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Since all leaders are divinely appointed, why didn't Mugabe just pray for Ian Smith?

by Tendai Ruben Mbofana
18 Aug 2016 at 09:27hrs | Views
The ZANU PF government has always been in the blasphemous habit of hiding behind the Bible, in an attempt to protect its leader President Robert Gabriel Mugabe from public scrutiny - alleging that, since leaders are said to be divinely appointed, he should not be openly criticised - if at all.

What I do not understand from this line of reasoning, though, is: if being divinely appointed means a leader can not be placed under public scrutiny and criticism, then why did ZANU spill all that blood during the 1970s liberation struggle, instead of just getting down on their knees and praying for Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Douglas Smith, as he was also a leader - and divinely appointed?

Why do we find that the church was very active in the defence of the marginalised and oppressed people against the repressive Smith and his regime?

In fact, the first president of ZANU, Ndabaningi Sithole, was a Reverend, and the leader of the United African National Congress (UANC), Abel Tendekai Muzorewa was a Bishop.

The first President of an independent Zimbabwe, Reverend Canaan Sodindo Banana was also involved in the struggle against oppression.

It is also a well-known fact that the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) was also instrumental in standing up for the rights of the majority.

As such, are we faced with a hypocritical ZANU PF government that just wants to silence the oppressed and suffering people through the Bible?

I will not go into analysing and quoting scripture, but it is quite clear that, even though leaders are said to be put in power by God, they can still be scrutinised and criticised.

I am sure that the Bible that these ZANU PF people are now so fond of hiding behind, has numerous accounts of the Lord Jesus Christ himself openly and severely castigating the Pharisees - who were the Jewish leaders of that time.

John the Baptist was also recorded as having openly criticised King Herod for taking his brother Philip's wife, Herodias, as his own.

The Apostles, especially Paul, John and Peter, are also known to have stood up against and defied the unjust orders and laws of the rulers of the time, and even openly challenged their beliefs.

As such, without delving in an unending theological debate, it is clear that there is a huge difference in understanding what it means when 'all authority is appointed by God', and ZANU PF's skewed interpretation.

It is every Zimbabwean's right - including church leaders - to openly scrutinise and criticise the leader and leadership of this country, whilst praying for them at the same time.

A leader who is divinely appointed needs to be exemplary in his or her leadership, by being just, fair, and honest, with compassion - respecting every citizen's rights, standing up against corruption, and suffering with the people when the economy is not performing well.

A leader who oppresses and brutalises his or her own people, then expects to hide behind a misinterpretation of scripture should not expect people to keep quiet.

In fact, these leaders who hide behind the Bible should be grateful that we have a people who respect democracy and the Constitution.

Let us not forget that during these biblical times, those leaders - whom are said to be divinely appointed - came through conquest on the battlefield, as such, God would have allowed them to be victorious.

None of the church leaders we have in this country are calling for an armed uprising against the government or Zimbabwe, if anything, they are calling for nothing more than peaceful protests.

This notion of a plot for illegal regime change is all in the paranoic minds of ZANU PF, or is a deliberate plan to justify further repression.

Zimbabweans are a very prayerful people, and rest assured, are praying for their leaders and country, for a better life and a new beginning.

However, that does not mean that they will just keep silent, whilst their leaders ride roughshod all over them, and trample upon their every right and ounce of dignity.

The suffering people of Zimbabwe have been quiet and prayerful for a long time, and it is time to say and do something.

Nothing that the suffering people are saying or doing is unconstitutional, and as such, should be respected by the leaders.

The God that ZANU PF is suddenly aware of, is a God of love.

He does not want to see widows, orphans, the elderly, and the poor being oppressed.

He does not want to see the leaders travelling overseas for the best medical care, whilst the people they lead cannot even afford a pain killer.

He can not stand it when poor elderly widows are been gradually eaten up by cancer, because they can not afford the very expensive chemotherapy.

He does not want to see the leaders sending their children to the best schools across the globe, whilst the people they lead can not even afford fees at the cheapest schools - which do not even have any textbooks.

The God that they hide behind does not condone a leader who stays in the most expensive hotel for nearly two years, whilst the people - whose tax he is using to pay for the hotel - sleep in the same room with their own adolescent children, as they can not afford to rent more than one room.

In this Bible they love to quote, the apostles and the early church actually sold all they had, so that they may share amongst the poor and needy.

Who amongst these wealthy leaders is prepared to sell all they have to buy medication for our hospitals - even if its targeted just for orphans, widows and the elderly?

Instead, these leaders would rather plunder over US$15 billion of the nation's revenue - which could have greatly improved the lives of the suffering - for their own selfish benefit.

The God that I know can not stand oppression - in fact, He teaches to turn the other cheek, yet our leaders are the most vindictive people in this world, who would rather see children be without their father, because he has been abducted.

It is high time these leaders stopped abusing the Bible for their selfish gains.

They are no better than an abusive husband who loves to quote, 'wives submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord' - when they want their wives not to stand up against their abuse.

Yet, conveniently forget to quote, 'husbands love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for her'.

Similarly, leaders are expected to sacrifice all that they have, for the sake of the people they lead.

All we have in Zimbabwe is an abusive leadership whose deeds can never be swept under the carpet.

Just as ZANU PF stood up against Smith - as all leaders are divinely appointed - the people of Zimbabwe have every right to stand up against Mugabe.

Zimbabwe actually needs more church leaders to come out and speak out against these gross abuses of human rights - as not doing so is being an accomplice in these leaders' ungodly deeds.

° Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist and commentator, writer, and journalist. He writes in his personal capacity, and welcomes any feedback. Please WhatsApp/call: +263782283975, or email: tendaiandtinta.mbofana@gmail.com. Follow on Twitter: @Tendai_Mbofana



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