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The season of goodwill


Why do we need a season of goodwill? Is man so evil by nature that he requires a recess season to atone for his evil or recharge his batteries for more evil in the new year?

Will diplomats worldwide be exchanging pleasantries this festive season or has WikiLeaks put an end to messages of best wishes for the new year?


The philosophers ask the question: Is goodness good because God chose it or does God choose it because it is good?

Human actions are based on self preservation, survival or self-satisfaction rather than on principle.

It is all about ego.

When Zimbabwe was going through its economic and political crisis, we expected the world to put us on top of their agenda regardless of Darfur, the eastern DRC and Aung San Suu Kyi (who?).

Yes her for instance. Now that the supermarket shelves are full, are we extending the same goodwill to those who are still going through the same type of turmoil we went through?

Today when a journalist is arrested, is it only Trevor Ncube’s problem?

If the same journalist were arrested in the middle of an election it would have been a human rights issue with every farmer, civil rights activist and party spokesman calling Hard Talk within the first hour.

What is your goodwill based on?

We now know that pleasantries exchanged at national day cocktails on the lush lawns of Harare North do not mean much whether to ruling or opposition parties! Since the festive season is based around religion, let’s use that analogy.

Imagine diplomat Angel Gabriel sending a diplomatic cable to diplomat Angel Michael on staff morale within the angel corps and the alarming behaviour of one particular angel. How would it read?

Would WikiLeaks have prevented the fall?

What about the diplomatic cables running between various cardinals in the Catholic Church following the recent pronouncements on condom use?

Will WikiLeaks make it into the confessionary?

What about at weddings? Some bishop in England gave William and Kate seven years, followed by an apology.

“Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks!”

But even that is more generous than the odds I have heard offered at Harare weddings from very supportive and energetic ladies who take to the dance floor with energy that suggests they are truly happy for the neighbour’s kids who are tying the knot!

Then there are the diplomatic cables at Harare and Bulawayo airports since 2000 when youngsters were leaving the country and relatives flocked to the airport to see if the child was really going overseas!

The diplomatic cables there revolved around topics like frail care (known by a less flattering name in relatives’ diplomatic cables), prostitution and the size of remittances via Homelink!

Want more? Go to the school parking lot and listen to the mums and their diplomatic cables about the performances of other mum’s children in the classroom, on the sports field and last year’s prize-giving day.

Better still, listen to the dads engage each other on the performance of the other dads on golf days, profitability in a real economy with real money, tax returns and how does he afford that car if he is not doing diamonds?

How long does your goodwill last?

Remember the Dream Team under Reinhard Fabisch? Remember when Wilfred Mugeyi missed a sitter somewhere in North Africa and his father’s house was stoned?

What about Asamoah Gyan propelling Ghana merrily along during the World Cup soccer tournament only to hit the bar when it mattered most?

You should have seen the look on your face! For me it was when Liverpool’s John Arne Risse scoring a beautiful diving header for Chelsea in an own goal in a Champions’ League match.

Suddenly, all the goals he had scored as an overlapping left-back counted for nothing and the poor chap was (rightly?) sold off the following season! Raul and Real Madrid, Tekere and Zanu PF, MDC and MDC!

Does a very hoarse cockerel, on overtime without benefits, have to crow three times before we realise that we are fickle human beings whose only consistency is our ability to let each other down?

I am having an Ecclesiastical moment here! As my brother likes to remind us all when his Arsenal flatters to deceive their fans:

“There is nothing new under the sun!” (except perhaps 6-7 minutes added time at Old Trafford in every match when Manchester United needs a goal to win).

“Light a candle instead of cursing the darkness.”

Diplomatic cables have been flying around since the days of homing pigeons and the messages have not always been pretty, flattering or meant for eyes other than the intended recipients.

That is why you must never read your child’s or anyone’s diary.

Human beings are just that, human. I am tired, it’s been a long year. So what is there left to do?

Eat, drink and be merry for next year we have the aftermath of a recession to deal with!

Albert Gumbo is a change agent and he is on leave for the next month.

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