“We Need Church Leaders Who Speak Truth To Power”
22 February 2023
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By Patrick Guramatunhu- Zimbabwe is NOT a democratic nation and the country has failed to hold free, fair and credible elections ever since the country’s independence in 1980. We have, in the ruling party, Zanu PF, leaders who not only believe they have the divine right to rule the country but would rather burn down the whole country than let anyone else ruling it. 

They have but contempt for the people’s right, in a free, fair and credible elections, to have the final say in who rules the country.

“A year on from the coup that ousted Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe remains perched between piecemeal reform and old ways that are as intractable as they are destructive. That’s because the country is ruled by a clique with a partial and conditional commitment to change—and a total, obdurate determination to retain and enjoy power,” wrote Stuart Duran in ASPI Strategist.

“The ‘new’ regime can be viewed from different angles, but the nub of it is this: there’s a recognition that the economic fiasco of the last 20 years was suboptimal, but Emmerson Mnangagwa and his fellow travellers will burn the house down if they feel it necessary. Make no mistake, their will to power is every bit as intense as Mugabe’s—as is their belief that they own the country’s choicest fruits by right of conquest.

“There’s no comprehending Zimbabwe without an appreciation of that mentality. Yet many fail to get it because they don’t read the country’s history. In 1979, at the height of the struggle against white rule, a diplomat who mixed frequently with Mugabe and other leaders of his party observed that ‘ZANU does not seem to attach much importance to the destruction caused by prolonged war’. They said they were content to see Zimbabwe ‘totally’ demolished if that was the price to be paid for preventing others from ruling it. That attitude has not changed an iota, notwithstanding the passage of 40 years and Mugabe’s departure. After all, the men who now rule wielded his hatchets for most of that period.”

One of the life-time lesson I have learned from my Secondary School days is to read the examination question very carefully and answer the question asked. “You will not get marks for answering the question, you wanted to be asked!” my Bible Knowledge teacher reminded us regularly. 

The success or failure of post independent Zimbabwe was dependent the nation on understanding and dealing with the willingness “to burn the house down in pursuit of right of conquest” Zanu PF mentality. This is at the heart of the problem of good governance. Our performance on this matter so far has been pathetic and little wonder the country is in a serious economic and political mess.

It took many Zimbabweans nearly 20 years to finally accept that Zanu PF was a corrupt, incompetent and tyrannical regime that was rigging elections to stay in power. A national consensus was reached on the need for democratic changes to end Zanu PF’s dictatorial powers and restore the rule of law and the people’s freedoms and right including the right to free and fair elections. nothing of any substance could ever be accomplished as long as the retained carte blanche powers to rig elections and impose itself on the nation. 

The people of Zimbabwe have risked life and limb to elected the MDC/CCC leaders on the understanding the party will implement the democratic changes the nation was dying for, as the party name implied. Sadly MDC/CCC have not only failed to implement even one token reform in 23 years, including 5 in the 2008 to 2013 GNU, but, worst of all, has been participating in flawed elections to give Zanu PF political legitimacy.

Instead of focusing all political and social pressure on Zanu PF’s blatant denial of the people’s right to a meaningful say in the governance of the country and the opposition selling out on reforms, it is disappointing that the church and other civic bodies have chosen to bury their heads in the sand and pretend Zimbabwe is a healthy and functioning democracy. Zanu PF is rigging the 2023 elections and calls for free elections will not stop the rigging especially after 43 years of Zanu PF rigging elections! 

“As the nation heads towards the harmonised elections, we urge all political players to desist from the use of violence. The people’s fundamental rights should be respected at all times. There is no citizen who should be intimidated or coerced, and worse still, be beaten to make a choice,” Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC) said in a statement.

“As a nation, we have in the past seen a lot of violence around elections; let this election be different. The people of this country dream and yearn for a free, credible and fair election.”

Yeah right! Of course, it will take a lot more than a word of encouragement to stop Zanu PF rigging elections; especially after 43 years of rigged elections and the urgent need to end this insanity, given the nation very existence is now at stake. 

What the nation is yearning for church leaders who will tell Zanu PF leaders they do not have the divine right to rule Zimbabwe; never had and never will. Church leaders who will speak truth to power!