Pastor Emmanuel Makandiwa (photo:M. Chibaya).

Pastor Emmanuel Makandiwa (photo:M. Chibaya).

United Family International Church (UFIC) founder prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa has warned politicians not to interfere in church activities, saying the only reason Zimbabwe has survived economic turmoil was because of the existence of churches.

Makandiwa told congregants at his crossover all night prayer on New Year’s Eve in Chitungwiza that most churches were not violating the country’s rules thus deserved respect from the government.

“What will bring us down as a nation is the day you start fighting the body of Christ, there shall be serious hunger in the nation.

“As a government, if you see a small group of people worshipping and you don’t understand them, best you just leave them… When I talk about the church, I do not refer to UFIC alone, I mean all churches in the country,” Makandiwa said.

Makandiwa was quick to point out that the economy had been aided by the prayers most churches hold every week.

“What has been keeping Zimbabwe alive to date is not the politician but the church, if it was not so, humans will be boiling their own babies for food, the church has been the only reason for our survival,” he said.

The preacher also warned that a “hunger of untold proportions” was going to befall the country if politicians continued disrespecting the church.

“Muri kuti mafa nenzara. Haisati yatanga (the hunger situation will worsen,” the popular preacher said.

The country’s industry is in a deplorable state, with many companies shutting down and many more projected to as the country’s economy deteriorates further.

Official statistics indicate that at least 4 500 companies have closed shop since 2011, sending more than 55 443 employees onto the streets.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa was forced to lower the country’s 2014 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth projections from an initial 6,1 percent to 3,1 percent — which latter figure economic analysts said was still too optimistic.

Makandiwa said the church held the key to redeeming Zimbabwe from the tight liquidity conditions and high unemployment rates the country is grappling with.

Chinamasa has also predicted a 3,2 percent GDP growth for 2015, indicating that the limping economy will at best be largely stagnant in the new year.

In his 2015 budget statement, Chinamasa also warned that recurrent expenditure will go up to 92 percent in 2015, the bulk of it going to pay wages of the government’s 235 000 strong workforce.

Makandiwa, who recently scoffed at statements aligning him to any political party in Zimbabwe after his “bloodshed” prophecy, said government-church relations had to be stable for better economic conditions.

Makandiwa also took a swipe at politicians who seek medical attention out of the country, saying it took away the confidence of most Zimbabweans in the country’s health system.

“We have some who leave the country to seek medical attention, we have hospitals in this country, and there are many healing systems here. This defeats the whole purpose in everything,” he said.

The firebrand preacher also said he was not a prosperity bringer to his congregants, but instead sought to bring blessing.

“I am not a prophesy teacher, that is an understatement, I am a blessing teacher and you can only receive prosperity once you have understood the doctrine of blessings.

“Until you begin to think like a king, you remain in the church and not in the kingdom,” he said.

Makandiwa who hurled over the coals, all politicians who harassed churches, also said the only hope for unity in a country consumed by power struggles also lay in the church.

Late last year, Zimbabwe saw a shocker purge within the ruling party, Zanu PF, which saw President Robert Mugabe firing former vice president Joice Mujuru from government together with 15 other ministers whom he publicly accused of plotting to murder him.

Church and government have in the past locked horns with some government officials calling for the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority to tax all churches.

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