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Church leaders silent on Itai Dzamara abduction: Brother Speaks Out


Towards a religious precipice

By Patson Dzamara

If I had my way, I would give medals to everyone who attended our prayer session last night. Those are to me my people, my real people. Not that those who didn’t attend are not but i have to distinctly salute all the people who made it.

Itai Dzamara (inset) his wife Sheffra Dzamara (left) and brother Patson Dzamara
Itai Dzamara (inset) his wife Sheffra Dzamara (left) and brother Patson Dzamara

Some actually went back as a result of police’s heavy presence at the venue but my heart goes out to about 100 selfless and brave individuals who pushed with us. For starters, we were forced to shift our venue an hour before starting time because I was told it was no longer ‘safe’ for the venue custodians to host us.

They had received a visit from some CIO’s who merely sought to understand what our meeting was all about. I am sure the venue custodians were just scared and I give it to them. I also give it to the CIO’s because they were doing their job. Anyway, that is another story for another day. I do have a lot of Pastor friends.

In fact some of my mentors are actually pastors. However, I must confess that during the build up to the prayer session yesterday I told my brother James Go Higher that I didn’t know which pastor to approach to come lead the prayers. The reason was simply that I know the stereotyped responses I were to get.

‘Leading a prayer involving, Itai Dzamara’s name, mmmmhhh, may this cup pass’, I concluded most would say in their hearts. So I left it there but God made a way. Well, as per my reservation and assumed extrapolation, none of the pastors within my circles and my other ‘Facebook Pastors’, I mean those who post Bible verses here every now and again, showed up. That did not at all surprise me and please do not get it twisted.

I know most people are praying with and for us even though they might not have made it to the prayer session. I really appreciate that. I am also not hereby suggesting that the turn up discouraged me. No! In our planning we budgeted for about 100 people and that is what we got. I was encouraged. Nonetheless, that is besides my point.

My point is all about a diluted religious fibre. I am sure, under normal circumstances more individuals would have turned up but the propensity to remain ‘clean’ clobbered their will power. That is worrying. Until we have some Christian leaders and Christians who like Esther, are willing to get dirt and to stand for what is right, I am afraid we are heading towards a religious precipice. I do have a good enough understanding of theology.

By the way, one of my degrees is a compound of theology and sociology. That’s not the point though. The point is that in my studies, I saw God using people to act over situations. The entire Bible is an action packed script of individuals who acted over something. To me Christianity or religion is not entirely about prayer and all those religious pontifications. It is all about works (action).

Saint Francis of Assiss said, ‘preach the gospel always, if necessary use words. It’s all about action. It doesn’t therefore surprise me that the church has been pretty much silent over Itai’s abduction. Not only that but it has been pretty much docile and largely irrelevant in the national discourse, packed in their own little corner while singing hymns.

It’s not because they don’t want to talk or act about it but it is matter of staying ‘clean’. One man once intoned that religion is the opium of society. I totally agree but with the calibre of religious leaders we have, I wonder where that leaves our society!

Admittedly there are a lot of dimensions presented on the catalogue of what I am trying to elucidate here but I am afraid to say that religion, for lack of a better word, has become an adulterated hybrid of escapism and capitalism.

Where are the Joshua’s, Deborah’s, of Zimbabwe at a time as this? If it were on me to define who a christian is, those 100 would be my definition. I saw Christ in them. I saw the meaning of love in them. I saw the meaning of camaraderie in them. I saw the meaning of family in them. I saw the meaning of community in them. So help me God.