Consider the Common Good

MP900384726The past few days have been quite hectic politically. And all hasn’t gone well with Egypt’s Mohammed Morsi who was ousted by that country’s military on July 3. Millions of Egyptians protested prior to his ouster and they expected nothing but his removal. Morsi’s toppling by the army has sent frissons to Zimbabweans whose government is due for renewal on July 31. The primary reason for the shivers is the fact that the Zimbabwean military has previously and publicly announced that nobody without liberation war credentials will ever rule Zimbabwe. Now, considering the situation in Egypt, and with Zimbabwe facing an election, are they safe from the army’s mischief? 

To answer this question, we need to bear in mind that Morsi won the June 2012 election with 51.7 per cent of the vote following longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak’s fall from grace. Morsi was democratically elected and Egyptians voted overwhelmingly for him. But that did not save him. Recent reports indicate that the military’s actions have been well-received. Zimbabwe has always been against the military because of the many brutalities they have visited upon us. The last thing we would want to see, therefore, is a military coup against a democratically elected government. We have an opportunity to move forward as Zimbabweans and a coup won’t allow us to realize and achieve that progress and meet the requisite conditions to restore our nation. The army will therefore only serve to maintain the status quo and restore a corrupt and dictatorial regime. A coup won’t succeed in Zimbabwe.

There can be no doubt that Morgan Tsvangirai will win the July 31 plebiscite by a landslide victory. The Movement for Democratic Change will defeat ZANU PF. However, that victory is only guaranteed if free, fair, peaceful and credible elections are held. The necessary conditions governing democratic elections have not been met. In a helter-skelter dash to rig the polls, Africa’s oldest and longtime dictator Robert Mugabe made use of his kangaroo court to force this election on us. We are not going into this election just for the sake of it. It is our innermost desire and long-term goal to obliterate from the body politic the monopolization of power, infringements of press freedoms and civil liberties as well as violent hate speech. The media landscape in Zimbabwe has long been sharply parochial since 1980, and we must work to reverse all these ills.

It is clearly disturbing and unsettling to come to terms with the fact that Morsi had to leave power that way. It would be a disservice to the nation, region and world at large should the military decide to occupy the civilian space in Zimbabwe.  Those who partook in the liberation struggle should be aware that we are grateful for their national service. History will thank them and now is the time for them to demilitarise their minds. We need to demilitarise state institutions and allow civic space to take over. Allowing the army in Zimbabwe, Africa or any other part of the world to dabble in politics is illogical at best and grossly irresponsible at worst. In Zimbabwe, in particular, such a development won’t be entertained by anybody. The death of our friends and relatives in past elections caused us great grief and consternation and we wouldn’t want a repeat of the same. What my readers have to bear in mind is that my hatred and contempt for all hypocrisy and deception is deep.

Mugabe and the generals have to be reminded that they don’t own Zimbabwe. When one owns something, it has to be held onto, it has to be protected. What Mugabe has to remember is that he isn’t Zimbabwe’s Life President. There was a time when he really had a mandate to manage the country on our behalf but I doubt we still have any confidence in a man who will be 90 years of age in February 2014. For Mugabe has, as it were, an increasing inability to separate role from person. What he does is indistinguishable from what he is. He has wielded great power and is finding it very difficult to give it up, and chances are that he will fight to the death to retain it. He was supercharged with arrogance and ambition when he lacked strong opposition. And we all know, don’t we that he almost legislated for a de jure one party state in the early 1990s?

Allow me, dear readers, to draw your attention to the fact that we recognise human government as an ordinance of divine appointment and we teach obedience to it as a sacred duty, obviously within its legitimate sphere. We do not defy authorities. Our words, whether spoken or written, are carefully considered, lest we place ourselves on record as uttering that which would make us appear antagonistic to law and order. It is because of this that I have decided to write today, not as a Chipinge man, nor an Eastern man, but as a Zimbabwean with a genuine desire to move the country forward. I have seen Welshman Ncube and Dumiso Dabengwa coming together into some form of political alliance not to advance the Zimbabwean cause but their own selfish interests at the expense of the suffering and oppressed people of Zimbabwe. The two behave as if they are village and tribal leaders. They are against the national interest. And one wonders if they are ZANU PF agents meant to forestall democratic advancement in the country. I repeat: my hatred and contempt for all hypocrisy and deception is deep!

In 1910, Republican Senator Albert Beveridge had this to say: “A party can live only by growing; intolerance of ideas brings its death. An organisation that depends upon reproduction only for its vote, son taking the place of the father, is not a political party, but a Chinese tong; not citizens brought together by thought and conscience, but an Indian tribe held together by blood and prejudice.” The thing is: private interest must not be put in opposition to public good. For 1 Corinthians 10:24 tells us in no uncertain terms that: “Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others”. My message to Mugabe, Ncube, Dabengwa and the generals is: consider the common good, comrades. Differing in natural characteristics and in habits of life as we do, we need to come into unity of feeling, thought and action. The common good should be unto us our watchword, badge of distinction, bond of our union, authority of our course of action and source of success. Special wisdom and largeness of heart on our part are therefore mandatory and not optional.

Why don’t we set an example to the youth which shall teach them to regard as nothing any position or office which must be attained or held at the sacrifice of honour? I sincerely thought that Mugabe, Ncube, Dabengwa and the generals possessed sound judgement and experience. They have done more harm than good. We have had enough of them. They ought to consider our well-being and stop telling us lies. Let truth telling be held with no loose hand or uncertain grasp. Let it become a part of the life. Playing, fast and loose with truth, and dissembling to suit one’s own selfish plans, means a shipwreck of faith. “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth” (Ephesians 6:14).

In conclusion, “He who utters untruths sells his soul in a cheap market. His falsehoods may seem to serve in emergencies; he may thus seem to make business advancement that he could not gain by fair dealing; but he finally reaches the place where he can trust no one. Himself a falsifier, he has no confidence in the word of others” (Ellen G. White). I am looking into the great beyond, not with uncertainty or dread, but with joyous hope and longing expectation that Mugabe, Ncube, Dabengwa and the generals will engage in deep searching of heart and earnest prayer as they consider doing the right thing for our country to move forward. I put it to you dear Zimbabweans and I rest my case.

By: Mutsa Murenje, a WYA member from Johannesburg, South Africa