The sanity of an individual can be remitted when able to distinguish between what he says, whether true or false. The person would be considered sane, when stating what would be true at any given time. But the same person would be insane, when saying what would be false, at any given time. Truth is truth, regardless of who says it. Recently, former Tourism and Hospitality Minister, Walter Mzembi received some unfair criticisms after posting the following, on his Twitter:
“Renaming of roads a vanity project out of context with the emergency business of unifying the country and fixing the economy. What’s in renaming roads you did not construct? Add new legacy roads and name them, leave our heritage intact with its lessons,”
This was followed by a barrage of criticisms, one of which stated:
”Listening and paying attention to guys like him is insult to our sanity. Not long ago he was enjoying the gravy train now that he is not on it he wants us to believe that he cares about the suffering povo. I know we should be critiquing the government or we are opposed to the government but as long as we believe that those who are renaming the streets are the same people to fix our economy we are in trouble for a very long time. It’s like asking the gardener to explain why there’s too much salt in the relish that the cook made. I don’t think every department of the government should be shut down because of one department. Haurege kukwesha man’a nokuti musoro unotema. The day I hear Nthuli talking about renaming streets I will get worried. As long as we don’t know what, how and when to criticize then we are doomed as a nation.”
This critic sounds as though totally opposed to the government of ZANU PF. But I would not be far from wrong if suggesting that the same person has all along been a ZANU PF supporter? This is a comment that exposes a person who wants to be seen as associated with the intellectually correct. Yet having all along also been a staunch supporter of the current establishment.
Our Zimbabwean crisis is fundamentally sustained by this kind of thinking and behavior. Many people project themselves as, actually, being patriotic, when hating those on the opposing side. This is why ZANU PF can never commend Ian Smith, even when clearly aware that the economy was well managed, before handing over the reins to Robert Mugabe.
I would not be surprised that many people applaud such critics, assuming that the hatred of ZANU PF personalities, brings positive change. Unfortunately, this is, actually, what has sustained the current bad condition, since Independence. There is no doubt that it is, actually, the guys like this Mzembi critic who insult our sanity, not the other way round.
This is just as it would be equally an insult to accept falsehood, on reason of it being said by someone whose past is acceptable. There is always a difference between a person and what comes out of his mouth, at any given time. Those who applaud destructive comments, on reason that such comments are from their heroes, would be insane. Hypocrisy is unacceptable, but that does not mean truth ought to be rejected, as long as coming from a hypocrite.
Jesus did not talk kindly of the Pharisaic hypocritical lot, but remained focused, hence stating: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice” (Matthew 23:2-3) (ESV).
I may not be one of Mzembi supporters, but I find what Mzembi said to be, actually, factual. As long as street-naming expeditions come from a government, as economically rotten as currently prevailing, Mzembi’s criticism is highly justified. Mthuli Ncube is, actually, the one who came up with the budget for such useless expeditions and is, therefore, privy to the street-naming idea.
The partisan nature of Zimbabweans is disgusting, being what has contributed to the current economic fiasco. The supporters of ZANU PF, solidly stand for what comes from their ZANU PF priests. Anyone opposing them, from their ranks, is regarded as a sell-out. The same applies of those from the opposition camp. It is not the best minds uniting to come up with best ideas. But the partisan minds uniting to oppose the other camp, for the sake of opposing.
“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’” (John 8:31-32) (ESV).
There is a huge difference between believing the word and placing one’s belief on personalities. Zimbabweans could easily be disabused, if taking cognizance of the fact that the destructive condition of our economy was caused by idolatry. Mugabe is currently viewed as having reduced our country to the existing poverty. But, who can dispute the fact that Mugabe’s behavior was sustained by multitudes of supporters, who were so loyal to him, even after the coup?
In Christianity, truth is known to come from one source and that source is God. Falsehood is also known to come from one source and that source being Satan. But a careful observation will reveal that it is only the principles that remain opposed to each other, just as light is opposed to darkness. However, most people limit judgment according to personalities, rather than principles.
Anything is said to be true, only as long as said by so-and-so, viewed as sacrosanct. Or anything is said to be false, as long as said by so-and-so, viewed as unacceptable. Such people find value in despising, or adulating personalities, according to the principle patterns of idolatry. There is need to reverse that mentality. Judgment should be based on what is said, whether true or false, rather than who said what is said, at any given time. Even as Zimbabwe languishes in, apparent, insurmountable challenges, answers may be right there, among those disregarded on reason of their previous conducts.
It is possible that anyone can come up with the most sensible opinion. But it is that person’s profile that causes adoption of his idea, rather than whether true or false. Nevertheless, it is that which people reject that is the cornerstone of deliverance. Jesus revealed this mystery after giving a parable of the tenants, who found value in killing the son of the landlord, due to their being evil:
“And they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.” Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:
“‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits” (Matthew 21:41-43) (ESV).
Sadly, what causes categorization of people appears as associated with pride, whose definition comes from consideration of being better than another person. The hidden truth remains in that there is no-one who represents truth, in this world, as truth stands independently. Therefore, there should not be any mortal person standing to claim being the representative of truth, except Jesus who died on the cross.
It is Jesus, who, accordingly, stated that if anyone was willing to adopt what He, Himself, said, that person would know the truth. And the truth would set that same person free. It is only the truth that sets people free, not human beings, necessarily. If someone from the ZANU PF camp says anything truthful, why should anyone oppose it, even when clear of it being truthful? Similarly, if someone from MDC says what is false, why should anyone support it, even when clear of it being untruthful?
In Jerusalem, some people, unnecessarily, rejected Paul, after his conversion—basing their judgment on Paul’s past record. Their behavior was as common as is the case, even today. They were basing their decisions on Paul’s background, rather than what Paul said at that given time. Those people would have rather concentrated on what Paul said, instead of focusing on Paul’s past record.
“And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, ‘He is the Son of God.’ And all who heard him were amazed and said, ‘Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?’ 22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ” (Acts 9:20-22) (ESV).
It is possible for a person to come in disguise of upholding what would be truthful, yet seeking only to advance what would be falsehood. That alone does not take away the fact that what the person utters would be truth—if indeed true. If your enemy states the fact that the sun rises from the east, would you just oppose that statement, because it is said by your enemy?
Freedom is achievable when people learn to distinguish truth from falsehood, regardless of who would be talking. In fact it is totally erroneous to consider personalities, when assessing truthful information. It is a matter of fact that the whites were good managers of the economy. But that does not mean that all whites were good managers of the economy. It is also a matter of fact that when a black leader took over in 1980, the economy went down the drain. But that does not mean all black people are bad managers of the economy.
A wise person is the one who learns from his adversaries, as well as learning from those who support him. That person knows how to reject falsehood, when adopting only what would be truthful. He also knows how to select truthful information, as opposed to falsehood. Zimbabwe would be better-off when the majority took this advice as words of wisdom.
However, Zimbabwe remains on the trajectory of downward spiral, when its people continue to be stuck on assumption of there being good and bad people. What exists is good and bad ideas, minus the fallible humans who, either adopt bad ideas, or good ideas. The real challenge is on the ability to choose what is good, as opposed to choosing what is bad.
The venerable truth is that Zimbabweans are their brother’s keepers. This is more factual than anything ever proffered in this world. For instance, your brother might be stuck in ZANUism. But that does not take away the fact that the same person would be your brother. He would be in need of your support, as to be salvaged from that state of stupidity. That person justifies himself as the most upright individual, under the sun.
Arguing with him can never solve matters. This is just as wishing the worst to happen on him does not solve anything. Causing him to be jailed, would also be unnecessary. His problem would be ignorance, more than anything else. Just acknowledge and accept his partisan viewpoints. Before seeking to help him understand what would be right, as opposed to what would be wrong.
Bear in mind that the person would be totally confused, as bereft of truthful information. You could be the best person to help him, as wisdom is God-given, and no-one should be tripped by it. Humility remains as the only effective means through which many people can be shown the truth. This is the only reason why Jesus advised His disciples to love their enemies:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:43-48) (ESV).
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from 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 reliefs to those having witnessed 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
Also available as an e-copy at Lulu.com for $6.99