LETTER FROM KUTAMA: MTHULISI MATHUTHU
Among them you will find narcissistic power mongers and wealth seekers with a fair sprinkling of dishonest men and women of renowned insincerity.
Not to be outdone are those of different political persuasions making the grouping naturally given to polarisation which is why the Anglicans and the Catholics will issue totally different statements on the situation obtaining in Zimbabwe as if they reside in two different planets.
renders the Church leadership vulnerable to manipulations and hi-jacking
as the politicians seek to use them as a camouflage for their
So when the Church leaders met last year to produce the Zimbabwe We Want document, it was apparent to some of us in the ecumenical movement that the gullible lot among them had swung the ship to take the route that was welcome to the government and help Robert Mugabe pretend that he was doing something.
The blunder of the Church today has been to enter the Zimbabwean debate with the thinking that Zimbabwe is a victim of some conspiracy. The scope of their reasoning is essentially pleasing to Mugabe.
They speak about Zimbabwe in a manner that would rather please the tyrant in Mugabe than challenge and implore the normal person in him to see sense in the drive for the other Zimbabwe.
Rather than use their moral authority to diplomatically bring a sense of guilt and consequently, the urgent need for reform, they will use it to shield him. Mugabe is certainly relieved than challenged by the bond he has with the Church leaders who often concoct eulogies for him under the guise of theological reflection and patriotism.
The Church Leader’s spokesperson Bishop Trevor Manhanga’s "patriotic" statements and gesturing are all that counts to Mugabe and are enough to please him as they are within the premise of blaming somebody else other than the Dear Leader.
The contents of the Zimbabwe We Want document are not important to Mugabe, after all that is what is written every day in the opinion pages of newspapers by the Lovemore Madhukus and the Brian Kagoros.
What Mugabe is interested in are the Bishops who purchase into and defend the fallacy that Zimbabwe is under attack and is a victim of vitriolic imperialist propaganda.
That is why there is no difference today between Manhanga’s utterances and the state adverts praising the trees, mountains, rivers, Victoria Falls and the country’s literacy levels as if anybody ever questioned the beauty of Zimbabwe.
What is under attack is not Zimbabwe in its entirety, but is the obtuse leadership that has sunk deep down to the levels of the ancient kingdoms of the Old Testament era.
What is under attack is not the contents of the document, but the spirit and the purpose behind its release because we have always been saying what it says anyway.
It is the willingness of the Church leaders to expose their ethical weaknesses by being on the same platform of views with Mugabe while at the same time producing a ‘good’ document that he will evidently not take serious in order that they may claim in future that they never conducted themselves questionably.
The Zimbabwe We Want document should not be used to cover up for the Church leadership’s folly which is a windfall for Mugabe.
Even as they still cling on to it, nothing has come out of the document because there was never going to be anything except that they were always going to end up being "patriotic Zimbabweans" giving interviews to the official press which customarily doesn’t give space to democrats but to confused apologists.
It is for this reason that the document is unacceptable because instead of it being an instrument to engage Zimbabwe and Mugabe for change, it is used to cover up for the Church’s support for the establishment which is what Mugabe intended in the first place.
Criticise the Church leaders today, and their apologists will be quick to say its bigoted criticism because they (primates) produced a "good" document. But didn’t Mugabe present a "good" speech at Independence in 1980 but only to walk out of Rufaro Stadium to set up the Fifth Brigade that went on to mete out unprecedented violence on the civilian population in Matabeleland in a spectacular betrayal of his promises. Wasn’t his speech a good statement used to cover up for his wayward and evil ways that were to unfold just a few weeks from its delivery?
"Even a madman can say something with sense but watch out because he will soon add something to it which will show you that his mind is still spoilt," writes Chinua Achebe.
It is the case with Trevor Manhanga who will produce a good document (regurgitating what has been said over and over again) but will go on to extend solidarity to the very class that is a hindrance to the Zimbabwe he wants.
He will go on to excoriate the defenders of democracy, as he did with South African editor Mondli Makhanya recently, but will keep quiet or just "regret the situation" when the state descends on democrats and opposition politicians seeking to air their views freely.
If Manhanga and his friends are ever so ready to frankly dispute the claims of the supposed detractors of Zimbabwe in the South African media, they should explain why are they reluctant to comment on murder and beatings of Zimbabweans by the state.
It is hypocrisy for them to condemn "violence" under the cover of being non-partisan when it is clear to everybody that what we are faced with is not just "violence" but state terrorism. It is not something to "regret" but something to condemn in frank and forthright terms.
There is very nearly no indication that the Church leaders abhor Mugabe’s un-statesman-like political behaviour. Their spectacular readiness to condemn "violence" and "attacks on Zimbabwe" is opposed by the reluctance to condemn state terror, electoral theft and un-diplomatic violent language from State House.
If they were indeed concerned about bad journalism, they should have long complained in strong terms about the state publications which use their statements to defend Mugabe.
While Manhanga is at liberty to show his vehement displeasure with the South African journalists, he will not show the same forthrightness in the face of journalism practiced by the ZBC and the Herald.
Actually he is silent because it is the kind of journalism serving the person he is not only in bed with but whom he is not willing to be frank in his dealing with.
Evidently, the best way to deal with Mugabe is not through documents but civil disobedience which Archbishop Pius Ncube is talking about.
Hasn’t history shown us that Mugabe resents documents of discussion? Think of the Chihambakwe report, CCJP report, Zimrights report, African Union Human Rights Commission report, Constitutional Commission draft Constitution etc.
To want to discuss with Mugabe is to miss the fact that what is obtaining in Zimbabwe is not a battle of minds. It is something less about views but more about murder, brazen repression and madness.
Zimbabweans including Mugabe know that his time is up. He knows that he has raped the country and will not leave because he fears accounting. It is not that he thinks he is a victim, although he says so.
There is no doubt that the Church leaders are currently not doing anything because the document is dead and buried. It will forever be useless in as far as Zimbabwe’s future is concerned. They have come to a dead end. The only thing they have to do is to complain about some people not being patriotic because the person who sent then to the people has shown them that they were wasting their time.
Perhaps they may as well tell Zimbabwe the source of new vehicles driven by some of the Church leaders. They should say who is funding their secretariat on the so-called Zimbabwe We Want project.
is a New Zimbabwe.com columnist. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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