Did Robert Mugabe change from good to evil?

Advocate Nelson Chamisa is on record, stating having respect for Mugabe the young, not Mugabe the old. The question of whether Mugabe ever possessed goodness can be left for another day. But life is guided by two principles opposing each other—altruism and self-centeredness. A good man is altruistic, while an evil man is self-centered. A person’s character can be judged according to these two divergent principles. Paul described the love of money as the root of all evil.

“Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:9-11) (NIV).

Let us, therefore, analyze the typical behavior of business people, as known today. A well-known business tycoon by the name, “Tiny” Rowland, staunchly supported Joshua Nkomo, during the liberation struggle. The reason being that he had observed Ian Smith’s policies as not sustainable. Rowland befriended himself with the late Joshua Nkomo—appearing as would become the future leader of Zimbabwe.

Sadly, for “Tiny” Rowland, Mugabe was voted into power in 1980. For a businessman of his caliber, it didn’t take long before shifting his allegiance. When Joshua Nkomo fled to the UK, during the Gukurahundi debacle, his port of call would be to his “good” old friend, “Tiny” Roland. To the shock of his life, Nkomo discovered that “Tiny” Roland had shifted his allegiance to Robert Mugabe. “Tiny” Rowland would not give audience to him anymore.

His roots were now with Mugabe, notwithstanding what was then happening in Matabeleland. Any gullible person would assume that Roland was right, supporting the government of the day. But Roland’s actions were driven by his business interests in Zimbabwe. His wealth, extracted from Zimbabwe’s gold mines, became more important than the life, of a loser in that election.

Obviously, to Roland, it was not the freedom of the people that mattered. It was the freedom to loot the mineral resources of Zimbabwe. Another clear example is that of Eddy Cross, a former supporter of the MDC party. What caused Eddy Cross to dump MDC, being one of its founders, could not have been a matter of principle. But what could have caused him to join the MDC, in the first place? Clearly, it was not about human dignity, but the business interests. To most business people, nothing could be sweeter than ED’s “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra.

No-one knows what business interests were to be offered to Eddy Cross, for him to dissociate with MDC. But, certainly, that interest had nothing to do with whether ED was better than Mugabe or not, on matters of human rights violations? Ostensibly, most whites paid a blind eye to what was happening in Matabeleland, during the Gukurahundi debacle. Their businesses had not been affected. Most of them, probably, even financed Mugabe to pursue his criminality.

David Coltart, being one of the few white-man voices against the Matabeleland atrocities, maybe the only one still with the MDC. This narrative is for the readers to appreciate the difference between altruism and self-centeredness. When failing to observe such differences, one easily gets befriended with real enemies. That means keeping company with those who would be sure to stab you at the back. Let us look at the background of Judas Iscariot:

“Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it” (John 12:3-6) (NIV).

Those associated with Christian churches pursue goodness, aware that such behavior leads to salvation. But there are those naturally inclined to do well, as compared with those whose behavior and actions would be evil. Actually, many things are labeled as good, when the opposite would be true. This is as many testimonies attributed to God’s blessings, may not be from God. People celebrating may appear as God’s people, yet not.

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Nothing is wrong with celebrations. But this does not, necessarily, mean that those celebrating would be always good’s people, necessarily. Also, when a person is not blessed materially, that does not, necessarily, qualify him to be regarded as good. While goodness brings spiritual rejuvenation, associated with joy and happiness, joy and happiness can also be derived from the material things of this world.

We have unhappy people, due to abject poverty. Yet we also have extremely happy people, even though associated with abject poverty. It is also true that we have extremely wealthy people, appearing as enjoying heavenly life on earth. But no-one can dispute that this world carries the extremely wealthy, but very unhappy people. The suicidal statistics include wealthy people known to have terminated their lives in such morbid cases.

This is what describes some of the ironies of this life. It is not difficult to understand, though, when clear of the difference between good and evil. When unable to see the differences, one continues to fumble in wickedness. This is just as Jesus’ killers, assumed that they were, actually, doing the right thing. The characteristics emanating from the mind that leads to either goodness or wickedness are different from either wealth or poverty.

However, no human was ever born evil. A person succumbs to evilness, due to exposure to an evil environment. As this world is generally evil, the righteous ones tend to blend with an evil environment. The one who becomes righteous, even in the face of evil environment is peculiar. On a daily basis, all human beings are faced with having to make a choice between good and evil.

The guiding philosophy is within the conscience of the individual. The propensity to do what is good stems from the inherent behavior of an individual. But, the propensity to do evil comes from unnatural human behavior. A person who does what is evil is not honest to himself and to those around him. Let us analyze the behavior of Judas Iscariot:

“Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages. ” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it” (John 12:5-6) (NIV).

Certainly, nothing appears wrong with the complaint against the irregular spending? What Judas said, made a lot of business sense, to the naïve. But the above scripture shows that the man did not care about the poor, at all. He may have fooled a few, among the disciples. But he, certainly, could not fool Jesus who knew what went on, in His mind. Jesus also knew the significance of the expensive oil phenomenon:

 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.  You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” (Verse 7-8) (NIV).

True, indeed, the poor are still with us, as long as those behaving like Judas continue to exist. Africa is a poor continent, attracting many wealthy donors from across the world. But rarely does that money benefit the, actual, poor people. Those managing the donor funds are, probably, among the wealthy people of this world. Although not all may be included in such corruption.

There are people who work tirelessly, soliciting for funds to help the poor, when they would be the ones benefitting, instead. The good-natured donors give generously, assuming to be giving to the poor. They do so, without knowing that it would, actually, be those campaigning on behalf of the poor who benefit. This is why Jesus said, “You will always have the poor among you.”

Capitalism is highly regarded, in terms of generating prosperity and employment for the poor. The only problem is the motive of the competition behind capitalism. The capitalists associate with the esoteric clubs, sharing experiences in business world—not human survival. They drive expensive cars, some of them courting high-class girl-friends. It would be a joke to tell such tycoons that there could be anything better, surpassing what they would be experiencing.

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus.  He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight” (Luke 16:13-15) (NIV).

One rich young man, came to Jesus, seeking to gain access to God’s Kingdom. Apparently, the young man might have been among the few, appreciating that Jesus was the Christ. He had been aware of God’s coming Kingdom. It is quite interesting to notice that he addressed Jesus as “Good Master.” Such honor is typical of those desiring fair treatment, from luminaries.

And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, “Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:16-24) (AKJV).

When carefully analyzing this Scripture, the young man was, probably, a good law-keeper. He must have, actually, been a faithful tithe-payer, according to the Jewish customs. He was blessed, according to the promises (Malachi 3:8-12). To Jesus, he even attests to having been a faithful commandment keeper. Where could his problem emanate from then? What Jesus said does not, necessarily, mean that to acquire God’s Kingdom one has to sell everything.  

If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:3) (NIV). No-one can pay any price to acquire God’s Kingdom. It is a question of whether a person is driven by self-centeredness or altruism, in all his endeavors. Life, itself, is enjoyable. But what makes a person happy, is what determines whether the person would be good or evil?

As humans, we are limited to what is said, or promised. What is hidden cannot be accurately understood by humans. But the person concerned and God would know everything. Ordinary humans are limited to what manifests in the outcome, manifesting in the damage that would have been caused. Therefore, the outcome is the one that shows the type of man Mugabe was.

There is nothing like Robert Mugabe the young, to be compared with Robert Mugabe the old. Advocate Nelson Chamisa is better advised to understand these hidden principles. Otherwise, he could as well be walking in the same path that Robert Mugabe walked. Many young people easily find themselves admiring people without evaluation of their characters.

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

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