I miss my late father — since he was an inexhaustible source of profound knowledge and wisdom.
I learnt so much about life from him — something that I immensely enjoyed and valued — although, initially I was not as appreciative as I ought to have been.
No wonder he chose the teaching profession — or, the teaching profession chose him — because he was clearly in his element when passing on his wealth of knowledge on issues of life.
One of those lessons he taught me — and, has stuck with me since — was, when I was a young man, and had an intolerable habit of always blaming others for whatever went wrong in my life, without taking responsibility for my own errors.
I considered nearly everyone who rebuked and chastised me an enemy who hated me, possibly even jealous of me, was out to get me, and did not want to see me succeed.
Of course, how I reconciled the concept of “succeeding in life”, working hand-in-hand with my irresponsible behaviour, is beyond me.
Nonetheless, when my perennial complaining over other people wronging me become unbearable for my father he poignantly and bluntly said these piercing words: “Someone who always perceives others as wronging him is most likely the one who is the problem”.
Those sharp words hit home — striking right at the core of my heart — marking a turning point in my life. I had to introspect over my own erring and shortcomings, and how this resulted in those in my life criticising me.
- Mr President, you missed the opportunity to be the veritable voice of conscience
- ED to commission new-look border post
- Zanu PF ready for congress
- EU slams Zim over delayed reforms
This opened my mind to so many unpalatable truths about myself, which I had never dared to face and admit — leading to a major transformation in my thought-processes and behaviour.
Whenever I listen to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, and how he never appears to miss the opportunity, to lambast those he perceives as “detractors” who are always sabotaging him — my father’s words always revisit me.
Why is it that Mnangagwa somehow believes that there are people out there, who have absolutely nothing better to do with their lives than throw spanners in his plans for the country, and who spend sleepless nights plotting his downfall?
Why does he feel that all those who are critical of him and his regime are unjustified — as, he is not doing anything wrong worthy of this relentless condemnation?
Has he ever wondered why social media is abuzz with attacks on his administration. Nearly every viral post is an expression of utter disgust and disdain at the brutal repression and persecution of those who speak truth to power, and stand up for citizens’ rights. Job Sikhala is languishing in prison, repeatedly denied his constitutional right to bail, with trial hardly getting off the ground, or dragging on for years because he speaks truth to power.
Is he honestly not aware as to why ordinary people are angry at him and his government, when reports are awash of the political elite accused of rampant corruption, even fingered by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc), in the looting of millions of dollars. They are readily granted bail by our courts, with only an insignificant number spending time behind bars?
Does he ever take time to question why each and every person in a supermarket or bank queue or waiting for public transport, will be shaking their head.
Why, then, does he seem to be unable to see who really is the problem in this country?
Or, is he merely unwilling to admit the bitter truth — or is it just too much for him to swallow?
The next time he feels the temptation to lambast those who speak up against him as he did on Saturday September 17, 2022 at the National Heroes Acre during the burial of the late Brigadier General Charles Kaneta where he went on the usual tirade against those he sees as “enemies and detractors” whose only goal in life is to ruin his plans — he should stop.
Maybe, if my father had still been alive, he would have taught Mnangagwa the profound lesson he imparted to me: “Someone who always perceives others as wronging him, is most likely the one who is the problem.”
It is time for those in power in Zimbabwe to look in the mirror, and ask themselves very tough questions about their actions and thought-processes.
- Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, researcher, and social commentator.
- Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936, or email: [email protected].