BULAWAYO-- President Emmerson Mnangagwa says Zimbabwe is poised for greater fortunes, but appeals for patience as his new administration embarks on a journey to rebuild the ailing economy.

The Zimbabwean economy has been battered by years of economic sanctions imposed by some Western countries as well as maladministration by the previous government led by former President Robert Mugabe.

In the previous era, vices such as corruption were allowed to fester while millions of dollars were looted by corrupt public officials with impunity while service delivery suffered. The advent of a new political dispensation has brought renewed hope to

millions of Zimbabweans that the country was now returning to its former glory.

Addressing thousands of congregants from different denominations at a thanksgiving service in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city, on Sunday, President Mnangagwa said the Church had a massive role to play in strengthening the people for the journey ahead.

2018 should be a year of progress for Zimbabwe. We are building a new democratic and prosperous Zimbabwe, it will take time and we must be patient but I am confident that in the new Zimbabwe the hopes and dreams of its citizens can be realized, he said.

President Mnangagwa has previously stated that economic transformation was on top of his government's agenda, leveraging on agriculture and the vast natural resource base, chiefly minerals.

He said unity of purpose was required to re-build Zimbabwe. Let us resolve to remember that we are a family and that what unites us as Zimbabweans is greater than anything that could divide us. We are one people united by our flag, we are one people united by our national anthem and indeed by the blood and love of Jesus Christ.

Turning to the impending elections due to be held later this year, President Mnangagwa urged Zimbabweans to be tolerant towards one another's different political views.

He said there was no need for violence. Yes, there maybe disagreements between us, this is natural and healthy in any democracy but we should never allow our political discourse to turn poisonous. Let us as political parties campaign in peace and seek to convince the electorate that the ideology our party stands for, the vision we stand for is best for our country," he said.

We as voters must reward those who seek dialogue, who treat opponents with respect and reject those who put divisions and intolerance and politics which seeks to perpetuate the suffering of our people. Under the new order, the new dispensation, we want all of us in our walks of life to preach peace and unity.