The Sunday Mail
Bishop Lazi always tells his followers that as a people, we have been involved in a brutal rat race for the past two decades as we struggled for survival in choppy economic conditions.
But the Hobbesian nature of a rat race —where the struggle for survival is typically “nasty, brutish and short” — always takes its toll on a people.
Regrettably, the most invaluable trait we have lost in this critical epochal time period is our conscience.
A person who has no conscience is a person who has no soul.
A person who has no conscience is a person who is unhinged and a wrecking ball to all those values that define humanity and glue societies together.
The humongous calamity that visited our people in eastern parts of the country in the past fortnight gave us an opportunity for some soul searching.
Although the weatherman had foretold the tempest that was to become Cyclone Idai, our soothsayers, seers and divine bone-throwers couldn’t even whisper those words: “Beware the Ides of March!”
But the weatherman was wrong: what came to Zimbabwe from the sea was not a cyclone, but a monster.
It approached Mozambique with beastly ferocity, before making a dash to Zimbabwe on March 15 (the Ides of March), vomiting gallons of water on hapless victims in the dead of the night.
By Saturday last week, it nonchalantly perched over Rusitu Valley, which is 176 kilometres from Mutare.
It is here, dear reader, where the sluice gates of hell were opened as an unrelenting downpour rammed into heretofore parched land.
The torrent, Bishop Lazi was told, was ridiculously unending that it melted away brick and mortar homes into a jet stream of molten sediments that mercilessly washed away anything and everything in its part, including dazed occupants.
Whole mountains buckled and let loose a confetti of moon-sized boulders that wrecked through villages, valleys and waterways.
Some say the ferocity of it, as Dambudzo Marechera would say, was “like God’s fist shaking Satan’s shirt front”.
Bishop Lazi visited Mutare last week. He saw with his own eyes the enormity of the calamity, but couldn’t humanly process what could have happened.
It looked like a celestial battleground, where the gods had seemingly been involved in a nasty brawl.
Chunks of roads and bridges seemed to have been ripped or beaten off, while homesteads had been completely squashed and flattened.
A visit to the area is corrosive to the soul.
It is also disarmingly sobering. Sad.
While our traumatised and wounded countrymen were still trying figure out what had happened to their friends and relatives, most of whom had been snatched by ferocious mudslides, some sought — with lumpen vulgarity — to divide us along political tribes.
The Holy Book in Romans 16: 17-18 cautions against such people.
“I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.”
Jude 1:16-19 is even more brutal: “These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favouritism to gain advantage. But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these that cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.”
Harvest House is crawling with such “loud-mouthed boasters” and “scoffers”.
In fact, they are literally falling out of cupboards at that rickety stinkpot, whose windows, or whatever is left of them, could desperately make do with a wet mutton cloth.
They come in all shapes and sizes.
They even purport to have doctorates.
Not surprisingly, from that stinky building, we got an equally stinky Tweet — never mind that it had typos — from none other than Dr Nkululeko Sibanda, Chamisa’s spokesperson.
“It is Government’s responsibility to prepare for and to anticipate harm and warn others, including Aids agencies (sic). This is what is done everywhere in the world,” he fired off.
Dear reader, you only have to Google images of the nauseating condition of toilets at Harvest House to understand why someone would feel relieved by unloading such dross on social media.
Bishop Lazarus is cock sure that if Twitter insisted on 5 “O” level, including Mathematics and English, as a precondition to join its platform, traffic on those sites would be muted.
Cyclones usually cover a radius of more than 100 kilometres and their path is notoriously unpredictable.
Though their impact is obvious, their scale cannot possibly be imagined.
This is precisely the reason why Gemma Connell, head of UN’s Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (United Nations OCHA) for Southern and Eastern Africa, said “there are some things that we can’t prepare for”.
Angels among us
But our God works miracles through simple men and women.
In Mark 12 verse 32 we have an encounter with a poor widow who joined the rich who were making their contribution to the temple treasury.
She “put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents”.
After witnessing this scene, Jesus said: “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything — all she had to live on.”
We saw this woman tumble out of the Holy Scripture to walk among us this past week.
She came in the form of Gogo Magombo and men and women of her ilk.
These are ordinary and unassuming human beings giving all they have to live on just to offer a fellow human being a second chance to life.
When Bishop Lazi thinks of the future, he weeps, what with these youths who have known hate and spite all their lives.
Youths who continue to soak in scepticism and negativity that is dished out by politicians in bucket loads.
They no longer give up seats for the elderly; they listen to expletive-laden songs and their mouths drip frightening vulgarities.
There is need to redefine the spirit of Ubuntu that defines us as a people.
Let’s continue to build on the spirit that we saw last week.