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Join me in prayer, first lady asks Zimbabwean women as Covid sets in

22 January 2021 - 07:00 By Sharon Mazingaizo
Zimbabwe's first lady Auxillia Mnangagwa.
Zimbabwe's first lady Auxillia Mnangagwa.
Image: Getty Images

Zimbabwe's first lady Auxillia Mnangagwa has invited women in her country to join her for three days of prayer and fasting over the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mnangagwa — who refers to herself as “the mother of the nation” — said she would fast and pray from Thursday until Saturday for Zimbabwe to be spared from further “calamity and suffering”.

In a statement, she said women played an important role in society, and appealed to all women to pray and fast for the country.

“Our country has witnessed a lot of Covid-19 deaths in the past two weeks. Death is within our communities, at our doorstep. There is no family that has not suffered the loss of their beloved ones because of the pandemic. Every day we hear of people who are succumbing.

“I thus humbly appeal to all women to commit to a three-day period ... in which we fast and pray, calling for divine intervention to save the nation and our people. As women, we play a very important role in our society. We hold the family unit together and get it to work for our daily life,” she said in statement.

Citizens took to social media regarding the call, saying it was hypocrisy and diverted from the country’s collapsing health-care sector, beset as it is by shortages of personal protective equipment.

@flamelily360 posted: “Invest in social care and public amenities no amount of prayers will get us out of this hole. Stop wasting time on prayers, when you forced us to march, fast and pray for sanctions to be lifted what happened? You defend corruption nyika ichinyura (while the country is sinking).”

@Tirus56131185 tweeted: “The nation doesn’t need prayers. It badly needs money. Mari dzavari kuba (the money you are stealing) so that we purchase vaccines, PPE, medical equipment, medication & proper remuneration for all medical personnel.”

The call comes at a time when many women activists in Zimbabwe have been jailed for speaking out against corruption against the backdrop of an ailing economy. Among them is MDC Alliance spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere who was recently released from Chikurubi Maximum Prison on bail and tested positive for Covid-19.

Zimbabwe has recorded 29,408 Covid-19 cases and 879 deaths to date.