A Candid Date

AN acquaintance shared what he termed a poignant remark from his grandmother.

The old lady from the rural areas of Mhandamabwe in the arid district of Chivi in Masvingo province advised all Zimbabweans to remain steadfast in prayer and to be resolute in expressing their fear of God.

She reasoned that reverence, humility and genuine supplication to the only God will result in a good rainy season as a gesture from above.

In agrocentric Zimbabwe, rains are an obvious and important requirement for most agricultural activities. Rains are an essential ingredient in food security.

According to the wise old lady, food security is a basic need that comes way ahead of other needs. Rains enable the bowels of the earth to nurture all the the food we eat. Mother Earth is always ready to yield her goodness provided certain conditions are met.

Rains are God’s reward to the people and He only rewards people who honour Him.

There might be good reasons as to why the old lady’s statement coincided with the end of the much-publicised Zanu PF congress held at the beginning of December. One thing for sure is that she had been to the congress as an accredited delegate.

She holds some post within the Zanu PF district of Chivi. What boggles the mind is that my friend who holds his grandmother in high esteem has zero respect for Zanu PF as he blames it for waywardness and awkward policies. Grandson believes that grandmother is into Zanu PF only for the convenience of survival.

It is no wonder that the old lady’s renewed connection with divinity came soon after the meaninglessness of the Zanu PF congress.

The congress came, it found many hungry people and it quenched all the attendees’ hunger and thirst.

There was plenty of meat and milk from Dr Amai Grace Mugabe’s high-tech dairy business. People who were not at the congress watched from a hungry distance.

There were some ordinary people who were lucky to have been chosen to attend the congress. They momentarily forgot their hungry routine as they joined in the binging.

They forgot the emptiness of their granaries and savoured the obscenity of senseless feasting. For many, it was like a dream; a dream they would never want to wake up from. Like all good things, the goodness of the feeding frenzy at the congress had to come to an end.

The end of the congress was a reality check that reminded many people of the harsh realities of their real worlds outside a choreographed party conference.

It was the same for my friend’s grandmother. When she got to her homestead in Mhandamabwe, the desolation was overwhelming. She saw the suffering from a perspective influenced by the opulence at the congress venue.

She viewed her permanent home with a perspective that had been distorted by the her ephemeral experience with Zanu PF royalty.

At her home, she discovered that the soil and the atmosphere both exuded some stench of over-recycled suffering. The Tokwe River nearby was full from bank to bank with sand as a result of uncontrolled siltation.

The river had a few ponds laden with stinking and algae-infested water. The ponds were awash with menacing crocodiles. The old lady had thought the crocodiles signified Ngwena’s recent elevation within Zanu PF.

Yes, Ngwena may ultimately take over Zimbabwe, a pond with stagnated and algae-poisoned water. By his nature, Ngwena survives in murky waters. That is how the old lady saw her village upon returning from congress.

Out there, the desperation and the suffering are real. Politicians are failing to provide leadership that is sympathetic to the suffering people. Such is the level of desperation that people have to pray for divine intervention.

In this case, the old woman found herself praying for the land to be drenched with rains to enable the people to exercise their independence in providing for themselves through tilling the land.

The prayerful grandmother reasoned that a season with good rains was the only way people could remove themselves from the stranglehold of unscrupulous politicians and donor agencies.

By resorting to prayer, the old lady had made up her mind that the Zanu PF congress was a meaningless event.

To her, the congress had failed to address the core issues of poverty, hunger, disease, pestilence and general suffering wrought by bad governance.

Enter Ngwena. Beware of Ngwena; beware. Beware of the murky ponds that Ngwena may want to impose his dominion and domination. Ngwena is a territorial animal that jealously guards its territory.

Pray that Ngwena will have enough fish in the pond to keep him busy. Zimbabweans, let us just pray for rain. Rains proper, not insewula or gukurahundi, will provide us some breathing space.

Rains offer communities some locus of control which is beyond reliance on a perfidious government. If the people have a degree of control over their daily lives, Ngwena may be tempted to crawl downstream in search for other ponds to colonise.

So, let us pray. Agreeably, prayer sounds like a cowardly and desperate response to a more desperate situation. We all know that the hope obtained from prayer is hardly tangible.

Some people claim that prayer constitutes a deposit or down payment towards some divine resolution to the desperation. A combination of prayer and fear steal the people’s responsibility to be active masters of their collective destiny. Prayer and revolution are poles apart as one is pacifist and the other is antagonist.

May Ngwena’s terror and domination be with us all.

Masola waDabudabu is a social commentator