When it’s better to react with no reaction

PHEW! Once again, what a week? A loaded week that dispelled the notion that “the only language of crisis communication is the truth”. This past week, we got to know that the best language of crisis communication is silence. Others would say: “Sometimes it’s better to react with no reaction.”

This high-level sermon comes from Ecclesiastes 3 vs 7 which talks about “a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak”. Someone say “Amen!”

It indeed was a pregnant week. First was the issue of Vice President Mnangagwa who, as we are told, ate poisoned food at the Presidential Youth Interface Rally in Gwanda. The private media went into a frenzy with all sorts of succession theories.

While the private media was still cooking succession theories around the VP, came the unfortunate incident in South Africa involving the First Lady, Dr Grace Mugabe. The private media was joined by the international media and they all went bonkers. The VP was instantly dumped as the First Lady story sounded more juicy and more international. Kwanzi “tazovabata Mai Mugabe vaya”.

In these days of mediatised politics, when politics according to Thomas Meyer has been “colonised” by the media and in these days of the unrelenting social media, it seemed as if Zimbabwe was headed for some media Armageddon. And, indeed, for a few days, it seemed as if things were getting out of control.

Then came the masterstroke from the Zimbabwean Government. Taking a leaf from Ecclesiastes 3 vs 7 and knowing that silence is the language of God, the Government decided to deal with the deafening noise with deafening silence. The whole Government kuti ziii about the issue, zvekuti unenge uchati nhai vanhu murikuzivawo here zviri kuitika kuJoni?

At first, some people thought the Government had been caught flat-footed so they were running around to craft some response but when several days passed with no official comment, it became apparent that the Government had taken the wise words from Leonardo da Vinci when he said, “Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence” and that “speak only if it improves upon the silence”.

Despite the silence from the Government, the private media in Zimbabwe, the capitalist media in South Africa and the Western-controlled international media went all out with the First Lady story. Crazy stories like; “SA seals borders to stop Grace” were written and Bishop Lazarus was shocked by the naivety. Borders sealed? What exactly does that mean?

The idea was to present the First Lady as some fugitive from justice and to portray her as someone who had run out of options in South Africa. People were supposed to picture her as someone driving from one border to the other vachitsvaga buri rekutiza naro.

Well, Bishop Lazarus knows all that was happening in South Africa and I can tell you dear congregants, the First Lady was all good and fine. Her issue was being handled diplomatically and soon you will see what I am talking about.

As they say: “Silence is often misinterpreted, but never misquoted. We should all learn just to be quiet at times.” Can you imagine what could have happened if the Government had attempted to explain the situation in the heat of the moment? By this time, many Government officials would have been misquoted so much that the fight now would have been to manage the crisis of communication.

What is more interesting is that despite the media frenzy, at home and abroad, you feel hapana kana zviri kutaurwa zvine musoro. It’s all speculation and misinformation from South African Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula. You read, listen and watch news and discover that we sometimes overestimate the power of the media. Hapana kana zviripo and hapana kana zvinoziviwa. Kungohumana nekutunga madziro.

Well, “a meaningful silence is always better than meaningless words”. Get it from your Bishop, that story is not told until the Government tells it. That story will only be told when the public media authoritatively picks it up. And just for the record, there is no one who is in a hurry to tell that story. The Government may choose to continue speaking to noise through silence. Why not, when it has been working wonders?

But let’s go to South Africa for a moment. After discovering that the capitalist and Western-controlled media were firing blanks and after realising that the Government of Zimbabwe was outshining everyone concerned in the matter, a group of white supremacists, the rightwing Afrikaner group, Afriforum, has decided to ratchet up the pressure.

Afriforum represented by Advocate Gerrie Nel is trying to play godly and heavenly sent to the little girl involved in the case, Gabriella Engels. Watching Nel speaking on television while parading the little girl and her mother, you see kuti mabhunu paSouth achiri akadyaidzwa too much. Kuregererwa vachitsvingudza miswe yeapartheid.

What has Afriforum got to do with that little model? We all know that little racist grouping was formed to protect the interests of the Afrikaner population in South Africa. Gabriella is not an Afrikaner and we know they don’t care about her. They don’t care about blacks. We know that.

If Afriforum cared about blacks, they would have stopped Afrikaners from ill-treating blacks in their racist communities. Many blacks in South Africa are dying at the hands of the racist Afrikaners who still think they are living in apartheid times. Why is Afriforum a spectator when xenophobia wreaks havoc in South Africa?

Afriforum has been trying to get some political mileage saying they want to protect the girl child, but then those racists should just shut up. If they care about the girl child, why didn’t they stand in for the ladies who were recently butchered by Mduduzi Manana, the former deputy Minister of Higher Education in South Africa? Manana had to resign on his own yesterday with no word from Afriforum.

Why Gabriella? These white supremacists think they are the smartest species on earth? They think that through Gabrielle and through the First Lady, they can renew their fight with President Mugabe. These unrepentant whites should be told in very clear terms that “you touch Bob, you touch waya dzinopisa”.

If they think the Bishop is joking on this one, let them bring on the fight. President Mugabe is not President Zuma. Zanu-PF is not the ANC. We see the funny little jokes happening in South Africa. The disrespect of the presidency. The disregard of state institutions. That won’t happen in Zimbabwe.

Bishop Lazarus really hopes Gabriella and her mother won’t continue being fooled. They should stop being used and abused by these Afrikaners. If mother and daughter can’t see the light, then someone from the ANC should whisper some sense into the two.

Also after discovering that they were barking in the dark, Afriforum hired some Zimbabwean thugs in South Africa to carry out some demos outside the venue of the ongoing SADC Summit, but still they failed to sell the Zimbabwean story. It’s a shame really.

Like I said, this Zimbabwean story, will only be a big story when it’s told by the Zimbabwean Government. For now mbudzi ngadzitungane hadzo.

Bishop is out!

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  • Musorobhangu(G40)

    Bishop,mhosva yakaparwa ku SA,thats the bottom line. Also makashaya zvekunyora about Dr Grace pamhosva yavo nekuda kwekutya kuti mungaende kumusha basa rapera. Your good Dr doctor is a disgrace kumhuri ye Zimbabwe. Ichoo!!!

  • sm

    bishop washaya apa. crime is crime so dont try and sell us your nonsense

  • sm

    spare us the nonsense bishop. washaya futi

  • Sir

    True Bishop.