RELIGION is an area that demands respect from those who oppose it and genuineness from those who follow it. It is not shaped by politics, but it can shape politics.
MASOLA WA DABUDABU
In America, people of Jewish religion are able to influence the President on the way he deals with Israel. In the Islamic world, the Imams can influence the way a government behaves. In our own backyard, the missionaries waved the Bible to soften our forefathers before colonising the country.
Religion, like politics, needs adherents who have to be recruited, groomed and nurtured within the specifications of the scriptures.
During a recruitment drive for disciples, Jesus Christ coined the phrase “fishers of men”.
According to Matthew 4:19, when Jesus came across two brothers Simon Peter and Andrew he said to them: “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”
Today in the context of Zimbabwe’s coming elections, politicians are going about fishing for votes from men (this includes women).
Some of the methods used by the seekers of votes are ingenious, yet others are downright outrageous, abhorrent and despicable.
The hectic nature of the campaign trails witnessed so far would convince independent observers that the end of the world has been prophesied.
Some leaders have taken to wooing the Lord’s flock by exercising their democratic right to look stupid in religious attire that is at variance with their own religious sects.
President Robert Mugabe with his wife on tow, addressed members of the Johanne Marange Apostolic sect.
Mugabe claimed that the Holy Spirit had appealed to him to address the voter-ridden sect.
What load of blasphemous trash that is Mr President! Is there any Holy Spirit that wants to be associated with the incorrigible?
The President should just have been open about the whole affair by admitting that his campaign trail was taking him everywhere; to the temples of the holy ones; to the dens of sinners; to the homes of the bereaved; to the mansions of the stinking rich and to the hovels of the poverty-stricken.
So, the Mugabes turned out in full Marange regalia. They sashayed in the middle of genuine worshippers like alien conquerors inspecting prisoners of war.
One cannot resist taking a dig at the apparent discomfort of the well-fed bodies in those flowing robes.
Such gatherings can unleash a mixture of odours and according to unsaid facts, poverty and opulence smell differently.
All this was done in the hope of maintaining absolute power.
Once the power quandary is solved, the sect members would be reminded that they abuse women, have an unhealthy relationship with public health, refuse to send their children to school and that they are scheming smugglers with very little regard to customs and excise laws.
On that electioneering day, however, religion and politics had to put aside their differences.
Perhaps the impromptu visit to the Marange sect signifies a change of heart within the first couple.
It could be a genuine way to seek inner peace and forgiveness for any wrong doing. The only problem here was that the first couple did not mention any transgressions of their own during the prayerful event.
All they mentioned was the godliness of the church and the evilness of homosexuality. There is no rule against seeking the Lord’s salvation at the 11th hour, is there? So, it is within the couple’s rights to visit the Marange sect as they so wish.
Putrid suspicion was only raised by the conduct and the effort the couple put in observing the sanctity of the church gathering. A few questions begged for answers.
Would the members of the sect have been offended had Mugabe appeared in his Armani suit?
Would the First Lady’s attendance in Versace apparel have harmed anyone in this making of the travesty titled “The Catholics Visit Their Poor Rivals in Christ”?
The presidential cameo role in this movie could be an indicator that the end of world is with us. The Bible informs that towards the end of the world there will be a congestion of false prophets. We are warned in Matthew 13:22: “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”
It was certainly the oddest deception of the polls by the oldest contestant. Laws governing religious etiquette were seemingly shredded to pieces when the President and his wife, both devout Catholics, wore the sect religious garb.
It is not clear whether the Marange worshippers were coerced into inviting the President or whether they were so besotted and charmed by the prospects of worshipping with him that they willingly invited him.
One cannot phantom a situation where Pope Francis 1 removes his papal cassock in place of a thobe and a keffiyeh replete with an agal for a meeting with some Sunni Muslims in Mecca.
Closer to home, is it unheard of for a woman of loose morals to just walk into a Methodist church and request for the manyano uniform without any cleansing and initiation into the church.
It is a religious misdemeanour for a person to interchange garb from different religious sects as if he was at a fashion exhibition for religious frock. In any language, the swopping of religious frocks from different religious sects without proper initiation is breaking religious protocol.
Politicians should not score cheap political points by turning into sanctimonious scroungers.
It is not a bad thing for the sitting President of a country to seek the support of a religious sect.
It is not improper for him to attend their sermons. What is amiss is when he pretends to be a fully paid up member of the sect and masquerades around in their garb.