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Wananchi - never awaken a sleep-walking foe

14 Feb 2021 at 09:38hrs | Views
Ignorance can be pure bliss.

It makes life unburdensome through avoiding the inconvenience of putting up with inconvenient truths, facts and realities.

What better way of preventing the ignominy of dealing with unpalatable truths, facts and realities than simply pretending they do not exist?

Human beings generally believe things they want to and ignore those they wish could be untrue.

It is a mental condition that scientists call confirmation bias.

Psychologists generally describe it as a tendency to look for information that supports — rather than repudiate — one's preconceptions and viewpoints through interpreting information and evidence to confirm existing beliefs while rejecting or ignoring facts and reality.

The term confirmation bias was invented by British cognitive psychologist Peter Cathcart Wason more than 60 years ago.

He is, however, famous for pioneering the "Psychology of Reasoning", which essentially put paid to the assumption that human beings reasoned by logical analysis.

People, Wason asserted, are unable to reason and have an incurable proclivity for bias.

So, the next time you find yourself in a heated exchange with an incorrigibly argumentative chap over what might seem to be a simple and perfectly logical issue, you should reflect on the enlightening work of this scientist. Kikikiki.

For Bishop Lazi, nothing highlights this more than the needless kerfuffle on social media platforms last week after Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza dutifully informed the nation that there was a slight increase in the price of cooking oil as a result of soaring international prices of "crude oil".

The spectacle of grown-ups, who routinely flaunt supposedly weighty and lofty academic titles and honorifics (Doctor, Professor, Engineer, etcetera), lining up to pillory the minister for ostensibly "ignorantly" and "erroneously" trying to claim that crude oil was a raw material used in the manufacture of cooking oil, was nothing short of mortifying.

Unbeknown to the cynics, because of biting shortages of soyabean, the country has been importing crude soyabean oil — loosely referred to as crude oil in industry, because that is exactly what it is — and expressing it into refined cooking oil.

It is that elementary, or it should be elementary, unless, of course, one is consumed by blinding prejudice and bias, which is exactly how the debate panned out.

Despite advice from well-intentioned industry experts that crude oil was indeed a key ingredient in the manufacture of cooking oil, the raging and ignorant trolls obstinately clung to their false narratives.

This was all a vainglorious attempt to cast the minister as irredeemable inept.

Well, these cyber ignoramuses could have made perfect specimens for Peter Wason's experiment. In fact, the good scientist could have had a field day with them. Kikikiki.

Blinding rage

But last week could arguably live in infamy as one of the lowest points in local journalism when a struggling local daily newspaper tried to besmirch the country's vaccine rollout strategy in a vile attempt to create another bad news headline

What made it more baffling, however, was the fact that no sooner had the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Monica Mutsvangwa, openly announced that the country would be taking delivery of 200 000 doses of vaccines from Sinopharm of China, including another consignment in March that had been paid for, than the paper published a screaming headline that claimed authorities were at sixes and sevens on which vaccines to buy.

But it would be foolhardy to believe that the chaps behind such mischief are ignorant.

Far from it.

They know full well that in a fleeting world, those desperate to feed their biases and prejudices will simply latch on to the headlines without dispassionately interrogating the facts or substance of the story.

It is a typical case of the one-eyed leading the blind.

But, one would ask: Why would people choose to deliberately sow alarm, confusion and discord through misinformation in the middle of a serious global pandemic?

Trying to create disaffection towards the Government which is entrusted with the onerous responsibility of saving lives during such a critical period is bad enough, however, doing the bidding of a foreign power that is irresponsibly trying to foist its vaccines on the country for political leverage is seemingly both treacherous and treasonous.

And doing so without facing severe consequences shows that Zimbabwe is a flourishing democracy.

These mischievous chaps should ask Egyptian Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein, who was only released from detention on February 6 after languishing in prison for four years without trial for "spreading false information".

It is that serious in other jurisdictions.


But trying to create non-existent and imagined realities is fatal and thoroughly unstrategic.

While the all-conquering 19th century French General and emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, once said "never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake", Matthew 15:14 tells us: "Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit."

Matthew 13:15 adds: "For this people's heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them."

While cynics are trying to manufacture narratives to suit their imagined political realities — that Zimbabwe is being run by an inept administration that has no clue of guiding the country out of the current health crisis — the facts are proving otherwise.

Despite not receiving a dime from international financiers, the country has done commendably well to deal with the pandemic since the Government started to take pre-emptive measures on March 4 last year. Australia-based Lowy Institute recently ranked Zimbabwe among countries that had responded best to the health crisis.

In fact, the country reportedly fared better than countries of means such as the United States of America and the UK.

Bishop would forgive you for being unfamiliar with the Lowy Institute, but you definitely should be familiar with UNICEF.

Well, its regional director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Mohamed Fall, said last week a recently conducted poll revealed that 77 percent of respondents in Burundi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe had received health services they were seeking during Covid-19.

This clearly shows that our local healthcare, even after being plagued by more than two decades of sanctions, is not shambolic as it is made out to be by doomsayers.


But the clearest sign of Harare's success will be seen tomorrow when the country receives its consignment of Covid-19 vaccines.

This is no small feat considering that out of the more than 100 million doses that had been administered globally last week, only 200 000 have been in Africa.

The 200 000 doses that the country will be receiving are more than enough to cover our 50 000 healthcare workers who have been valiantly battling the deadly novel virus.

Get it from the Bishop: All those cynics who have been pooh-poohing the Government's efforts will line up, like you and I, to receive vaccines procured by the same authorities they consider inept.

But, as Napoleon said, don't interrupt them as they continue to delude themselves with false political narratives.

In fact, never awaken a sleepwalking foe.

They will duly get a dose of reality in two years' time. You see, ordinary wananchi who deliver political verdicts are currently slogging it out on their lush green fields, blissfully oblivious of the useless and nonsensical stuff that is daily posted on social media. They perfectly know where their political allegiances lie.

Bishop out!

Source - sundaymail
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