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Unpacking Mnangagwa’s June 15 decree: Presidential-National Day of Prayer


I am no specialist in linguistics that i should dare analyze sentence structure and word choice but the above declaration  by the president of Zimbabwe caught my eyes and   compels me to make a layman’s analysis of what that statement  means.

Semantics is the branch of liguistics and logic that is concerned with   meaning and has two distinct branches namely logical sematics concerned with matters such as sense and reference and presumption and implication  while the second which i shall use in this context is lexical semantics that is  concerned with the analysis of word meanings and relations between them. 

It is the lexical aspect of semantics that drives one to want to know what exactly the above statement entails.

Let us examine the word presidential. The word presidential means *of or relating to* the president clearly implying that June 15 is a day not only set aside by him but for him. 

It is not a selfless proclamation of a man full of contrition who sees the need to turn to God for a nation to be healed and  redeemed,  but a self-fulfilling, self-serving act hence the inclusion of the word  ‘presidential’ in an even supposed to be a national day of prayer and nothing else. 

The meaning of the statement alters tremendously when expressed as National Day of Prayer; it becomes of or relating to the nation: assuming  a direct bearing to the nation as a whole and not to one particular individual who is the president.

The reason why there seems to be an open criticism to this proclamation with many quoting scriptures against this call is not because people are unchristian, no. 

It is the obscure motive around the setting aside of a day where people must fast and pray for the president’s day, it is his day if the correct lexical connotation of this decree is defined.

A day for the supplication of a nation is  termed a *National Day of Prayer*  and once prefixed presidential it automatically alters the meaning, privatizing  and personalising what possibly was suposed to be an all encompassing occasion for our nation.

Pride comes before a fall. (Proverbs 16 : 18)

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