HomeOpinion & AnalysisDo not shoot the messenger

Do not shoot the messenger

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editorial comment

WITH just two years in office, President Emmerson Mnangagwa appears to have already forgotten his sworn mantra “the voice of the people is the voice of God” as he has gone on an unrestrained attack on the very people who epitomise the Creator and God’s representatives on earth — clerics.

The attack on Catholic priests is a sad reminder of how Zanu PF does not take kindly to wise counsel and quickly reverts to the default mode each time it is called to order.

For the Catholic priests, the latest attack might not have come as a surprise as they have enjoyed this love-hate relationship with the Zanu PF leadership since independence, although during the war, they provided the much-needed refuge to the same politicians.

Soon after independence, Catholic priests endured relentless attacks from the Zanu PF government after, in their quest to fight on the side of the downtrodden, they exposed government’s hand in the Matabeleland and Midlands Gukurahundi massacres between 1983 and 1987.

We believe the recent vitriol attacks on Catholic priests for pointing out government’s shortcomings were unjustified and should not go unchallenged. The church, as the true voice of God, should be respected as it is the moral compass of the nation.

The moment a government refuses to accept its shortcoming and attacks the church or any messenger for that matter, it ceases to be a people’s government. The on-going crackdown on dissenting voices, the bishops said, was not an indication of the Zimbabwe people want.

We believe the priests were within their rights to demand that government addresses the multi-layered crises of economic collapse, deepening poverty, food insecurity, corruption and human rights abuses, among others that need urgent resolve.

As men of cloth, the priests were up to the point in highlighting that “suppression of people’s anger can only serve to deepen the crisis and take the nation into deeper crisis”.

They added: “In the meantime, some of our people continue to live in hideouts, with some incarcerated, while others are on the run. Fear runs down the spine of many of our people today. The crackdown on dissent is unprecedented. Is this the Zimbabwe we want? To have a different opinion does not mean to be an enemy.”

So, for Mnangagwa and his cohorts to blame the current restlessness on so-called “foreign and local forces pushing a regime change agenda” is akin to spiting one’s nose.

There is no denial that Zimbabwe is in the grip of its worst political and economic crises in a decade because of Zanu PF misgovernance.

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