HUMANS are known to resort to prayer when dire and relentless desperation nests in their midst.
Some people may naturally ooze with fortitude and resilience and others may be less fortunate to have been insulted with the genes of cowardice and defeatism yet in prayer they may negotiate some common ground.
It is only human for people to involuntarily and collectively exercise an urge to offer supplication to a divine power when visited by desperate times.
Zimbabweans are experiencing extreme desperation as a result of economic and political turmoil. Most people, be they of sound or unsound mind, have taken to seeking divine deliverance and providence.
All over Zimbabweans are reserving special time to kneel and say a prayer. Here and there some people have grown into offering some sacrificial gifts of one form or the other to some deity or some mortal believed to have spiritual powers.
The people yearn for the attention of those who claim to be able to intercede on their behalf in pleading with the gods to reverse the seemingly ungodly curses cast upon them.
Indeed the desperation is total; absolute desperation has begot the absolute fear of God. This increased fear of God has led to a proliferation of venues of worship of all sorts and forms. The increased reliance on divine powers only serves as confirmation that the fiends of desperation have gone viral and have reached endemic levels.
It is sad that the cure for this debilitating ailment is not anywhere in sight.
In every desperate situation lurk evil wolves and hyenas that take advantage of the disabling environment. The scavengers wait for opportune moments to pounce especially when the desperation becomes too severe and unyielding. The opportunists manifest in the form of previously unheard of religious sects, spiritualists, spirit mediums and fortune tellers.
Diviners of various cults and occults appear from nowhere with promises of panaceas for all the people’s worries.
Old men who exude sanctimonious authority in their evangelical frock and younger pastors hastily churned from Pentecostal pulpits offer heavenly promises. They portray themselves as the natural serum that mitigates the nasty effects of the horrendous venom delivered into the people’s flesh by the fangs of the serpents of desperation.
The churchmen demand people to kneel with their eyes closed. They stake false claims on miracles and claim the ability to speak in tongues. Mock miracles and incoherent incantations of gibberishness are used to take advantage of the desperate. People pray long and hard, they pay tithes and they dutifully acknowledge invisible blessings. Meanwhile the desperation gets more extreme.
People become mindlessly gullible as the level of desperation becomes critical. They become blind followers of trickery and con artistry. They slowly get intoxicated by the fake preachers’ eloquent charm and they end up acquiring a sense of hope from their inebriated states.
Soon they begin to long to stay drunk on the lies and falsehoods peddled in the name of God. The enterprising preacher keeps on delivering the fire and brimstone sermon in its countless versions to instil the fear of God. At the end, desperate men stay drunk, the addiction grows, offerings and tithes grow and the church glows.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the gospel according to false prophets. It has been fashioned for the desperate and woefully gullible people of Zimbabwe.
False prophets have accomplices in other occults such as soothsayers, oracles of fate and fortune tellers. Those who claim to have cures for incurable diseases play a big part in the waltz of life and death. The desperate ones are told that they can have their ailments cleansed away if they sleep with toddlers.
Many men have been arraigned for defiling the innocence of girls as young as five. This level of desperation is not limited to adventurous men; women too have become perpetrators of vile acts as they seek to either cleanse their bad luck or to have some killer disease washed off their bodies by enticing blood relatives into incestuous sexual healing sessions.
The desperation hitting Zimbabwean towns folks and rural peasants has a strong relationship with political and economic situation.
Politicians are just as guilty as the false prophets and the fake spirit mediums.
The buck of political blame has to stop somewhere. Presumably the president has to shoulder the blame for all the people’s woes. He has to take responsibility of making Zimbabweans passengers in his boat of despair.
The boat is sailing dangerously along the path of certain doom and the captain has literally jettisoned the life-jackets just to perpetuate a precarious situation.
Zimbabweans are in a situation that is more desperate than the Palestinians in the West Bank find themselves immersed in.
There is no hope in the near future as the country’s senile executive heads a treacherously clueless government that is populated by false prophets with a knack for fat profits.
Zimbabwe needs more than just a prayer. Let us spray the “gamatox” on the weevils of desperation!
Masola waDabudabu is a social commentator