The Sunday Mail
The Bishop was a bit under the weather last week and he decided to take a sabbatical.
But, he had hardly mended when he heard whispers of a proposed Sabbath by his fellow adherents of scripture and prayer.
You see, clergymen and clergywomen have had enough.
They can no longer stomach the pervasive toxicity and incivility in our society that is distracting efforts to extricate ourselves from the current unenviable circumstances.
So, “Zimbabwe needs an urgent and holistic solution in which the grassroots, organised society and political and policy sectors should contribute and own”, they say.
“The nation”, they further opine, should remove “all political contestation from the land and focus the period on healing past wounds, recover the economy and build a political culture that focuses on nation-building.”
Bishop Lazi is using the words “they say” and “they further opine” advisedly because he was so indisposed that he could not take part in the consultations that culminated in the holy statement and counsel by these wise men and women of the cloth.
Had he been part of the conversations, he would have, as he always does, made it clear that he entirely agrees with the spirit of the counsel, but totally disagrees with the substance of the advice.
Why would a nation subvert the constitutional will of the people, as expressed in 2013 Constitution, to declare a moratorium on elections — which, by the way, are ostensibly considered a quintessential part of democracy — for seven years in order solve the corrosive nature of our political contestation?
Is political contestation, which ordinarily is supposed to be “beauty pageant” of preponderant ideas, inherently corrosive?
And, who are the political contestants?
Are they not the same men and women who charismatically sing hymns in church, but spew incendiary and toxic venom the moment they leave the church premises?
The Bishop hears 85 percent of Zimbabweans claim to be Christians.
If this is the case, it would seem that such a powerful constituency would materially hold sway and make our society civil.
So, what the hell is going on?
Has the Church failed? Or it has been failed?
But, for a country that surreally rallied together in scenes rarely seen on this planet to usher in a new epoch in November 2017, what has gone wrong?
Well, Bishop Lazi thinks that all the political capital needed to emphatically push the country forward was squandered when the opposition MDC decided to pivot its campaign for political office on a gratingly militant and incendiary rhetoric that divided rather than unite the nation.
The gratuitous vulgarity dished out by the MDC campaign, which took every opportunity to launch withering obscenities and abuse on their Zanu-PF counterparts, was the turning point which divided Zimbabwe into belligerent political tribes.
Indeed, loose lips sink ships.
James 3:6 preaches “And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.”
Proverbs 18:21 counsels: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits”, while Matthew 12:36-37 warns, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Well, you might say the Bishop is incurably biased, but have you not read the findings that were made by the Motlanthe commission of inquiry into the August 1 2018 violence.
Let me refresh your memory a little bit by reproducing what the commission concluded.
“Speeches made by political leaders, mostly the MDC-Alliance, before and after the elections, heightened tensions and played a part in inciting some members of the public to protest . . .
“During the pre-election rallies, the MDC-Alliance had taken a position that if their presidential candidate, Nelson Chamisa, did not win the election, they would protest. A threat that they implemented.”
It adds: “the protests were pre-planned and well-orchestrated as shown, for example, by the fact that the groups arrived in containers of assortment of products with objects such as stones, bricks, sticks, posters, etc., which they used in their demonstrations.”
And they continue to dig in.
This is why churches rightfully said the country remains “stuck in post-election mode”.
But, pigs will fly before the proposal by the churches to suspend elections for seven years — the Sabbath — takes off.
A much more prudent approach would be for the churches to cure the disease that is clearly being created and spread by their flock.
And, this can be done beginning today.
Choreographed abductions scripted by people purportedly going for all-night prayers, deliberate fake news calculated to besmirch the country and sustained attacks to sabotage Government efforts to extricate the country from the current painful circumstances — all this being done by Zimbabweans — should stop, today.
The Church must play its God-ordained role to minister to its people the virtues of unity of purpose, which ironically Zanu-PF, a political party, has been preaching (pun intended).
ED has been talking about the need for love and unity ad infinitum.
Our past, present, future is inextricably linked.
We will sink or swim together.