiny is in our hands together, and we must not connive to burn our own house and its moment of opportunity over this contest.
It is our duty which we owe to future generations to regroup, go forward and be wise stewards of the season of unquestionable opportunity which God has put into our hands, to rebuild our nation spiritually, socially, economically and, of course, politically.
It is indeed time to relegate political contestation to its place and to recognise that the dynamics that give our people livelihood are within our reach.
It’s time to use this God given New Dispensation to rebuild our nation. It is also time to embrace the providential leader God has elevated among us — President ED Mnangagwa.
There are inspiring words in the Bible spoken by a man called Amasai at a time when God was raising a man called David to be leader over the bitterly divided nation of Israel.
Appreciating the interest of the nation as well as the overwhelming task before David who had become the leader, Amasai said concerning David, “Thine (yours) we are, o David, and on your side, son of Jesse: peace be unto thee and peace to your helpers . . . for your God helps you.” (1 Chronicles 12:18)
One of Zimbabwe’s ancient seers once predicted that Mnangagwa would need help both in ascending to the leadership of the nation, and in leading it.
At the moment in which we stand as a nation, I am persuaded that no matter what side of the political fence we stand, no matter what the past holds, no matter what we have approved or disapproved of, these are the words every Zimbabwean patriot with the future of our people at heart, of vital necessity must now say to Emmerson Mnangagwa.
He is now our President, all of us. He carries in his heart a vital, God-given and restorative vision for our nation.
He has the sincerity, experience and capacity to actualise this national restoration, and in the short seven months in which he has led the nation, he has amply displayed the heart, diligence, hard work and competence to do so.
He has ushered the nation into a new era of unprecedented freedom, and achieved undeniable advances in the economy and international stature of the nation of Zimbabwe.
In the same spirit in which Amasai spoke of King David, it is imperative that all the people of Zimbabwe, no matter their political affiliation, and the community of nations, say: “In the interest of the welfare and progress of the people of Zimbabwe, it’s time to help Emmerson Mnangagwa. When you help Emmerson Mnangagwa, you help the people of Zimbabwe.”
It is time to say, both in words and deeds to President Mnangagwa, “We are yours, you are our President, son of Mnangagwa — we will help you, and may God help you.”
I have had the privilege of being allowed a front seat in the life of ED, and am privy to the burdens and motivations of his heart that drive him as a leader.
ED is not the normal political animal driven by a thirst for power. To the contrary, he is clearly a Moses, equipped by his tenure in Pharaoh’s palaces, who is convinced that, with this capacity, he has received God’s calling to unchain his people from what he perceives as the shortcomings of the First Republic (1980-2017).
He is a Christian leader who is determined, with God’s help, to lay foundations that will turn Zimbabwe into a competitive middle-income democracy by 2030.
Even the opposition parties should take heart from the fact that while for years they have demanded change, ED has embraced the need for change and is radically and positively changing the nation.
Witness, for example, the unprecedented way everyone freely and peacefully campaigned and voted during the 2018 harmonised elections.
I say unreservedly, “Let us help Emmerson Mnangagwa”.
God will help him as He has repeatedly demonstrated already. God has preserved his life, and will continue to do so. God has repeatedly elevated him when powerful constituencies and individuals, even people seemingly on his side, have manoeuvred to discard him.
His path has followed that of the proverbial stone which the builders rejected which then became the headstone of the corner.
Some voices have cited the tragic shooting of six people in Harare city centre during violent protests as evidence that there is no change in Zimbabwe.
Those shootings, while tragic and regrettable, are not a justification for dismissing Emmerson Mnangagwa’s New Dispensation, nor for justifying continued economic sanctions on Zimbabwe.
In the United States, for example, unarmed Black people, including children, are often killed by police. This does not render the US president illegitimate or subject to sanctions.
These tragedies, while wrong and regrettable, should be dealt with in their context, and not abused to cripple the dreams of a nation.
ED neither desired nor ordered the unfortunate shootings, and he has never condoned the acts. Instead, this leader, who has thus far kept his promises, has promised a commission of inquiry into the shootings.
It is imperative and morally right and just that the international community, in particular the US, help President Mnangagwa and the people of Zimbabwe by speedily withdrawing their crippling economic sanctions.
Equally, these nations need to respond with concrete affirmation to ED’s sincere efforts to re-engage them.
It appears that any rumour, however ridiculous, is enough to make them rush to judgement as long as it comes from the opposition, while there is a deafening silence concerning all the positive changes ED has authored in a few short months.
We say to President Trump, to Theresa May and others, just as you are fighting to make your own nations great, we in Zimbabwe have at last found a leader who can help us make our small nation great.
Do not hinder him. Rather, help ED!
It is equally important that genuine investors take a hard honest look for themselves, and not be deterred by misrepresentations of the President’s New Dispensation.
Zimbabwe is indeed open for business. To opposition leader Nelson Chamisa we say: your spirited campaign clearly resonated with a respectable number of Zimbabweans, even if the numbers ultimately favoured a fellow citizen.
That energy now needs to be marshalled behind the leader who has emerged from a well-contested process.
Be a responsible steward of the confidence of those who voted for you and assume the place and voice of a positive, patriotic, peaceful, democratic and nation-building political opposition.
Play your part in the task to unite our people and to avoid the division, polarisation and unproductive political obsession our nation suffered in the past.
God will reward you for being a voice for unity that rallies our people to own, honour and help their President who is Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Helping Zimbabwe to become a mature democracy where being in opposition does not mean nurturing an unrelenting animus, but rather always urging that the things we all want done be done better.
That is an ennobling mission you must pursue to honour and serve both those who voted for you and those you would want to vote for you the next time around.
To all who opposed ED, whether at home or abroad, it’s time to be Zimbabweans again and help our President.
The vitriolic, often obscene hate language from Zimbabweans which fills and defiles social media is a self-destructive sub-culture that is tragically eroding the dignity, decency, intelligence, respectfulness and oneness of our Ubuntu, our Afro-Christian consensus.
Let us unite and help our President and nation, beginning also to speak well of one another and to be respectful towards one another.
It is also time to say thank you to all, known and unknown, who have helped him ascend to deserved leadership of our nation.
Thank you to all who have prayed, worked for the election of and supported this Joseph to our nation.
Thank you to servants of God like Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi who have encouraged him.
Thank you to Vice-President Chiwenga who midwifed Operation Restore Legacy. Thank you VP Kembo Mohadi for standing firm with the vision, even in the face of deadly threats and attacks. Thank you to First Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa who continues to be his faithful chief helper.
Thank you to the brilliant legal team that helped the President in the Constitutional Court. Thank you to world leaders and investors who have started to help him realise his vision for Zimbabwe.
Thank you to those who rendered to him constructive patriotic advice and criticism.
And thank you President Emmerson Mnangagwa, thank you Murambwi, for heeding the call to be the servant leader whom Zimbabwe both loves and needs.
Above all, thank you to Almighty God who called him to leadership and has continually preserved his life and granted him progress.
The President’s inauguration, a national, not party event, is the right place to begin, and it is important that we be there. To our newly elected President, ED Mnangagwa, we say congratulations and God speed.
Thine we are (you are our President), o Emmerson thou son of Mnangagwa. Peace be unto you, and to your helpers . . . for your God helps you. God save President Emmerson Mnangagwa.