Tourism and Hospitality minister Walter Mzembi yesterday described Prophetic Healing and Deliverance (PHD) leader Walter Magaya’s critics as attackers from “hell”.

Addressing thousands of PHD members who gathered for the official opening of a prayer mountain in Waterfalls, Mzembi said the charismatic preacher, whose church has grown to be among the biggest crowd pullers in recent years, was being persecuted for pushing a “heavenly vision” and was being attacked by people from hell.

“His mission cannot be stopped by flesh, and today I speak boldly, I am aware of persecutions. I said to Prophet Magaya, any vision worthy of the heavens, will receive an attack from hell,” Mzembi said

“Be strong. If you want to possess Canaan as Joshua was instructed to do, after 40 years of meandering in the very small geographical location, Joshua was given a task to cross to Canaan.

“There is only one instruction he was given and it was repeated many times, be strong and courageous. Prophet Walter Magaya, be strong and courageous.”

Magaya has been in the lime-light in the past few months after he was arrested for allegedly raping a Harare woman.

However, the woman later tried to withdrew the charges but the Harare magistrates court wants to proceed with the clergyman’s trial.

Magaya has since been granted permission to challenge the court’s decision at the Constitutional Court.

Mzembi was the guest of honour at yesterday’s event which was attended by Woman Affairs minister Nyasha Chikwinya, among other government officials.

He said Magaya should press on with his ministry regardless of the challenges and allegations he faced.

“We are all fallible, otherwise he would not have come from heaven himself to come and live in flesh. He is the only one who conquered sin, the only one,” Mzembi said.

“The rest of us all fault, but we must look at the crown at the end of our race and that is what we must possess at the end of the day.”

Mzembi said the concept of a prayer mountain resonated with the government’s vision to promote religion as Magaya’s church received an average of 1 800 foreign guests weekly.

He said through people like Magaya, Zimbabwe’s tourism sector would grow and be a pillar of the country’s economic turnaround,

“Tourism is the low-hanging fruit that is going to turn around this economy,” Mzembi said. “It is a God-ordained fruit that will see the fortunes of Zimbabwe change.”

The mountain offers a quite atmosphere for prayer surrounded by trees and rocks as well as flowing water.

Magaya said the place would be open to all Christians who wanted private time with God, as well as mixing with nature.