For the good of all humanity

I WAS sat in church last Sunday, as the pastor preached about having conversations with God. I love conversations, so it made sense to me because I believe we need to talk to each other in order for there to be understanding and cohesiveness.

However, my mind wondered after the service on how many of us actually do have conversations with God. If we do have the conversations, what do they centre on? As I was asking myself, I also began wondering whether the people whose houses were demolished along Airport Road had conversations with God? If they did, what were they about? What were they centred on? Did they have conversations with themselves, maybe? Did the powers-that-be have any form of conversation at any level, as they decided to demolish those houses? Well, I am not very sure what transpired, but I am at a loss as to what happened there.

I suppose we are living in a strange world, where we chose to remain silent about the very things that matter and yet we could take a few steps in the right direction to ensure we transform lives. This country needs more positivity than anything else, so you and I need to hold hands to make sure it happens.

Critical conversations

I have worked with many people at many different levels in Zimbabwe. One of the things that pain me is that generally, we do not seem to have a culture of having difficult conversations. It looks like when things becoming difficult, we decide to mumble, whisper and grapevine. We do not necessarily face the situation head on and seek an amicable way forward. We could have been cowed into submission by decades of a brutal governance system or is it something we inherited from the colonial days, I am not sure.

The reality is that we seem to run away from talking about matters that make us uncomfortable. Fear of the known could be another reason why we chose to utilise hushed tones to deliberate on issues we deem critical to our very lives. Well, whatever the reason, there seems to be a huge challenge we face and need to address. It does not help us to watch abuse rise to unimaginable heights only to then start talking about it discreetly or pretending we cannot see anything. This hear nothing, see nothing and say nothing approach to life just does not work.

Currently we are living in an economy that is not performing. The majority of Zimbabweans are struggling to make ends meet. Unfortunately, that is no news at all, because it s the same story, just different days.

However, having said that, it is clear that with the current lived realities, there is need to step up and support Zimbabweans to live near normal lives. This means that the powers-that-be have conversations with people to facilitate for situations, that ensure a win-win situation, wherever there is conflict. But guess what? This is not happening. This then means that whatever decisions are being made at whatever level are not made with a full picture of people’s lived realities. Such a disconnect leaves challenges in any attempt to find a way forward that involves parties of differing sides, views and lived realities.

A customer picks avocados from a vendor on a pavement along Herbert Chitepo Street, Bulawayo, on the June 26 ban on urban vendors set by Ignatius Chombo

We honestly need to explore better ways of conflict transformation that will enable us to enhance the lives of Zimbabweans. We cannot continue with this cat and mouse game and expect lives to develop. Now is the time we step up and have the difficult conversations. Just like the biblical Nathan confronted David over what he had done with Bathsheba and Uriah, there is a semblance of boldness that needs to happen, as we each seek to ensure that we converse about things we deem critical. This depends from one person to another. Depending on which side of the fence you sit, pick your conversation wisely so as to experience the necessary transformation. When we become carefree with those we chose to back, we experience shocking results.

Those people whose houses were demolished — what really happened? Who did they have a conversation with and now they find themselves in the quagmire that they are in? Who let them build to such great lengths only to later return and demolish their houses? Indeed, we want the city of Harare to attain its sunshine city status by whatever year. How do we honestly let people build houses only to wake up the next day and claim ignorance? Do we blame the warring political parties?
Do we blame the city council? Do we blame it on corruption? Could it be our own stubbornness or ignorance that finds us where we are? Well, whatever our reference point, there is absolutely no excuse for us to find ourselves demolishing other people’s houses. For so long, we have let ourselves be tossed left, right and centre at the expense of our sanity.

This system has brutalised us in ways we cannot even dare imagine. How do we expect to raise a generation of children who will experience normalcy when we ourselves behave like wild animals violating human rights at will? What sort of example are we setting for future generations? That anarchy can be permissible? That we can just do whatever it is that we like and get away with it?

I do not think there is any excuse to demolish people’s homes and then claim they have been relocated. Why did they get that particular land before? Where were the authorities when this was taking place? This madness should stop now. We cannot watch our children sleeping out in the cold with poor hygiene and sanitation and still call ourselves leaders, parents and whatever we think ourselves to be.

This is the time we step up and make a difference. This is the time the church has intimate conversations with God and clothe the naked and feed the hungry. Above all, this is the time that the church and all those who care to act come together and begins to explore ways of making Zimbabwe work for the good of all humanity. It has everything to do with the colour of one’s skin, their social status or any other factor except that they are human.

Now is our time to show the world that we care about what happens to our lives. We show that we can do much better than the tagging and shaming we have suffered.
Zimbabwe deserves that you and me come together and transform our lived realities and rewrite a narrative that we will al be proud of in the future. We have the strength and capacity to do without any fear and favour. Let’s do this!

 Grace Ruvimbo. Chirenje writes in her personal capacity and loves stimulating conversation. She would be excited to hear from you. You can contact Grace on graceruvimbo@gmail.com, follow her on twitter @graceruvimbo or Facebook: Grace Ruvimbo Chirenje. Chat soon.

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