Why cry foul when churches speak out against injustices

Cyprian Muketiwa Ndawana

Good Day Mr President:Cyprian M Ndawana

His Excellency, the indignity you showed to Roman Catholic bishops when you challenged them to form a political party was lowbrow. It considerably fell short of the threshold of propriety that is ordinarily the norm for the First citizen. Methinks the utterance was an affront.

Consequently, solicitude prompted me to engage you. It was a departure from the diplomacy of stately discourse. It was devoid of decorum and self-respect. All in all, it was a subtle way of flaunting superiority. It was devoid of diplomacy.

However, you implicitly exposed the paucity of government leadership from whence the perpetual national crisis stems. Pointedly, the root of the national crisis is traceable to the antiquated patriarchal attitude of absolute supremacy the ruling party subscribes to.

It does not brook diversity. It is suicidal to dare it. Even intra-party dissent is punished with severity. Now and then, cadres are expelled from the party on accusations of undermining the authority of the President, who is viewed as the single centre of power.

A glance at the calibre of those who constitute the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) reveals your preferred fibre and texture of opposition. Plainly, they resemble the subservience of the 18th century woman who was treated at law as the property of her father or husband.

There is a firm belief that the opposition must be of mild and laidback disposition. It must cringe at the least encounter. Its temper must be ready to take impressions and be pliant rather than robust. Actually, eminence is injurious for the opposition as it angers the elite.

It is out of this expectation that an opposition that does not conform to this mould faces the full wrath of the ruling party and government. As I see it, in coming up with the concept of Polad, the strategy was to have a pool of hangers on who would masquerade as bona fide opposition.

Although government claims that religion and politics are not compatible, in practice, it chooses churches to embrace just as it does with the opposition. Essentially, the so-called indigenous churches’ representative body was constituted on the same basis as that of Polad.

Oftentimes, government and Zanu PF blend politics with the church as and when it suits them. They engage in their political campaigns in various churches, even donning religious robes. Yet, they cry foul when the spirit leads some churches to speak out against injustices.

There is no moral substance in believing that politics and the church are incompatible. It is, indeed, double standards to unleash the said indigenous churches on the Roman Catholic bishops because their perspective is not complementary to government.

The sixth sense tells me that God was a distant onlooker as the indigenous churches’ clerics launched a frenzied onslaught on Roman Catholic bishops. He was as incensed with them just as He was with Adam and Eve when He encountered them naked in the garden.

God was dismayed with the clerics for performing televised political rites at the instigation of government. What must have particularly infuriated Him was that these clerics were conspicuous by their silence on the fateful August 1, 2018 when six people were shot dead by State security agents.

Also, they were mute over the news that some indigenous church founders benefited from the central bank agricultural loans scandal. As if that was not sufficiently decadent, they were quiet over the arrest of the journalist who placed the scandal in the public domain. And, they are numb and blind to the ongoing crisis.

Be that as it may, it is not within my domain to be judgmental. In fact, brotherly love prompts me to be a brother’s keeper. Hence, I implore these clerics to introspect. It is my fervent prayer that they heed the exhortation by John the Baptist and repent.

His Excellency, the crisis emboldens me to engage you. It is now a headache to be alive. Hardships are prevalent. Life is a grind. Yet, you deny that Zimbabwe is in a crisis. Methinks it is insensitive for Zanu PF and government to stretch their necks in denial of the crisis.

It is a mammoth task for households to score the minimum goal of putting food on the table. Citizenry is roundly impoverished, reduced to a lifestyle of ferreting for basic sustenance. Families now miserly stretch whatever little they lay their hands on, be it money or foodstuffs.

Citizenry welfare is now dire. Eating healthy is a preserve of the privileged few. It is worrisome that the majority no longer eat for nourishment, but to fill the stomachs.
Improvisation is now the norm; laundry bars double up as bathing soap.

A look at the countenance of citizenry reveals with clarity what the word crisis means. However, government reminds me of the colonial Prime Minister Ian Smith in his denials of the crisis. He oftentimes claimed that blacks were happy in Rhodesia.

His Excellency, the official denials that the country is not in crisis compels me to look at you straight in the eye. As I see it, you risk being a caricature of an out of touch with reality ruler in an African movie in your denials of the crisis.

Methinks disparaging priests for raising the red flag is a familiar strategy. It was used by the deposed late former President Robert Mugabe. He viewed himself as God-sent. But denials that his leadership was stuck in a groove cost him an arm and a leg.

When the military ultimately crossed the Rubicon, both his bark and bite could not deter the onslaught against him. Even the spirit of his departed dear mother, Bona, whom he habitually swore by, was ineffectual. His fate was sealed amid denials of the national crisis.

However, his celebrated deposal did not usher a new breeze. Despite overwhelming support from civil society, opposition political parties and so forth, it conversely wrought gale force winds disguised in sweet sounding names such as new dispensation and second republic.

Yet, it was with breathtaking haste that the so-called new dispensation hit the ground running to beef up weapons for the police. Little wonder, State-sanctioned brutality is administered as before on opponents merely for holding perspectives that differ from those of government.

As I see it, Zimbabwe has been in crisis for the better part of her independence. Given that Gukurahundi massacres were unleashed in the immediate aftermath of lowering of the Union Jack flag, indeed, citizenry never experienced joys of digging their teeth into the fruit of freedom.

Since Gukurahundi, citizenry has been awestruck by the level of human rights abuse, disappearances of people, corruption and electoral chicanery among other vices. Basically, it is shocking that High Court judges named in the central bank loan scandals are still on the bench.

Apparently, the crisis in Zimbabwe compares well with that of a dysfunctional marriage in which the couple quarrels immediately after its honeymoon. If truth be told, the country has been crisis-riddled since inception, gridlocked through and through.

It is a standard operating procedure to denounce with gusto anyone who raises the issue of the crisis. Both party and government officials wear grim faces at the mention of the crisis.

Your south of the Limpopo revolutionary counterparts felt obligated to dispatch envoys because our crisis has crossed borders.

His Excellency, it is true that Zimbabwe has perennial adversaries. However, they are not external as you allege. As I see it, they are homegrown. Essentially, the culture of State-sanctioned brutality that is prevalent in the country inevitably exacerbates the crisis.