Character assassination and truth

No one should be naïve about how dirty politics can be, in Zimbabwe. This is as I find myself among those disturbed by how Advocate Fadzai Mahere has been treated, lately. I was totally shocked, especially when some of her attackers came from the ZimEye; a media channel that I had all along respected. This is not intended to defend Advocate Mahere, as if privy to the alleged offences.

Whether true or not, my submission should not be construed as weighing on that debate. Simba Chikanza touches on Advocate Mahere being the daughter of Stephen Mahere, a former cabinet Minister in the ZANU PF government. That is most unfair, not only to Fadzai Mahere but also to the old man, Stephen Mahere.

Did Simba Chikanza, even for a moment, put himself in the shoes of the father, who has not been involved in politics, lately? But how could the misbehaviour of his daughter, have any link with his previous services in the Zimbabwe government? If anyone were to look for the description of hell, I suppose Zimbabwe would fit well for that description.

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Advocate Mahere is one of the young feminine politicians, who has ventured into the political fray. Undoubtedly, she has excelled in her role as the CCC party spokesperson. Let us examine the alleged offence on one hand and her contributions to opposition politics, on the other. A fair-minded person would understand what this means. I suppose Jesus had this kind of injustice in mind:

At dawn, he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now, what do you say?”

They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” (John 8:2-10 NIV).

Jesus did not justify the sin of adultery, and neither am I justifying the possible misbehaviour of our luminary Advocate Mahere. The unanswered question, even by Advocate Mahere’s accusers remains: “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

What should dawn on everyone is that it is impossible to produce perfect politicians, on this planet. The recent assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is a case in point; showing that no one can be adjudged as perfect by everyone, in this world. Who would have imagined a man of Shinzo Abe’s character, could have enemies?

The only workable idea to instil goodness in this world is to focus on the best performances, against the worst performances. Advocate Mahere is arguably the best performer, in her political career, compared to others.

How does her adulterous rumour enhance her performance? She cannot be compared to sordid adultery affairs that have been strewn, in and out of political circles. Of course, true Christian followers know that love covers a multitude of sins. The best contribution that our country needs is love.

“For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body but live according to God in regard to the spirit. The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1Peter 4:6-8 NIV).

Where love exists, sins are not there, because those sins would be covered by the power of love. The Bible extensively encourages loving enemies and doing well to those persecuting others. This earth cannot be heaven; there is no need to ever dream of heaven on earth.

One may fully appreciate those putting much pressure on opposition politicians, expecting them to behave differently from ZANU PF. That is understandable. But that should be done with the realization that justice should also be administered meritoriously.

Justice should be granted a scale of the greatest good to the majority, as opposed to the greatest evil. Extenuating circumstances are often applied to law. But I suppose when exercising love, the public should also learn to exercise restraint, based on the rule of extenuating circumstances.

Our politicians can be chosen on the basis of the extent to which crimes are committed, or value addition. Of course, the aggrieved person could assume this suggestion as coming from an inconsiderate person. However, the appeal is also on the principle of willingness to forgive.

The prayer pattern advises that, when asking for God’s forgiveness, we should also factor in the aspect of forgiving our enemies. “Forgive us as we forgive those that trespass against us” (Matthew 6:12). The reasoning pattern of humanity ought to understand this viewpoint.

Of course, nothing is as painful as having another person disrespect you to the extent of taking your spouse away. But, we cannot control our partners’ way of behaviour. We can control our own behaviour but not that of other people. Others have lost their partners, through death.

But, most people have lost their spouses through adultery, especially in Zimbabwe. The most difficult thing may be to counsel someone having lost a partner through adultery. It could be true that the husband of a woman said to have hooked up with Advocate Mahere, did what is alleged.

A better world cannot be built by dwelling on adulterous conduct alone. What about ordinary people dying daily, due to a lack of medication in government hospitals? Can anyone suggest that the political evils that are glaringly observed are not as wicked as adulterous conduct?

Where are people who are more righteous than Advocate Fadzai Mahere? Are the accusers projecting themselves as better than Adv Mahere? What have they done, that is better than what Advocate Mahere has done? The record could be there that such people are better performers. But, here is my suggestion:

Would it not be fair to highlight good things done by Advocate Mahere, more than highlighting her dark side? Being in the business of highlighting wicked things, serves to promote evil. Sadly, this is exactly what promoted an evil establishment, in Zimbabwe.

The most important idea is to differentiate between personalities and evil, itself. This is just as also necessary to differentiate between personalities and goodness. A person known to commit evil can also practice goodness.

It is also possible for a person known to practice goodness, to also commit evil. Evil and goodness should not be conflated with personalities. Those qualities exist without personalities. Although people are identified according to their general conduct, personalities and conduct are separate entities.

What remains hidden from humanity is that a human being is basically good. This is why some nations have even removed the death penalty from their statutes. The death penalty may have been justified before Jesus came. But through Jesus’ enlightenment, the death penalty can no longer be justifiable.

ZANU PF, through its policies, has committed heinous crimes that have caused serious divisions, in societies. Political traditions have infiltrated the entire spectrum of human society. Even Christian viewpoints are guided by political viewpoints. However, ordinary humanity is unaware of this reality.

Hating ZANU PF is not necessarily helpful to fix this country. Others assume that the hatred of ZANU PF is justified. But that hatred, alone, confirms that the person who hates would be in the same basket with ZANU PF. He/she might have sympathizers, but he would be practising ZANUism.

A typical example can be that of the Mthwakazi Republican Party, whose supporters draw comfort from the hatred of ZANU PF. Assuming that ZANU PF would be that bad, conditions their reasoning pattern to become as bad as ZANU PF. Hatred is attracted to hatred, just as love is attracted to love.

When Jesus rebuked Simon Peter, for suggesting hatred against Jesus’ enemies, He was enforcing what is uncommon. The entire world is in serious problems, only due to unawareness of this reality. Hating one’s enemies can be justified, but the hatred itself supports the enemy’s conduct.

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:21-24 NIV).

The person gloating at another person’s character assassination assumes becoming clean, in the process. But the same person would be committing a crime, against himself. Professor Jonathan Moyo was used by ZANU PF, to destroy MDC. He should now reflect on what caused him to escape death, from the same group, whose agenda he fully supported.

The killing of MDC people didn’t matter much, to Jonathan Moyo, until the same killers came for his life. In Jonathan Moyo, we see a person who may have assumed to be pursuing what was good for Zimbabweans. This goes for many other people like him.

The law of survival insists that what you do to others; you would be doing it to yourself. If doing what is good for others, you would be doing what is good for yourself. On the other hand, if doing what is evil, to others, you would be doing what is evil to yourself.

Rather than feed on the character assassination of other people, one needs to feed on the character enhancement of other people. Other people hold nuggets of goodness that need to be highlighted and enhanced. It is true that some people hold few good things to talk about.

However, even those little good things that one could talk about; when focusing on them, anyone could be enhanced from that level. As small as goodness could be, such goodness could be enhanced to blossom. This can be made possible through practising love, currently needed, crucially, in Zimbabwe.

God forgave a Person as evil as David, who killed Uriah, after an adulterous affair with his wife. Who, today, can judge God for calling David a man after His own Heart? “I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22). What I find to be the greatest weakness, with most people, in Zimbabwean politics, is the failure to forgive.

I shudder, to imagine the potential of people like Ray Kaukonde, Simba Makoni, and Mai Mujuru, to mention but a few. These are no longer in the public limelight. But, did they not hold something good to uplift our country? There are many other good people, with the potential to make positive contributions to uplift our country, although not politically.

The majority of them are sidelined, even in opposition camps, because of their previous association with ZANU PF. There is nothing dirty with politics, in my view, except those making it dirty. This includes those who seem to be enjoying the character assassination of others.

Character assassination is not always limited to politics. Even in Christian circles, one can find gifted preachers, whose potential contributions have been shut off. Most people fear projecting themselves into the limelight, due to their past records. If love covers a multitude of sins, why not cover the past appalling records, for the purpose of enhancing our country’s development?

The media appears as having succeeded in driving our nation to this weird condition. The idea of correcting the insidious trajectory, in our country, starts with educating media practitioners. What is good or bad should not be associated with personalities. The separation between personalities and good or bad character traits should be the motto that drives the media industry.

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. Most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope, in a simple conversational tone.

The Print copy is now available at for $13.99

Also available as an e-copy at  for $6.99