Tourism and Hospitality Industry deputy minister Annastacia Ndhlovu has said the church has a big role to play in maintaining peace in the country by complementing government’s efforts.
“As the government ministry responsible for tourism in the country, we are calling upon all the churches to maintain peace in the country. I also call on the churches in the country to help government consolidate the economic gains which have been achieved through tourism,” she said.
“Before any big testimony, there is a big test and the church has to practice what they preach. This just gives people to show their capacity. We have seen how much religious tourism in Nigeria has helped the tourism sector to grow.”
According to official statistics of the 10% of people that enter Nigeria, 6% will be going to the Synagogue Church of all Nations led by Temitope Balogun Joshua, 3% will be attending Chris Oyakhilome’s church, while the remainder (1%) will go to other churches.
Ndhlovu said in the case of Nigeria, it showed how important religion was in the prevailing environment, but it only thrived through a peaceful environment.
“All the churches and every peace-loving Zimbabwean, we are calling upon them to complement government efforts to maintain peace, which is a fertile ground for development,” she said.
Her remarks come at a time the church was actively involved in mobilizing citizens to assert their rights.
A cleric, Evan Mawarire, was instrumental in mobilizing support for yesterday’s stayaway against the deteriorating economy.
Ndhlovu encouraged Zimbabweans to cultivate a holiday culture through promoting domestic tourism.
She said tourism players should come up with packages tailor-made for locals and also encouraged schools to promote tourism development.
“We have all seen how the religious sector benefits. For example, recently, we have witnessed the Women Conference by Seventh Day Adventist Church, a conference by Uebert Angel, conferences being held by Walter Magaya’s Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries and when such events take place, the economy benefits,” Ndhlovu said.
“We want to see how we can tap into the bulk of the religious tourism in Zimbabwe. Even domestic tourism is benefiting from this. People come to Harare every week, and all these are benefits which are coming from the religious sector.”