Where is the moral voice?


IT is Christmas festive season again, a period which is meant to be exciting, but which for many of our citizens it’s bleak. The church has not been helpful with goodies; instead, it has become part of the problem.

When we should be associating Christmas with the Church and Christ’s death, we are worrying about mega rich Church leaders entangled in politics amidst poverty.

When things are as bad as they are, I long for the days when pastors and bishops were really seen and respected as men of God.

Today’s pastors and bishops are a different lot.

They compete to display their ill-gotten wealth as the Church has abandoned preaching and praying to focus on politics, prosperity gospel and money miracles.

With regard to politics and issues of governance, the Church should work with whoever is in power, and engage with all political parties without identifying with any of them.

The Church does not need lecturing to about how governments are designed by fellow human beings and are thus prone to making mistakes. Consequently, it is then essential for the church to provide moral and spiritual guidance where men in power err.

Politicians are elected by the people to perform the service of the State and when they err during the conduct of their duties or as they seek favour with the electorate, Church leaders should be able to step in to chastise them.

Sadly, our modern Church has abandoned the old folks, orphans and the poor in the community and, instead, has chosen to minister politicians and their wealth.

Both politicians and Church leaders are falling over each other abusing the vulnerable, exploiting the poor and impregnating poverty stricken and starving minors.

At times, they are even both using the impressionable youth for maiming and killing rivalries.

We have to agonise over our country that has lost its moral compass. Instead of heeding the Bible to go out into the mountains and praise God, our Church leaders are shamelessly busy making deals in farms, mines, town halls and presidential palaces!

The result is what lies before Zimbabwe; an undignified people in a country without any morality because everyone is corrupt. Since Zanu silenced Pius Ncube, none of the Church leaders has had the courage and conscience to be the guiding moral voice of the country.

In essence, none of them is fit to be the country’s moral authority because, like Pius Ncube; they all have skeletons locked behind the pulpit and they are aware that Zanu will unleash them to their downfall. They are afraid as that would certainly drive them into poverty.

None of our Church leaders want to experience the life of the poor. To safeguard their ill-gotten wealth, corruption and scandals; some of our Church leaders are now brazenly singing and preaching besides politicians who are denouncing and threatening to spill the blood of their rivalries.

We now have Church leaders who are found at each and every rally where the beatings and deaths of rivalries are plotted!

They are assertively ensnaring themselves into the homes and palaces of politicians as spiritual leaders, when in reality all they are after is safeguarding their corrupt tendencies. Why? Zimbabwe is at its current crossroads because we no longer have astute moral and spiritual leaders.

These men of the cloth have become men of wealth and are in competition to see who has the largest congregation, house, car, plane or bank account!

They can no longer serve those common sinners hungry for the word. They can no longer tell us the difference between right and wrong.

Our politicians and religious leaders have become one and the same; both are out to exploit us and beat us if we don’t agree to their lawlessness.

Where is the real church? Why is no one providing a moral direction? The Church has lost its moral authority to tell politicians that citizens have a right to a proper functional society that meets their basic needs; clean water, electricity, health and educational facilities, employment.

The Church has to play a role to ensure society normalises the abnormal; violence, the sexual abuse of minors by the elite, a dysfunctional government and corruption.

Who is to provide guidance to young people and act as a moral role model if the Church itself has become so corrupt and focused on worldly pleasures?

Save for MDC led by Welshman Ncube, both Zanu and MDC-T enamoured themselves with some denominations for political reasons and sadly that did not even stop the two parties from being violent against each other and internal rivalries.

How do we account for Church leadership that has no shame to seek political patronage? We have heard and read recently that appointed Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa is being approached by Zanu PF aligned clergyman Johannes Ndanga to take over as the Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe patron, a position once held by deposed Joice Mujuru.

“The position of patron is not an individual position. It is held in connection with one’s position in government. Since our patron no longer has influence in government we are now in the process of appointing another one.

The ideal scenario would have been to appoint President Mugabe but because he is a busy man we settle for his deputy. . .” Ndanga said. Does the man of God really care or know that some of his supporters do not support Zanu PF at all?

Getting entangled in politics as Johannes Ndanga advocates, will certainly remove the Church’s moral obligation to correct our political leaders when the need arises.

It removes their moral and spiritual legitimacy from political criticism as they can also be viewed as politicians by siding with one party against another.

The Church exposes itself to political abuse and violence when it should be seen as another organ involved in political checks and balances. On the other hand it may seem to have some influence on politicians it supports, but does it really need to be aligned to them at the expense of neutrality?

Maybe the Church now needs our prayers for it to urgently reinvent itself so that it can resort to its core business; praying and being society’s moral compass.

This will help us restore our faith in it and to consequently have memorable future Christmas festive periods.

Chris Dube is political commentator