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Was it enough for the President of Zimbabwe to ask God to forgive injustice and corruption?

By Dave Chikosi

‘Forgive us for every act of injustice or corruption that has made the poor to suffer or the innocent to die.” 

This was a worthy and very commendable prayer by President Mnangagwa at Zimbabwe’s National Day of Prayer and Fasting a few days ago. Indeed the Psalmist tells us that the LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.

Bishop Dave Chikosi
Bishop Dave Chikosi

But is praying to God enough? How does that put food on the table for the hungry masses? I submit, Mr President, that your prayer is correct but incomplete. Prayer is only complete if the vertical component to the Creator is accompanied by a horizontal outreach to His creation. The Cross of Jesus symbolized this symbiosis between the vertical and the horizontal. The Son of God Himself had this to say about the nexus between the vertical and horizontal:

“Therefore if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift (Matt 5:23-24)

In other words, the gift offered at the alter irrespective of the socio-economic damage done to one’s neighbor has no spiritual efficacy until the offeror makes an atonement for his/her transgression. True worship and prayer, Mr President, would therefore mean talking to God as well as talking to the families of the innocents who died because of the injustices mentioned in your own prayer.

It is also addressing the plight of folk who have been impoverished because of Government corruption. The latter is inclusive of practically everyone in Zimbabwe, except for a very small coterie of political elites who have done an amazing job of screwing everybody.

But what would restitution look like? I do not believe that anything short of a resignation on the part of the President would solve the problem for the toiling and pauperized masses. We have an economic and humanitarian crises at our hands Mr President and only the most gullible of partisan hacks believes that the Government has a clue in terms of getting us out of this quagmire.

We face the worst hunger crisis in a decade, sir, with more than half of the population being food insecure. The nation’s credit standing with IMF, World Bank, African Development bank and Paris Club is shot and it doesn’t look like we will be getting any help from those institutions any time soon. There has been a governance failure of epic proportions. This, coupled with a dismal human rights record and the very rampant corruption that the President repented of a few days ago, means that we have become the quintessential banana republic.

And yet in reality we are not a poor country. Our lithium deposits in Bikita, Goromonzi and Kamativi are second to none in Africa. We are the largest grower of tobacco in Africa, and the sixth largest in the world. We are the third highest producer of platinum. We have the world’s second largest chromium reserve with about 12% of the global total. I could go on, but I just need to honestly ask: What the hell is wrong with this government?

Prayer is very important and repentance is key. But after repentance the penitent must “produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8). Sadly the rot is in, and it’s so deep that I do not believe that the current government can self-correct and set us on the path to peace and prosperity. Corruption has almost become endemic. Incompetency runs rampant. We can repent on behalf of everybody until hell freezes over but it’s unlikely to amount to a hill of beans. Sadly chinhu chaora ichi.

My humble suggestion is that the whole government resigns. It’s a long short, but, as Robert Downing said, “A man’s reach must exceed his grasp or what is a heaven for?” Thing is: in other countries those at the political helm would have voluntarily resigned under similar conditions. Out.of.self.respect.