Letter from America:with KENNETH MUFUKA
When I read the statement by Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa in her reaction to the Catholic bishops’ pastoral letter, I was shocked at the ignorance and arrogance displayed in it. I said to myself: “Maiwe, kushaya kufunda kwakaipa chokwadi.” (Lack of education is bad.)
First, sister Monica did not write the statement. The “government of Zimbabwe vehemently objects to and strongly condemns the pastoral letter of Archbishop Ndlovu and his coterie of Catholics bishop prelates.”(sic)
“It’s evil message reeks with all the vices that have perennially hobbled the progress of Africa.”
It was written by somebody with pretensions to much learning, who is acquainted with lexicography as is shown by the overuse of adjectives and adverbs.
Catholic bishops are not a coterie (because their interests are not exclusive of those of their flock). Bishops and prelates mean the same thing. Bishops do not perennially (repetitively, or annually) stand in the way of progress.
In fact, until 1960 all the great institutions of learning in Africa were the products of missionary efforts; therefore the Catholic priests were in the forefront of progress.
Monica showed lack of understanding and lack of grasp of universal truths. She intended to scare the bishops, a silly idea because they are more powerful than she is. She failed to grasp another truth, that the government of Zimbabwe (as she called it) is not the only player in the field.
The worst part of her story is that by what they said, the Holy Fathers sent a message that the government does not have the interests of the people at heart.
Secondly, it is interested in non-substantive issues.
Let me put it in simple English for Monica. The Holy Fathers are implying that the government has lost charisma (the moral right to rule). In the Islamic world, the Muslim Holy Council can issue a “fatwa” against an errant ruler.
That is a very serious matter indeed. It means that the government stays in office by force, hurumende yemadhumukwa. (Untranslatable).
Zimbabwe is now a ripe juicy apple, ready for overthrow.
This is how it works. Tyrannical governments separate themselves from their people by bad economic policies at home. In order to survive, they become oppressive at home while depending on foreign assistance for survival.
Panama’s Emmanuel Noriega, a US Central Intelligence Agency surrogate, was referred to in documents as “the son of a ****, who can kill his mother if we ask him to”.
He did missions for then US president Richard Nixon in Cuba while at the same time engaging in drug trafficking.
From 1983 to 1989, he was a US darling, but began to show signs of independence in 1989. Suddenly the international media was flooded with stories of Noriega’s drug trafficking, murderous behaviour at home and money laundering. When General Colin Powell sent 20 000 US marines to take him out, he was a lonely figure, unloved by his people and despised by his US masters. He is in a prison in the US even as we speak.
Similarly, Saddam Hussein al Tikriti, president of Iraq from 1979-2003, was a US surrogate. His oppressive policies were tolerated until he began to show some independence in 2001.
Powell, now secretary of state, was behind the overthrow of Hussein in 2003.
When Noriega and Hussein were overthrown, the natives saw American actions as liberating.
A perfect set-up
In the Zimbabwe scenario, the government has no clear knowledge of whom it serves: the people of Zimbabwe or foreign interests?
By “depreciating” Zimbabwean money by half (50%), it increased its foreign indebtedness by the power of two while it impoverished its people by the same denomination.
The government now finds itself unable to pay its foreign debts while at the same time its people wallow in poverty.
While they boast of surpluses, doctors and nurses are uncompensated, hospitals are short of medicines, pensions have lost value, the economy goes south; but in all this, they must pay their debts to bloodsuckers.
Meanwhile, the rulers continue to live large on the hog. Treasury secretary hires a plane from South Africa to take his family 400km to Victoria Falls.
It really does not matter whether brother George Guvamatanga can afford the private plane. The issue is that it is reminiscent of Hussein’s profligacy at a time when Iraqis were struggling to meet daily needs.
The Catholic fathers in their wisdom give a timely warning. Government loyalty should never be to foreigners. “The struggle in Zimbabwe, between those who think they have arrived and those on the march has resulted in a multi-layered crisis of the convergence of economic collapse, deepening poverty, bread insecurity, and corruption and human rights abuses among other crises in urgent need of resolution.”
It is very simple. The government serves the elite, like Guvamatanga and foreign interests like the World Bank. It does not serve me, Ken Mufuka, muzukuru waHungwe, keeper of the rain bird.
The attitude of the government is that it deserves some respect. “We are everything. We are the police. We are the army. We are the government. We are the people.”
Hell no, you are not everything. Stupid!
The Holy fathers add this condemnation: “The government is focused on things other than national democratic priorities.” In Section 3, they add that “corruption in this country has reached alarming levels”.
It is a perfect set-up, Stupid!
Monica did not grasp the deeper meaning and message by the Holy Fathers. “Zimbabweans feel that the government has turned their back on them abdicating from the responsibility to build a united nation.”
The message comes from the prophet Samuel. If the ruler ignores his responsibility, he separates himself from God. A ruler who rejects his responsibility — to obey is better than to sacrifice — as the prophet put it, finds himself rejected.
If the charisma has departed from the ruler, as it did from Saul, the ruler appears (as Saul did) to be insane.
Sister Monica, please don’t play with the Holy fathers, they are the keepers of things most sacred and deep.
Verily I say to you my brothers: A person who ignores the church is indeed a fool. When the imperialists come for the kill, as in the case of Noriega and Hussein, the natives are indifferent to their fate. The army flees from the wrath of the invaders.
l Ken Mufuka is a Zimbabwean patriot. His latest book, Matters of Dignity (Reprint), is now available at INNOV Bookshops. Other books are available through kenmufukabooks.com.