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Emergence of a clip-toe occult economy: Why the povo have the papas and politicians to blame

The police in Zimbabwe are said to be investigating the possible trafficking of human body parts, following recent reports that common folk in Harare are selling their toes in exchange for money or expensive cars.

The commodification of human body parts is not new to southern Africa. In April 1996 a 38-year-old man was arrested at a shopping mall in Johannesburg, South Africa, “after trying to sell a pair of blue eyes.”

This was reported by the Star newspaper, which also said that the incident “might be linked to the murder of street children for . . . traditional medicine.”

Nor is the sale of body parts peculiar to Africa. However in Zimbabwe, it’s the increasing gap and raw inequality between the rich elites and the povo (Portuguese for common folks) that is creating an orgy of consumption that has led to the poor and marginalized in society to seek alternative methods of create wealth with supernatural speed and acceleration.

The Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association (ZINATHA) has even expressed concern and claims they “know of the syndicates” involved in such banal modes of making money.

In my view the blame should be placed squarely on the shoulders of two groups of leaders: the papas in churches and the politicians in government. The church papas have not only jumped into bed with politicians to get contracts and concessions, but they have gone a step further to emulate politicians in flaunting ill-gotten gains.

The net outcome is that both papas and politicians have generated a spirit of envy and resentment among the poor, who look at this privileged class that regularly shows-off its fancy cars and designer clothes while living within gated communities in razor-fenced palatial homes. And all this while providing zero credible evidence of how they became rich so quickly?

It’s important to remember that both the papas and politicians have made promises to the povo  of a coming era of prosperity in this life. The papas tell poor folk to “give and it shall be given unto you” but the last part has not materialized for the majority – except for papa of course.

The politicians on their part, promised a postcolonial utopia to the povo but so far the dream has looked more dystopian than utopian. The only ones living in the lap of luxury while the rest remain the Biblical “hewers of wood and drawers of water” are the elites.

But the wood hewers and water drawers have become impatient and are turning to an Occult Economy for succour. It’s a type of an invisible get-rich-quick scheme, and it sure puts the “con” in economics!

The povo are doing it because they want to drive Lamborghinis, live in Borrowdale and dress Gucci just like their papas and politicians. They can’t wait for the sweet by and by no longer. What quicker way to achieve that lifestyle than to compete in the marketplace for body parts?

To someone who has already lost everything, losing a big toe for US $40k seems such a small price to pay to joining the ranks of the middle and upper class. There is a demand, so there will be supply. It’s a free market and trust the Invisible Hand to bring the market to equilibrium.

And the added beauty of this Occult Economy? Entry is irrespective of your tribe and gender. You don’t have to belong to the right tribe or totem to become rich overnight. Heck, you don’t even have to have a gender. Both the genderless and totem-less can become mbingas overnight.

But putting jokes aside, let’s also be clear that between the papa and the politician, the papa carries the bigger blame spiritually. Church papas should know better. Conspicuous consumption is not the same thing as Biblical prosperity. The former is of the world and the latter is of the Word.

What is conspicuous consumption? It’s the ostentatious display of wealth for the purpose of acquiring or maintaining status and/or prestige. This has nothing to do with the Gospel. It is in fact what St Paul calls “another Gospel.”

Spending money to tout one’s success is counter- Christian. Overt displays of wealth create envy and resentment among the poor and therefore go against Jesus teachings. 

Jesus Himself wore an expensive tunic, which the Roman soldiers gambled for at His death, yet He never flaunted it. The Gospels also reveal (incidentally) that our Lord owned a house, but there is no account of the details of that property.

We know that a group of wealthy women supported Jesus ministry financially, but we never hear about the diamond necklaces around their necks or the Louis Vuitton purses in their hands or the Fenty line of clothing in their closets.

These details are totally irrelevant to the core of what men of God are called to do i.e simply preach Christ. There is simply no place in the Kingdom for arrogant displays of personal wealth.

But who are the malevolents behind this clip-toe Occult Economy? The ZINATHA report cited above talked of known syndicates involved. Who are these syndicates? Is the ongoing abduction of political activists in Zimbabwe connected to this spiritually depraved practice – a practice, which is not only highly offensive to the Deity, but also grossly deleterious of the inalienable humanity of persons?

There could be nexus. We know that ritual murder is big business in Africa and Latin America and is done for the purpose of harvesting body parts. These are then used to create portions to boost fertility, economic success, and good luck.

In other words, the Occult Economy feeds the financial ambitions of evil and unscrupulous businessmen and politicians to whom the dismembered body parts are retailed.

And police investigations are many times futile because the average African policeman believes in magic and therefore reluctant to intervene. As a result, these cases can go on for years unsolved.

Sadly, the epidemic of occultism is a national disaster going somewhere to happen. Both the papas and politicians need to repent for glamorizing a consumerist culture that fuels envy which in turn fuels materialism and conspicuous consumption of the povo.

The true Church of God needs to stand against this occultic onslaught and pray that all nefarious demonic activity in both church and government be exposed and cease forthwith.

In Jesus Name.

 Amen.

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