Zim doesn’t have a shortage of God: Making it a theocracy won’t lessen its troubles

Tichaona Zindoga

Just a few days ago, Professor Jonathan Moyo described opposition leader Nelson Chamisa as having a “God complex”.

According to Moyo, this “God complex” is such that Chamisa views himself as having been chosen by God to lead Zimbabwe and has “direct communication with God who has the last word on what he should do or say in public”.

Moyo made reference to this in the context of having worked with Chamisa between 2018 and 2021.

Other academic and experts who have worked with Chamisa such as Philani Zamchiya have made similar observations in the past.

Political scientists would be forgiven for having difficulties to embrace God as a factor in governance, administration or State issues.

As for Moyo, his criticism of Chamisa is often taken with a pinch of salt from the perspective of his long history or working against the opposition and in particular by dint of suspicions that he may have “sour grapes” against Chamisa.

Moyo is a sinner before God. Just like all of us.

However, Chamisa’s effusive display of the “God complex” in his manifesto launched in Bulawayo on Tuesday could be a serious talking point.

Within the text of the manifesto, dubbed Great New Zimbabwe, or his sermonising during the presentation, Chamisa displayed what could either be described either as arrogance – just to shame detractors like Moyo – or a particularly dangerous streak of delusion, which, if unchecked could divide the nation in the event that he becomes leader of Zimbabwe.

For starters, the majority of Zimbabweans are religious or acknowledge the existence of God, in one way or the other – with a Christian majority.

Notwithstanding, the majority of the populace doesn’t indulge such fervour as allow religion to rule their daily lives or allow the idea of a God to be the prism through which they daily see their lives.

This is a good reason why Zimbabwe is a secular nation, and will likely remain so.

Yet, Chamisa appears to believe otherwise – and this could be a concern to both believer and non-believer, as well as the general stakeholder and watcher of Zimbabwe.

The precise reason is not the belief per se, but what shines through as some shade of zealotry that can turn man into monster, nay, God; and lead to a dictatorship of this man-God who sees himself as righteous and infallible.

Let us demonstrate.

In the manifesto, Chamisa begins his foreword with the statement that, “The Citizens movement philosophy places God first and Citizens at the centre . . . ” and go on to mention God for over three dozen times in the 100 page document.

Assuming that citizens are people both in the opposition and outside, one can easily audit that Zimbabweans, religious as they are, do not ordinarily obsess over God either in their daily lives or in politics.

Until now, God has not been used as an instrument or unit of inspiration or instruction, even when we have had clergymen as politicians or politicians
courting the clergy and their flock.

Politicians have not promised the church heaven on earth, or precisely, a theocracy.

This would be neither achievable nor desirable in a modern, democratic society of the 21st century.

But in the manifesto, Chamisa promises, “Making Zimbabwe a God loving, God honouring and a God-fearing nation.”

This is as weird and misplaced because Zimbabwe doesn’t have shortage of God.

The danger is precisely because the country’s problems have been compounded in no small measure by either dishonest clergymen that have failed to be the conscience of the nation; or the threat of the nation being overrun by charlatans using God to steal from the poor.

The key issue is that God and religion are matters of faith and belief, and some unscrupulous people have been known throughout history to use God and religion to prey on vulnerabilities of people.

A politician that seeks to institutionalise religion and make the country submit to his God whom he professes to speak to is a dangerous proposition.

This is what Chamisa proposes among “detailed interventions” when he becomes President.

“A God-Fearing Nation – God First – God Is In It We will restore Zimbabwe back to God in honour, values, faith, worship and praise,” the document says in typical rambling fashion.

“We will give glory to God for all our victories, successes and gains,” says the
manifesto.
“We will restore the role
of the church as the custodians and guardians of conscience, morals and ethics of society. “The church shall provide a campus to government speaking truth to power.

“In this regard, we will create a special mechanisms, structure and institution to facilitate for the role of the church in governance,” Chamisa declares,
effectively proposing theocracy.

The extent of this proposed rule by religion is mind-blowing.

The manifesto states that, “We shall dedicate nation, country, its people and resources to God for His glory.

“We will rededicate Zimbabwe to God and rebuild the alter, covenant, decrees and ordinances.

The CITIZENS GOVERNMENT will create a conducive and an enabling environment for churches to worship God. Zimbabwe shall be known as a place of salvation, healing, redemption and restoration to the glory of God the Creator.

Zimbabwe shall be known for religious tourism and visitation.”

Many commentators from home and abroad will find these proposals not just fantastically bizarre and mind-blowing, but also impractical for a number of reasons.

God has so many manifestations and expressions to diverse groups, including Christians, Muslims, African traditionalists, Hindus and so forth.

There is no doubt that Chamisa will seek to elevate his Christian God. It will be facetious to argue otherwise.

If he were to achieve this, it would kick off a religious war that would consume and characterise his rule, at the expense of any other issue.

Chamisa has previously described some national icons and symbols as demonic.

The Government has no business policing people’s beliefs, much less presiding over them and speaking to God on their behalf.

The writer may be accused of taking an extreme view of the God policy proposals.

However, it has to be stated without fear or favour that Chamisa’s proposals amount to an abuse of the name of God.

In the science of politics this apparent obsession is also bizzare because God is known to belong to everyone, including his rivals who have from time to time also used church and religion as a campaign tool.

On election day, they will all pray to the same God for blessings.

Chamisa’s God claims are not a crime, let the reader understand.

They are just a curiosity

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