The Sunday Mail
As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.
Bishop Lazarus had to make a run for the mountains to fast and pray last week in order to get his spiritual mojo back.
Of late, he now gets the hibbie-jibbies just pacing up and down the streets, especially when he passes by ugly men and women.
You see, traditionally, the uglier you are or were, the most likely you are and were associated with witchcraft, sorcery, thuggery and unsolved village mysteries of inexplicable grisly homicides.
But to be fair, over the years, ugly men and women haven’t done themselves any favours to exorcise this outstandingly bad tag.
You need to look no further than the mugshots of Edgar Masendeke and Stephen Chidhumo — the late infamous poster boys and rockstars of Zimbabwe’s criminal underworld — to prove this theory.
Crime-busters of the time should have had it easy: they only had to take in the ugliest person nearest to the crime scene in order to solve crimes of the day.
But, dear reader, the situation in our country has moved to another level, and Bishop Lazi needs all the spiritual powers — and more — he can master for the battle that is sure to come.
This is exactly what was prophesied that we no longer fight against flesh and blood but “powers of this world’s darkness”, and this is also what spiritual men of the cloth have always been told to expect.
And the Bishop got a cue last week.
Just like everybody else, he woke up to the disturbing news that we are facing an invasion from the Army of the Dead, who recently pillaged shops, attacked innocent citizens, razed buildings and almost overran our cities.
We are told that although this invincible fighting force faced a hail of bullets from our security forces, they simply took it in their stride.
But by some divine luck, our uniformed forces managed to account for some of these otherworldly beings, who are now appearing before our earthly or worldly courts.
They also come camouflaged as our fellow countrymen.
You have to take the case of Tinashe Kaitano seriously. He was shot dead in Kadoma during the recent violent protests, only for him to saunter back to life.
It had to take some stroke of luck for our security forces — thank God — to bring him to justice.
He was convicted and now has to do time.
The Bishop prays for those who will have to share a cell with such an ignoble creature.
And then there is Elizabeth Zimunda, who was part of the press corps of this invading army.
Soldiers shot her in the head in Chitungwiza — or at least they thought they did — and she “died” on the spot.
Miraculously, her body was never found.
Apparently, our dump journalists — Duh! You are not ghost-busters — are busy scouring every nook and cranny to find her “ghostly credentials”, “ghostly employers” and details of her “ghostly life”.
For all we know, the Zimbabwe Leadership Magazine, which she works for, might be a reputable publication wherever she comes from. Bishop Lazi, being the couch potato he is, has seen the handiwork of the Army of the Dead.
By now, you should have watched an episode or two of those two riveting epics — Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings, especially the former.
I would imagine you would have been blown away by the awesome power of the ice-cold Night King — an invincible specie who leads the army of the dead (White Walkers) in the Game of Thrones.
His army is raised from dead men, so they don’t die on the battlefield unless they are killed by swords made by mythical Valyrian steel (which is forged with dragon fire, or so the myth goes).
They are really a nightmare for mere mortals. Dear reader, if these real-life, hair-raising stranger-than-fiction occurrences are slowly giving you the creeps, as they surely should, you only have to read Ephesians 6:11-13.
“Put on the full armour of God, so that you can make your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, take up the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground, and having done everything, to stand.”
Gird our loins
But supranational forces cannot be messed with, and Zimbabwe will unfortunately pay the price.
Touch not the sacred army.
Our masters from the ice-cold isles decided to slap us with new restrictive measures (read sanctions) ostensibly “for State-sponsored violence” against victims such as Tinashe Kaitano and Elizabeth Zimunda.
You have to gird your loins, while the Bishop will definitely gird his cassock — it is not going to be easy.
A German judge Christoph Flügge, who recently quit the International Criminal Court after a 11-year stint, learnt the hard way.
You see, Flügge and a motley of other naïve world justices at the Hague, recently made an inconvenient request to Washington to allow them to investigate alleged abuses of its troops in Afghanistan, where a slew of serious “misdemeanours” ranging from sodomy — damn those heretics — rape (which is weirdly now being blamed on US-sponsored Afghan troops) and prisoner abuse has been reported over the years.
For the uninitiated, this might seem to be a fair request, particularly when made against a country that prides itself as a beacon of world freedom.
But lo and behold, the US, as a “stunned” Flügge later told German newspaper Die Zeit last month, rolled “out such heavy artillery” to pre-empt a potentially ignominious investigation.
The “heavy artillery” came in the form of a jabber-jaw, grey moustached comic called John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser.
“John Bolton, the national security adviser to the US president, held a speech last September (2018) in which he wished death on the international criminal court,” Flügge tearfully recounted to Die Zeit.
“If these judges ever interfere in the domestic concerns of the US or investigate an American citizen, he said the American government would do all it could to ensure that these judges would no longer be allowed to travel to the United States — and that they would perhaps even be criminally prosecuted.”
There was more.
“The American security adviser held his speech at a time when The Hague was planning preliminary investigations into American soldiers who had been accused of torturing people in Afghanistan. The American threats against international judges clearly show the new political climate. It is shocking. I had never heard such a threat.”
Wow! He never heard such a threat before? Or he chose not to hear such threats when it was convenient?
For those who might not know John Bolton, especially our fellow friends in the opposition who think that by dint of some miraculous happenstance, they might soon fortuitously find themselves at State House, and in the good graces of this moustached gentleman, they might want to think again.
Well, the political and diplomatic glitterati in Washington describe Bolton as a diplomat-turned-provocateur.
His critics label him as unhinged and dangerous, and — hear this, dear reader — one US television station once called him a “massive neocon (neo-conservative) on steroids”. Kikikiki
For those who are not in the know, neocons are often prepared to use military force to push their views.
If you think the Bishop is stretching it too far just to soil the impeccable reputable of this noble gentleman, I have bad news for you: there is even more dirt on this chap.
Bolton is accused of distorting intelligence reports to build a case that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, which he did not have.
However, this helped America to have its way. This is why the US recently stationed its troops near the DRC border when the country was having its elections. It is the same in South America, where troops have been moved to Colombia to prepare for a possible invasion of Venezuela.
Brawn is now the zeitgeist of the Trump administration.
But the major takeaway from this is obviously the length to which this Einsteinian diplomat is prepared to invent facts just to push Washington’s interest.
As Bishop Lazi said before, you need to look at the elaborate sequencing and choreography surrounding the August 1 and the January 14, 15 and 16 violence and the bad “press”, particularly on social media, that subsequently followed to understand the forces that are at play.
Again, I once said, if it happens once, it might be an accident; if it happens twice, then it might be a coincidence, but if it happens thrice, it is definitely a pattern.
As has become apparent in the past week, there seems to be an elaborate effort to chip away at the reputation of the army and besmirch members of the uniformed force in order to soil the image of the country and paint the New Dispensation as the Old Dispensation.
Quite clearly, as the case of Tinashe Kaitano and Elizabeth Zimunda, we now have a retinue of “Einsteinian organisations” working hand-in-glove with “Einsteinian journos.”
They invent toxic newsroom to invent personalities, incidences and stories designed to invite international condemnation.
A lot of brown envelopes “donated” to “strengthen” democracy through funding these inventions are doing rounds.
All this will be revealed in good time.
And then there is Jacob Mafume, spokesperson of the MDC-Alliance, who last week thanked the EU on behalf of Zimbabweans for renewing sanctions on them.
Weird enough, he feels that another round of sanctions, is the correct prescription needed to guide the country to prosperity.
You simply cannot make this stuff up.
Bishop Lazi would be happy if Jacob takes time to read through the Taguba report, which was compiled as a face-saving report to shield Washington from the ignominy of being outed for gratuitous abuses by American soldiers on prisoners at Abhu Graib (Iraq).
Essentially, the report accused the American troops of punching, slapping, and kicking detainees; jumping on their naked feet; videotaping and photographing naked male and female detainees; forcibly arranging detainees in various sexually explicit positions for photographing; forcing detainees to remove their clothing and keeping them naked for several days at a time; forcing naked male detainees to wear women’s underwear; forcing groups of male detainees to masturbate themselves while being photographed and videotaped; arranging naked male detainees in a pile and then jumping on them; and having sex with detainees.
Kikiki. Hanzi having sex with detainees.
In this part of the world, we call it rape, dimwits.
Shaker Aamer has also another interesting tale to tell about his detention at Guantanamo Bay (Cuba).
He was arrested in Afghanistan in 2001 and spent 14 years without charge or trial, only to be released in October 2015.
Whenever he embarked on a hunger strike to protest against his detention, Aamer was humiliated by being rectally infused.
This, as Childish Gambino (Donald Glover) will say, is America.
The true face of America.
What a mess!
So, how is Zimbabwe expected to get out of this one?
“Simple,” one very senior politician, who happens to be one of my congregants, told the Bishop last week, “because the New Dispensation is not the Old Dispensation.”
You should feel sorry for Bishop Lazi, the same congregants who were cajoling the West to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe, will be the same victims who he will have to counsel and console when the sanctions bite.
You see, sanctions, especially if you leave in urban areas — where you have to fork out a fortune for literately anything and everything — have a way of finding themselves to your dinner plate.
They also follow your kid(s) to school, and you will find them at the hospital, in your clothes and under your skin.
In Shona, they say kupembedza n’anga neichabata mai.
Well, as the man of the cloth, all I can do is to enlighten you and share with you the gospel. The world is not what it seems.
Psalms 21:11-13: “Though they plot evil against you and devise wicked schemes, they cannot succeed.
You will make them turn their backs when you aim at them with drawn bow.
Be exalted in your strength, Lord; we will sing and praise you might.”
Mark my words: we shall overcome.