Zimbabwe: Lessons From the Anglican Saga

Zimbabwe: Lessons From the Anglican Saga

By Nevanji Madanhire (THE STANDARD) This weekend millions of Anglicans across the globe are celebrating the triumph of good over evil.

For the first time in five years legitimate Anglicans have been allowed to pay homage to one of Africa’s first Christian martyrs, Bernard Mizeki, at the shrine erected at the place where he was murdered in 1896. Thousands of colourfully dressed pilgrims from all over the country and many more from abroad are, as we read this, gathered — as they have been since Friday — at the shrine outside the farming city of Marondera.

Evil had personified itself in Nolbert Kunonga, who with the political backing of those in power — and their courts — had desecrated the church, reducing parishes into brothels, chasing away the infirm from hospitals and children from crèches. Great schools that had formed the ribcage of our education system were reduced to mere upper-tops (makeshift schools), while mission hospitals were looted of money and equipment leaving them shells of their former selves.

Orgies of rape were reported from across the country. Many faithful Anglicans were made to vacate premises they occupied in fulfilment of their calling of ministering the gospel.

Kunonga became a disgrace to his handlers, so they eventually ditched him, leaving him panting like a fish out of water. He will probably repent and Christian values dictate that he should be forgiven and rehabilitated into the church.

But we should look at the Anglican saga in another way. Is it the miniature of the drama that is unfolding in our country?

There has been so much evil in this country, especially in the past 13 years, that people are beginning to wonder whether good will ever materialise. Hundreds have been murdered while thousands others have been maimed during satanic episodes of political violence. Since Independence in 1980 thousands have lost their lives to an intolerant system that will do anything to tighten its grip on power.

What we have as a result is a tormented nation; everyone is asking when there will be an end to all this suffering. The truth of the matter is there won’t be an end as long as the leadership continues to use some kind of “divine” right to rule.

In the past, many nations were ruled under various systems that could be called theocracies — a theocracy is a combine of state and religion — in which rulers claimed they were divinely appointed by God. Such governments recognised God as the head of state; rulers derived their power directly from God. In the end they used this “divine” power to oppress their people.

Zimbabwe has been ruled like a theocracy, the divinity of its rulers derived from the liberation struggle. Whereas in orthodox theocracies religion was combined with the state, in our own version the Executive, an arm of government is combined with the Judiciary, creating an unholy alliance that has brought the country to the sorry state it is in.

In all modern democracies there should be a separation of powers between the Executive and the Judiciary.

In the Kunonga case, the Judiciary was abused to pass judgements that perpetuated his ravenous appetite for power and money. At national level we have seen the Judiciary also make very questionable judgements that have even been queried by other senior judges.

The latest case is the Jealousy Mawarire versus Robert Mugabe and others. No less a person than Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba described the judgement as defying logic, saying it was based on a “dangerous principle” which goes against the principle of the rule of law.

For a party that purports to extol the virtues of the liberation struggle to so blatantly deny hundreds of thousands of people the vote when the said struggle was a fight for the principle of one-man, one vote, surely defies logic.

The declaration of July 31 as Election Day has rendered thousands of people unable to register to vote. This seems a deliberate ploy to ensure that certain sections of the population are unable to cast their ballots.

Unfortunately, the hardest hit section will be that of first-time voters. It would seem these are not trusted by the geriatric leadership which has over three decades ensured that this new generation has no future. It is clear that this generation was going to use the coming elections to demand their pound of flesh.

Another section hit by this disenfranchisement is that of the millions of people the Registrar-General has, with sickening xenophobia, labelled “aliens” and has denied the right to vote. The peopling of Zimbabwe, like that of all modern states, has been a complex process of immigration and emigration over the past hundred years.

Zimbabwe has over the decades been built by a complex mix of indigenous and non-indigenous people who have earned the right to be here and have a stake in the way this country has to be governed.

For a country that has exported three million people in the last decade alone to be so insensitive to people who have naturalised themselves in this country, is to be xenophobia to the extreme.

Millions of Zimbabweans have already become voters in the countries in which they are domiciled. But in Zimbabwe this section of our population is sneeringly describes as “totemless people” who do not deserve to be here.

Today we will know whether the Southern African Development Community, guarantors of the Global Political Agreement will allow Zimbabwe to be railroaded into another sham election which won’t move our country forward.

If they do allow the elections to go ahead by July 31 when they know surely that the results will be disputed and the country will sink deeper into crisis, then they will be complicity in the clear political chicanery that we see all around us.

No politicians should fear elections because elections define them as politicians, but it is common cause that any elections be held on a level playing field. Elections are the voice of the voiceless; hence they should give everybody a chance to express themselves. Denying the people the right to vote is evil and goes against the greatest value of the liberation struggle namely, universal adult franchise.

Like in the Anglican case, good will triumph over evil but only if good men do not give up the struggle.

Categories: Opinion

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