Ezekiel Guti Declared National Hero
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has conferred national hero’s status on Ezekiel Handinawangu Guti, the late founder and leader of the Zimbabwe Assemblies of God Africa (ZAOGA) Forward in Faith International Ministries.
Guti died in South Africa on 05 July, just a few weeks after he had celebrated his 100th birthday.
The late preacher probably becomes the first ever Zimbabwean cleric to be granted the highest honour of the land purely on the basis of his works as a religious figure.
In 2012, Guti established the Ezekiel Guti University in Bindura, reportedly at a cost of US$100 million. He and his wife, Eunor Guti, were the joint chancellors.
He also oversaw the construction of the Mbuya Dorcas Hospital in Harare, which opened its doors in 2012.
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ZimLive reported that Guti was married twice and had seven children with Eunor – daughters Sarah Rusere, La-Verne Simukai, Fiona Arthurs, Dorcas Jaricha, Gracious Chikore and Ethanim Nyajeka.
Their only son, Ezekiel Junior, who had physical disabilities, died in a drowning incident in 2017.
Guti was among the beneficiaries of the much-criticised farm mechanisation scheme, one of the quasi-fiscal activities of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
According to the Big Saturday Read (BSR) of 17 July 2020, all the beneficiaries of the scheme did not pay back the loans and the burden was put on the taxpayer. The BSR read in part:
The list of beneficiaries includes the following members of the clergy: Archbishop Ezekiel Guti who is listed as owing US$116,693.00; Nolbert Kunonga who was very popular with the Mugabe regime at the time of the Farm Mechanisation Scheme was awarded a loan of US$98,661.00.
There is also an Agatha Kunonga who is listed as having received US$58,318.00. Rutendo Wutawunashe is listed as owing US$18,200.00.
Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi was the biggest beneficiary among members of the clergy, with two loans of US$271,000.00 and US$315,600.00 for a grand total of US$586,600.00.
None of these men and women of the cloth repaid their loans. It is probably not surprising that they are among the foremost endorsers of the regime.
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