Ever since Zimbabwe gained independence from its erstwhile colonial master Britain 38 years ago, the majority of its people have never experienced real prosperity, joy and peace – as there has been one tragedy after another.
By Tendai Ruben Mbofana
These are seriously genuine reasons for the suffering that we have had to endure for the past four decades, as we have had a government that has been more interested in holding on to power – at any cost – and employing some of the worst economic and political policies every witnessed under the sun.
I think we have talked about these policies for decades now – from the ill-fated Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP), the chaotic deployment of the military to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the unbudgeted payouts and pensions to veterans of the liberation struggle – all in the 1990s – to the brutal land reform programme, and out-of-control corruption and looting of national resources in the 2000s – all of which have left Zimbabwe as a pauper state, despite its huge potential.
With the abundance of natural resources, coupled with the education and hard-work of its people, Zimbabwe should be one of the wealthiest countries in the world – and we should be living relatively comfortably, without having to worry about where to get school fees and uniforms for our children, or money for rent and food.
These should have been the least of our worries – and, we should have been more concerned about where to go for our next cruise or where to open that next business.
Yet, the people of a potentially wealthiest country in the world spend their time trying to make ends meet.
As far as I am concerned, this goes far beyond mere mismanagement or corruption.
There are far greater forces at play in this country – far far much greater.
As the nation commemorated the death of General Josiah Magama Tongogara on 26 December 1979 – and the unending debate on whether he was killed by his own comrades – I could not help but wonder if our leaders’ propensity to shed blood could have a bearing on the situation this country finds itself in.
We can never deny that there are always consequences to the shedding of innocent blood – whether in the Christian faith, or our own culture.
The very first brutal act of murder recorded in the Holy Bible – that of Cain killing his brother Abel – is a very good starting point, as God held him (Cain) accountable for his heinous deeds, and was banished.
His banishment meant that his offspring and their offspring and their offspring – generations and generations – had been cut off due to this murderous act.
In our own culture, we believe in what is called ‘ngozi’ – that is the avenging spirits of those who would have killed, on those responsible.
In our culture, only atonement for one’s sin is the only way to be absolved of such a curse.
Even some within our Christian community appreciate this fact, as we have witnessed their prayer sessions at scenes of gruesome road traffic accidents – some of which have become ‘black spots’, as more lives continue to be claimed at exactly the same areas.
Therefore, considering the dark murderous history of our country – could Zimbabwe not be a huge ‘black spot’ that needs atonement for its bloody sins?
I will confine my discourse to the post-independence era – as this is our most recent, and thus, most influential period, that is most likely to affect our lives today.
Needless to say, the atrocities committed by the Rhodesians on our people should still have a bearing on our lives today – and, by no means, do I overlook them.
Our most recent history takes us back to the 1980s genocidal Gukurahundi era, whereby over 20,000 – some put the figure at over 45,000 – innocent and unarmed women, men and children, mostly from the Midlands and Matebeleland provinces, were brutally killed by the military’s 5th Brigade.
On its own, this genocide would have been more than enough to taint this country with the blood of innocent people, so as to place a dark cloud on our nation.
However, this killing spree did not end there – as there were continued dubious road ‘accidents’ of perceived rivals of those in power up to the new millennium.
In the 2000s, there was a renewed spike in the Zimbabwe regime’s murderous streak, as hundreds of farm workers and White commercial farmers were killed during the chaotic land reform programme.
Thereafter, more hundreds of opposition, mainly Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), supporters were murdered – the culmination being after the 2008 elections, whereby the ruling ZANU PF party’s Robert Gabriel Mugabe was defeated by MDC’s Morgan Richard Tsvangirai.
After the Thabo Mbeki brokered government of national unity (GNU) between ZANU PF and MDC, there was relative calm – till the still fresh events of 1 August 2018, whereby at least six innocent people, mostly bystanders, were shot and killed by security forces using live ammunition to disperse unarmed protestors.
Let us also not forget the abduction and disappearances of activists like Itai Dzamara and so many others – who, some believe were killed.
With so much spilling of blood by the Zimbabwe regime, would we be so wrong to catagorise the nation as a ‘black spot’, and ‘cursed’?
Even those in the ruling ZANU PF party sing boastfully that ‘Zimbabwe ndeye ropa’ (Zimbabwe is of blood)! Similarly, we even had a vice president with the Chimurenga name ‘Teurai Ropa’ (let’s spill blood)’!
As mentioned earlier, if some Christian churches see it necessary to pray for atonement at so-called ‘black spots’, due to road traffic accidents that resulted in the spilling of blood at that area – as that spot would now be regarded as cursed, and would continue to claim lives – why would the same not be necessary for the nation of Zimbabwe – where tens and tens of thousands of innocent lives have been killed?
We can not afford to ignore these realities, as there are countless souls crying out – as Jehovah God Himself said in Genesis 4:10 – after Cain had killed his brother Abel – ‘What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.’
Therefore, similarly, the blood of tens and tens of thousands of innocent people’s blood is crying out to God, and want atonement.
God himself has said numerous times that if only we could repent from our sins, He would personally bless our nation – but, as it is today, we still have a regime that believes that human life is dispensable, and is worth nothing.
Is it then any wonder that we are witnessing a huge rise in the number of murder cases amongst ourselves – as human life has become meaningless in the eyes of many.
Our nation needs healing – and it needs it NOW!
That can only happen once our leaders – and us as a nation, at large – repent from our murderous lives, and seek true counsel and forgiveness from the Almighty God.
No amount of praying for the country and our leaders will yield any fruits, as long as there is the blood of innocent people crying out to him.
It is so tragic that our leaders – some of whom were directly involved in these atrocities – still fail to even acknowledge what they did – let alone, offer an apology.
It is a further tragedy that so-called ‘men and women of God’ trample over each other praising the government and its leaders – whilst, conducting ‘thanksgiving’ prayers, and telling us that our leaders are God-sent – yet, never raise the real issue of spilt blood that groans in our nation.
What type of ‘men and women of God’ are these – or, are they not just charlatans, who want favour, positions, and gifts from those in power?
Is it then any wonder that our nation keeps going backwards, instead of forward.
We may call even the greatest brains in economics and business, such as Professor Mthuli Ncube, or even Strive Masiyiwa to come and join the government – but, as long as the issue of the blood crying out to God is not dealt with, we are wasting our time.
No economic master plans will ever come to fruition, lest we deal with the most important issue at hand.
Zimbabwe is a huge ‘black spot’ and the sooner we acknowledge this fact, the better.
We can no longer afford to ignore this fact, whilst our leaders continue to believe that there is a shortcut to our nation’s prosperity and peace that does not compel them to repent from their blood-spilling.
° Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and speaker. He is the Programmes Director with the Zimbabwe Network for Social Justice (ZimJustice). Please feel free to call/WhatsApp: +263715667700, or calls ONLY: +263782283975, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also ‘Like’ the ‘ZimJustice’ page on Facebook.