Tanonoka Joseph Whande
Christmas, as we know it, has always been a time we celebrated Christianity; a time we cleansed our minds of any conflict and bad thoughts but celebrated goodwill.
Christmas, along with New Year’s Day, have always been family times when whole clans take a break from year-long commitments at work, school or other engagements to be together.
These two calendar holidays gave families time to gather in harmony in the absence of any conflicts.
At Christmas, feuds and misunderstandings were suspended and the people got along well even with strangers who might have wandered past their villages.
I am amazed how, in merely 30 years politicians in our country have destroyed a Christian ritual more than 2000 years old.
In the days before Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF came onto the scene, I remember families preparing tea in large buckets and loaves and loaves of bread being sliced in large chunks then dressed with margarine or jam or both so that anyone who came by got a share.
Beasts were slaughtered and people gave and ate freely even in homes they had never visited before.
It was a true celebration of a birth that changed humanity and a display of a true belief in the expected well-being of society as we celebrated yet another approaching New Year with hope.
But the destructive and evil ZANU-PF has now been joined by two other political parties. Together, this overcrowded trio has combined to dash our hopes.
Are we any better off with three political parties in government?
No, of course, not!
Until Robert Mugabe came along, the week of Christmas and New Year was a time to share, to receive and to give as old quarrels and arguments were put aside and people got on in the spirit of love and compassion.
Today we have three political parties that fail to agree to anything among themselves and vent their anger, frustrations and greed on the people they are supposed to protect.
We now hide from each other and lock our doors.
We are now suspicious of each other and won’t help a stranger.
We die in suspicious road accidents and our government does not tell us how.
Our compatriots die in strange fires and our fire brigade rushes to the burning house without water.
Our government treats us as enemies.
We can’t plow our fields because we cant afford inputs.
We can’t send our children to school because the teachers are being abused.
No one is there to protect us from our own police and our own army.
A culture of fear, suspicion and violence has been introduced among us.
Yes, until Robert Mugabe came along, Christmas and New Year were a time when people recharged their batteries, drawing in more inner strength and cementing good expectations with goodwill.
We were indeed one family who shared everything available.
Christmas mended broken spirits and renewed belief in family values.
People gave away goats, chickens, clothes, food, drink and anything as gifts. They did it freely so, regardless of how humble a gift was, it was well received, usually with both hands to show how “heavy” the gift was.
Today, our government glorifies murderers.
Our ministers steal from state coffers.
Our leaders accumulate wealth while their people are starving.
Army generals beat up their wives and send them toSingaporeto be bandaged.
Our first ladies take from us instead of giving to the children while others die in road accidents with no questions asked and no explanations given.
And we have three political parties governing our nation.
I cannot recall the last time that Zimbabweans celebrated Christmas and New Year in the spirit with which we did before Mugabe came on the scene.
As I sit here, I not only think of those who died for this country but also of those who died because they noticed how evil had sneaked into our nation and dared to say so.
Ian Smith killed people while in a state of war, what excuse does Mugabe have?
What is theMDC’s role in all this?
What difference has theMDCbrought since it joined ZANU-PF? Will they ever disengage from each other or they are now conspiring to stay joined together because they fear none of them might survive without the other?
Do we dare to hope for deliverance?
Christmas is a Christian ritual that has established itself as a day we remember our Saviour. It is 2 011 years old yet it took Mugabe less than a generation to soil this very important day.
Without any doubt, Tsvangirai must do a lot of soul searching. He must ask himself if his presence has made things better or worse for the people. Has his presence not strengthened ZANU-PF, instead of somehow neutralizing it?
How much is he to blame or, as now a more and more “confident” politician he believes he has done wonders for the people and does not see his negative role in all this?
TheMDCneeds to re-strategise because they have had two years in bed with ZANU-PF and has produced one spontaneous abortion after another.
I scanAfrica’s horizons and see leaders struggling with their countries. Many are not endowed with as much education as Mugabe is nor with as much courage as Tsvangirai once had.
Many of the countries are not even half as rich as ourZimbabwenor do they have such a high rate of literacy as we do. And yet they are doing better than us.
Our unity government does not exist for the people.
Our government looks for chaos where there is calm. It sows hunger amidst plenty. It imports death where there is an abundance of life.
The unity government is causing hate where there is love.
All the so-called principals are guilty; time to exonerate and continue making excuses for theMDCare passé’.
Mugabe has his priorities wrong and I wonder how it feels to be hated so much.
How does it feel for Mugabe to be the only one and his family celebrating Christmas?
How does it feel for him to be bathing in imported water while the whole nation is forced to use water infested with excrement?
Does becoming a president take something out of a person? How really does it feel to be so overburdened with evil?
And, at 87, he seeks another mandate to ruleZimbabwe. This is pure madness but that is ZANU-PF.
The once joyous Zimbabweans are now beggars because of these men who claim they are united in government while they are not.
We can no longer walk our streets freely;
We cannot provide for our families although we are able bodied;
We cannot worship our God because Mugabe is consumed with jealous to see people gather for God and not for him.
Our children have been turned against us and have been taught how to kill innocent people, including their own relatives.
Because of ZANU-PF, brother no longer trusts brother,
Father no longer trusts son,
Mothers view their daughters with suspicion and worshipping has become risky unless we look for verses that can be used to praise Mugabe.
Do we honestly deserve a government that throws teargas into a church full of worshippers?
Would you believe that this is my Christmas message to my fellow Zimbabweans, with its sad, painful and negative content? But it is; ZANU-PF has infested every part of our living and has turned all the good things into bad.
Like in the past several years, I cannot honestly wish my fellow Zimbabweans a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year because that would be tantamount to insulting them.
Our tradition demands of us to give and share, especially at this time. But because of ZANU-PF, we cannot give and share because it has taken away our livelihood.
WE can’t give because we don’t have.
We cannot be happy because we are hungry.
We cannot celebrate because we are dying.
We cannot vote because we will be killed.
We cannot worship unless we praise Mugabe in our sermons and that is something we cannot do because the whole idea of congregating is to denounce the devil and chase him out of earth.
I sometimes wonder where the love of God goes when things seem so hopeless but I notice that somehow, Zimbabweans manage to keep their families alive until the next day.
We are not alone.
I pay tribute to my fellow Zimbabweans for their resilience and never-die attitude.
That, in itself, is a miracle and miracles are God’s acts. He is with us.
God bless you all; God blessZimbabweand may the true Zimbabwean spirit continue to reign within us all because we are more than conquerors.
Don’t ever let us despair because a hero is only braver a minute longer than the rest.
I thank my listeners around the world for supporting Heart of the Matter.
And I thank my compatriots inZimbabwefor their courage and guidance. Enjoy what you can this holiday; because of you, we will get our country back soon, with or without the politicians.
Zimbabwe, I love you.
I am Tanonoka Joseph Whande and that, my fellow Zimbabweans, is the way it is today,Thursday,December 22, 2011.