From the principal of a theological college
1.“SITUATION OF THE HARVEST AND CROPS
Regarding the crop harvests, the general situation in Zimbabwe and Masvingo in particular is not good, we have experienced a late rain season which started in January not covering all areas resulting in late planting. We also experienced a lengthy dry spell after the rains which caused many crops to wilt severely affecting the 2019-2020 season. Poor quality crops. This situation calls for assistance food procurement from the government, churches and other stakeholders.
2. “FOOD SECURITY
Zimbabwe has experienced two successive droughts economic hardships for the 20 years and the government has been trying to import maize from other countries to assist its citizens hence people do not have any maize in stock. Our government is trying to give rural people some food portions but due to the gravity of the problem, not all people can get the help. Most people who live in towns face critical food security for most of them are living from hand to mouth. People are queuing for mealie-meal and other basic commodities. These also affect our church members who are the basic supporters of the seminary.
3. “CORONA VIRUS ACTIONS
As alluded earlier in this document, the government of Zimbabwe is implementing the 21 days lockdown. It has also opened one Corona Virus Clinic as referral center in the capital city. The government is enforcing the 21 days lockdown, timely closure of shops, restricting movements, sanitisers to be available at all public spaces.
Although the government is making strides in this COVID-19, due to economic problems, testing centres are only in Harare, which is the capital city, all other cities take samples and refer them to Harare.
Due to the 21 days lockdown when church services have been prohibited, tithes are not coming to the church in a normal way and the church cannot afford online services which some few churches can afford. People are facing food shortages and try to travel to buy some food items but will be barred from getting to the supermarkets due to the lockdown restrictions. The poor people who have no communication gadgets, they lack information about the virus as well as its impact. Banks are now operating electronically which many rural people cannot afford. As Africans who are communal, we have been negatively affected by the prohibition of church services. The poor cannot afford the sanitisers and face masks, they starve indoors for they cannot move out of their houses in fear of contacting the virus.
4. “SPIRITUAL CHALLENGES
As a communal church, we have been negatively affected by the Corona Virus for we cannot share the Gospel as we used to do. Members are no longer sending their tithes to the church affecting the salaries of spiritual workers and seminary staff. In the lockdown, all church fundraising systems are affected for most people in rural set ups do not have gadgets to pay their tithes online. Sick people face challenges of travelling to the nearest hospitals and clinics due to the lockdown. The Seminary is not getting any meaningful support from its traditional funders for everything has stopped and this makes the issue of salaries and operational costs a nightmare.
5. “THREATS TO THE CHURCH
Due to economic hardships, Zimbabweans have been known to be all over the world, as a result of international lockdown, some are returning to their rural homes where there are no testing kits for the Corona Virus, exposing the local people to the virus. The closing of the churches and prohibition of church gatherings negatively impact the communal church. Corona Virus lockdown is promoting social isolation for the church members cannot visit one another and bury our dead together. Ministers and church elders cannot do house visits to congregants. Many people do not have the face masks and the hand sanitisers which exposes most of us to the virus. Most Zimbabweans depend on vending and now that we are in lockdown, people cannot continue their lives in the normal way. Since Zimbabwe relies on importing most food stuffs, that movement affects prices of commodities for the locals. Some of our diasporans who had gone to countries like South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia and Botswana to mention a few are returning illegally exposing the locals to the virus…
We keep on encourage our members to respect what the government has enacted like not to shake hands, hug, move without valid reasons. To listen for information on the Corona Virus from reliable healthy professionals. We are encouraging our people to pray in their homes, share bible verses on phones and radios those who can afford, maintain transparency and telling the truth and be honest with facts and figures about the virus. In addition, we encourage our members not to joke with virus, not to politicize the pandemic since it is an issue of life and death."