Take off your sandals and run. Run very fast—like a cheetah is coming after you—when Zanu PF deploys its political commissar to church.
Things are bound not to end well when they happen that way.
There is someone who is going to be eaten, no doubt. And, on a scale of one to 10, it’s the prey, not the prowler.
You must have heard about it last week.
Mike Bimha, the Zanu PF national commissar or mobiliser, was at the UFIC church in Chitungwiza with his wife.
That wasn’t going to raise any eyebrow if we removed the context.
Any Jack can take his Jill to any church.
We need God-fearing people in Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe needs deliverance.
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Ordinarily, where one goes to worship mustn’t be a reason for you to start twirling your snort.
Here is the thing, to understand why Bimha’s visit to UFIC is such a big deal.
During Easter, you will remember, his boss, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, was at the same church when he got busy quoting non-existent Bible verses.
Forget the grandstanding, that old chap can’t tell a chapel from a pig sty. He doesn’t know the difference between Christmas and Easter.
He thinks God is in the habit of sitting down under a Mupani tree to do naughty things and seems convinced that Zanu PF regalia is God-given.
I divert. It was the president who gave Mr Bhima the strict instruction to be regularly pitching up at UFIC sermons.
And Bimha seems to be more than cool with that.
He certainly needs spiritual protection from the evils of his office.
Since the position of political commissar was set up, nine out of 10 of the office holders have ended as dead as a cold duck or in big pain.
We are going to elections very soon, and things will get really furious in that office.
So, Bimha needs buckets of anointing oil and what not. But, eish, I digress again.
It was no fluke that the president ordered his political commissar to be going to UFIC frequently.
It’s not like Mnangagwa cares too much about Bimha’s spiritual welfare, no.
A political commissar is just that. One who is appointed to mobilise the people for the good of Zanu PF.
You have seen how the president has of late been going round the country donning the garments of indigenous churches.
They have always done that ahead of elections.
It’s about the votes, nothing else. So, Mnangagwa smelled the blood when he went to UFIC at Easter.
He got a warm reception from Prophet Makandiwa. UFIC has such a huge followership.
As is typical of most Pentecostal churches, the followers are beholden to their prophets, so much so that, whatever they say goes.
That makes UFIC such a rich vineyard for Zanu PF.
There are tale tell signs that Zanu PF is making headway at the church.
Did you hear what Prophet Makandiwa said when Bimha visited?
Heh, people are not talking loudly enough about the roads that the Zanu PF government is building.
Heh, people need to be getting onto the roof to shout about the good things that are happening in Zimbabwe.
And the prophet wants to turn us all a marketers club for the Zanu PF government, it seems.
I will be the first person to confirm that the roads are improving.
The Mnangagwa administration has rehabilitated more roads than Mugabe ever did or would ever do even if he were to rule us for a thousand years.
But there are certain things that the prophet is missing. It is the duty of a government to build good roads.
Leaders of the current administration were part of successive Zanu PF governments that destroyed and neglected the roads.
There is no need, therefore, for us to start celebrating the current leadership and handholding the “donkey” for a triumphal entry.
We elected them to build roads and other things, not for us to be their praise-singers whenever they do part of what they are supposed to do in the first place.
Prophet Makandiwa also seems to be missing another key thing about this so-called infrastructure development.
The motive behind. An act based on a bad intention is also bad, no matter the results.
When Mnangagwa was vice-president or cabinet minister —and he has been for two generations — how many times did you hear him talk about roads except at a political rally?
Was the late Robert Mugabe standing in his way so that he had to wait for a coup moment to make inroads, so to speak?
Strictly speaking, it wasn’t going to be a bad idea for Zanu PF and Mnangagwa to start campaigning by doing things that benefit the people.
You know why we have such a robust political opposition?
That’s because Zanu PF hasn’t been doing what the people want.
If it had been doing that, the opposition would be as irrelevant as storks in winter.
The truth of the matter is that the roads, especially, that are being built are being built as a brutal strategy to undercut the opposition, not to make life better for motorists and passengers.
That’s the reason they took away the mandate to do urban roads from the local authorities.
They want urbanites to hate the opposition-dominated councils for being useless buggers who couldn’t resurface the roads.
They want, then, people to start believing that it’s only Zanu PF that can make things move.
So much so that, when it comes to the elections next year, people in urban areas will rediscover the beauty of voting Zanu PF.
In any case, does the prophet or most Zimbabweans know where the money to build the roads is coming from?
There is a telling sign here. How come government is not deploying as much energy as it is showing on the roads to our hospitals?
Well, patching potholes and smoothening the tarmac averts accidents, in a way, but how many deaths would be averted by giving more resources to the health sector?
It, therefore, doesn’t seem like the infrastructure that the prophet is hailing is the kind of thing that must transform all Zimbabwean citizens into a marketers club.
If you know the current administration well, the last thing you want to go about doing is forming citizen marketers clubs for it.
Ask Catriona Laing. She thought she would market Mnangagwa and the post-coup dispensation by, among other things, wearing the ED scarf.
But where is she now?
You see, it’s easier to sell bath water to an ass than it is to market the current government, in spite of the optics.
At the Sunday service that Bimha attended, Prophet Makandiwa spoke well about a dark cloud hanging over Zimbabwe.
That’s true. There is a dark cloud hanging over Zimbabwe.
But what the man of cloth must have added is that this cloud is a product of seeding. As in cloud seeding, it’s a man-made cloud.
Here is Bimha, the face of a party that is maiming and killing supporters of the opposition for trying to attend rallies organised by their party of choice and the police is doing nothing.
The face of a party that has locked away opposition party leaders, on flimsy grounds, for close to three months now, yet ruling party members accused of stealing millions get bail before they even get to court?
A party that can’t account for billions of public funds.
A party that hates charity so much it wants to kill NGOs merely because they are competing with it to distribute food aid, which it wants to use to rig elections?
Who wants to market such a vile compendium of scandals?
If Prophet Makandiwa has not already been bribed by Zanu PF, he needs to be cautious.
The way in which he is talking now is very disturbing. It can be his waterloo.
- Tawanda Majoni writes in his personal capacity and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org