Sione Amidu, Sunday News Reporter
Religious leaders from different dominations, affiliations and belief systems in Matabeleland South province have joined hands with government to launch the Interreligious Association for Peace and Development.
In a speech read on his behalf at the launch in Gwanda yesterday by Acting Director for local governance Mr Peter Mahlathini, the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution in Matabeleland South Cde Abednico Ncube said religion played a central role in bringing peace and development.
” The government of Zimbabwe feels greatly honoured and very proud to have church leaders who believe in working with government in implementing various developmental programmes whose target is to improve the lives of our citizens. In Matabeleland South we have been able to implement a unique development agenda, one that aligns directly with the needs of society and capacity of the government. We shall reach greater heights by listening and responding to the needs of people, a strategy that will benefit you all, as we fight for a new community, a new Matabeleland South, a new mind-set and a new life under the government and the leadership of His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Cde Dr E.D Mnangagwa. I hope that all religious leaders here today will look back fondly on your days of sacrifice and that you carry with you for your whole lives the dedication, care and love for Zimbabwe, and that you will continue to contribute and play your part as we make our way to the achievement of Vision 2030 goals and after, ” he said.
The president of the association, Bishop Albert Chikuni, said they were responding to the national objectives which encourage peace and development and religious leaders from different denominations have united to work with government to make Zimbabwe a united nation.
“We as Interreligious Association for Peace and Development, Zimbabwe, we are responding to constitutional provisions. If we look at our constitution the founding provisions and the national objectives, they epitomise peace as a precursor to development. As religious leaders we decided to come together from different provinces, different districts, different denominations, different affiliations so that when we unite for a purpose, we will be able to compliment the efforts of the government. There is no development that takes place in a divided nation; thus, we are united so that we can be in a position to realise what we are standing for as a nation. This is an association for every peace loving Zimbabwean and we do not segregate anyone on the bases of religious or political affiliation, we embrace everyone,” said Bishop Chikuni.