April 18 marks the day of Zimbabwean independence. This year is the forty-second year of our freedom from colonialism. There are those boasting about what Zimbabwe has achieved over the years. On the other hand, others feel disappointed and discouraged by what prevails.
Each of the two sentimental viewpoints can advance debatable arguments, with merits and demerits. This confirms the existent polarization between good and evil. It is healthy for people to debate ideas. The winner should be the one representing goodness, whereas the loser represents evil.
Zimbabwe attained its independence in the year 1980. What has happened over those years can either be for the benefit of lessons learned, or for the benefit of massaging nostalgic achievements. Winners represent development, while the losers represent destruction.
The question of whether Zimbabwe carries achievements or regressions can be left with the analytical observers. The objectives of this article are to advance axiomatic formulae and guarantee workable solutions. The last forty-two years are beneficial for lessons, rather than being for nostalgic massaging.
Supposing Zimbabwe stands at where others envisaged it to be, at this point, from the year 1980? The future would be nothing but bleak. Nostalgic massaging grants satisfaction, which itself, invites complacency. With complacency, there is a sense of laxity without any semblance of planning for future development.
However, there is hope when realizing missed opportunities in the past forty-two years of our independence. That realization includes correctional activities, to ensure a brighter future for everyone. The aim should be fixated on achieving the greatest good for the majority.
The hope lies with those recognizing the existence of correctional activities for bringing the greatest good to the majority. The world is hell; as long as advancing the greatest good for the minority. Human beings are special, as created in God’s image. The goodness of a man is found in his ability to think in terms of providing goodness to his fellow men.
Responsibility implies addressing what is wrong, as to bring happiness to fellow humans. There is no greater law than advancing goodness towards other fellow humans. Treacherous preachers avoid empowering the impoverished, viewed as reducing the limelight of preachers from being worshipped.
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves” (Matthew 7:12-15 NIV).
The aspect of responsibility does not include blaming others for the prevailing wrongness. It exclusively implies addressing the wrongness, for the benefit of other people. The major problems of humanity are caused by politicians, due to human ignorance.
It is in political activities that people are led to behave corruptly, without mandatory services. But each person is inherently political, by nature. Christians ought to be the ones feeling more concerned about other people’s troubles than the politicians.
“Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?” (1 John 3:13-17 NIV).
Taking the responsibility to apply the intent of the above Scripture, cannot be found in blaming others. Responsibility has got nothing to do with law-keeping. It implies doing unto others as desiring others to do to one. This was perfectly illustrated to a legal expert who sought to test Jesus’ understanding of the Law.
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:25-29 NIV).
The answer to the legal expert encompasses everything to do with Christianity. There is no need to think of any other hidden idea. Jesus gave what addresses the problems of humanity. Hence, declaring; “Do this and you will live.” Anything else about believing in Jesus is perfidious.
Doing the opposite invites problems that lead to death. This is all about the matter of taking responsibility, for one’s environment. Jesus had to give an illustrative answer to the questioner, whom He did not want to be left guessing.
“In reply, Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his donkey, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”(Luke 10:30-37 NIV).
The Good Samaritan did not entertain blaming the victim, possibly for traveling at the wrong hours? He did not blame the wicked people who attacked the injured person. He took full responsibility for the victim of the robbers. Was the Good Samaritan a rich man?
That question can only be advanced by those, yet to understand the meaning of responsibility. The Good Samaritan had not budgeted for this incident. He happened to have been along the same route as the injured person. He could have fallen into that danger, himself.
The lesson is that of taking responsibility for one’s environment. The Good Samaritan may have not even been conscious of Law-keeping. He was merely driven by compassion. He did not share the responsibility of paying for the medical bills with anyone.
Those bills could have been exorbitant. But his focus was on the responsibility at hand. The injured person might or might not be willing to take over the responsibility for his medication. But, all that was immaterial to the person taking full responsibility to serve.
The Good Samaritan did not take instructions from anyone. He was an independent person. The question to pose; ahead of our 42nd independence celebration is: Are we independent enough, to understand the aspect of responsibility?
After obtaining independence in 1980, what responsibility did the Zimbabweans exercise? The results prove that people assumed independence meant abdicating responsibility. Even as things deteriorated, the vestiges of imprudence beaconed on the aspect of responsibility—blaming others, unreservedly.
When a son gets married, he is granted independence to no longer share accommodation with his parents. He has to find somewhere else to lodge, with his wife. He would be released from the manipulative parental care, as totally independent to do as he pleases.
Having survived well under strict parental guidance, the son may soon realize the price of independence. If unable to appreciate responsibility, he may have to revert to parental accommodation. Although embarrassing, to his wife, that route may be unavoidable.
The matter of irresponsibility can be very cruel. As a nation, we may find ourselves having to invite back our former colonial masters. Like the irresponsible son, having to go back to his parents, the entire nation may assume survival in the solace of re-colonization.
It has become common to hear those of older generations lamenting that life was better with Ian Smith in power. This is suggestive of the effects of irresponsibility. In whose responsibility was Zimbabwe under, after the attainment of our independence?
The answer settles all matters of misunderstanding. This world carries principles with causes on one hand and effects on the other. Those suggesting that God is in charge, do so out of irresponsibility. That crudely points to the source of all our problems.
The Good Samaritan was a man who took responsibility. This is different from taking the responsibility to pray for the injured person. Nothing shows what went on in the minds of the priest and the Levite who passed by, leaving an injured person in agony. But, as religious people, we assume some clue that they prayed for him?
Doesn’t that sound familiar with our Christian environment? “Let us pray for God to change the minds of our leaders” “This is an evil world. Let us pray for God’s intervention.” Others have adopted the idea of regular “All-night prayers,” in desperation for what prevails in the environment. Religious people cannot discern the obvious, which captured the Good Samaritan.
There is no record of the Good Samaritan praying for the injured person’s healing, except for taking him to the hospital. This included paying for the medical bills and promising to settle the future accumulated medical bills. The injured was a stranger, just as the Good Samaritan was a stranger to the injured person.
How do believers interpret Jesus’ declaration: “Go and do likewise!”? The idea of independence does not blame God when things go wrong. Everything is centered on those claiming to be independent. When things go wrong the independent person bears the responsibility.
The hollow celebration of independence, for the last forty-two years, ought to be discarded. The idea of blaming sanctions for our troubles ought to be discarded. The idea of blaming authorities in government ought to be discarded. This calls for a clean-up exercise to start afresh.
The blessing of independence is still at our disposal, as long as understand that life is with us today, to correct the future. Previous mistakes still need to be avoided, but what is necessary is to craft better ideas for the future. Independence celebrations can be enjoyable, as long as one appreciates the technology of taking responsibility.
The delusion of accumulating wealth under the auspices of corruption is calamitous. The way of survival is found in appreciating the significance of independence. There cannot be any independence without the aspect of responsibility. The blame game, which may have served to create polarization, is different from the idea of taking responsibility.
We all messed up as a nation. There is no need to blame Robert Mugabe, or anyone, for that matter. In the year 1980, at the attainment of independence, the responsibility was bestowed on every Zimbabwean. This included those who were not yet born.
Unfortunately, what appears as having been the case is that Zimbabweans assumed that independence meant putting a black face on leadership. This included the idea of blaming God when things went wrong in leadership. The parable of the Good Samaritan showed us an example of not blaming anyone, but taking responsibility, for all matters of survival.
Many people assume that the idea of trusting God to exclusively take responsibility for one’s survival matters is a display of piety. It is a display of irresponsibility. As portrayed in the parable of the Good Samaritan, God is not impressed by such behavioral patterns.
There is no independence without responsibility. The greatest law of all time suggests doing unto others; as one would like them to do unto one. Zimbabwe is a blessed nation, when practicing these ideas, for the future generations. There is no need to wallow in confusion, anymore.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99