Zimbabweans will find Chamisa's Zimbabwe bird remark quite offensive

Zimbabweans will find Chamisa's Zimbabwe bird remark quite offensive
Published: 19 April 2019 (189 Views)
SOME people make it impossible for anyone to misquote them or exaggerate about them.

Just when you thought politicians across the divide would tone down on rhetoric in the spirit of Independence Day celebrations this week, MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa had this to say: "That Zimbabwe Bird symbol is part of our problem. We must deal with institutional idolatry."

Yes, people across the political divide or whoever can and do speak out of turn. They can say something erroneous, foolish, or impudent at an inappropriate time, or speak when they do not have the authority or qualification/expertise to do so, but what Chamisa said just about beats them all in terms of being way out of line.

For one, Zimbabwe is not a theocracy, but a constitutional democracy. Two, while the majority of Zimbabweans are professed Christians, this does not make Zimbabwe a Christian state, because the Constitution stipulates freedom of worship, meaning there cannot be an officially sanctioned religion. This essentially makes Zimbabwe an inter-faith nation.

Said a fellow Zimbabwean: "This is exactly why I have consistently and unapologetically said that religion is dangerous for our people. My late grandmother is a Shiri (Bird as her totem), so the subject matter hits quite closer to home for me."

As one can see, many Zimbabweans will find Chamisa's remark quite offensive because it hits at the core of their identity, their deeply-held values and beliefs.

Religious wars throughout history have been caused by those saying their way of worshipping, doctrine or dogma is the one and only one. This made a strong and compelling case for the separation of State and religion.

Religion, in wrong hands, can be a most hateful, divisive, toxic and dangerous weapon.

Ian Smith used religion to justify his brutal racist suppressive rule by saying he wanted to preserve "Christian civilisation", when it was actually to perpetuate rule of the white minority comprising only 5% of the population.

Apartheid South Africa also used religion to discriminate against blacks, conveniently interpreting the Bible reference to "hewers of wood and drawers of waters" as referring to black people.

Chamisa is strongly advised to tone down his language. He ought to be careful not to mislead his followers.

Earlier this year, he said he would "simply pray and everything will come to a standstill" for President Emmerson Mnangagwa, but if it was as simple as a prayer, why didn't he pray for the Constitutional Court to declare him the winner of the July 30, 2018 presidential election?

Don't get me wrong that I am totally against Christianity. Not at all. I was brought up in the Wesleyan Methodist (now Methodist Church in Zimbabwe) tradition, but in different circumstances, I could have been raised in the Catholic or even Muslim tradition. It's only that my parents happened to be Christians that I too became a Christian. And it's only that my parents happened to be Methodist that I also became a Methodist.

It's like an accident of birth because no one has any control of, or responsibility for, the circumstances of their birth or parentage.

And so it is with religious beliefs, meaning what is important is religious tolerance and religious accommodation.

After all, the MDC Alliance, which, like a broad church, is supposed to accommodate a wide range of different opinions and ideas, should be a microcosm of Zimbabwe made up of both believers and non-believers, Christians and Muslims, pentecostals and non-pentecostals — unless Chamisa is now saying, by implication, by dint of hint, by imputation, that party members must not only be Christian, but pentecostal as well because all that he says comes back to the party he leads as its public face and authoritative voice.

Or is Chamisa presenting himself as the ultimate authority on Christianity? Has he elevated himself to spokesperson for the whole Christian community in Zimbabwe?

Or does he speak for Christendom, the worldwide body or society of Christians? Chamisa cannot be all things to all men.

Observed one Zimbabwean: "This thing of a pentecostal preacher doubling as a politician doesn't work."

Indeed, it doesn't work because it is a throwback to that dark and unenlightened age when not only constituional democracy did not exist at all, but the very idea of it was inconceivable.

That said, there is nothing unique or idol-worshipping about Zimbabwe having a representation of a wild animal as a national symbol.

The United States has the Bald Eagle as its national emblem, South Africa has the Springbok, Britain has the Lion — the list is long.

So, what's idolatry about the Zimbabwe Bird to differentiate it from America's Bald Eagle, South Africa's Springbok, Britain's Lion and so on and so forth?
If that is "institutional idolatry", then Zimbabwe is very much in good company and the issue is past raising.

But, as has become their spuriously selective habit, they single out the Zimbabwe Bird in the government crest as symbolising idolatrous worship, but overlook the fact that the MDC's own party logo has that very same Zimbabwe Bird featured prominently — the same way they condemn violence associated with the State while turning a blind eye to violence in their own party.

Like are they saying only the Zimbabwe Bird on the government crest represents idolatry while that on their party's logo is exempted from idolatry.

As one can see, these people have little or no sense of contradiction and no sense of hypocrisy whatsoever, and that is the main source of the problems facing the nation — not the Zimbabwe Bird.

Conway Nkumbuzo Tutani is a Harare-based columnist. Email: nkumbuzo@gmail.com

- newsday

 0

You May Like These Videos

Comments

There are no comments.

Latest stories

Comedian Gonyeti abductued and tortured

by Mandla Ndlovu | 22 August 2019 | 72 Views

Phelekezela Mphoko exposes ZANU PF killing secret?

by Mandla Ndlovu | 22 August 2019 | 104 Views

Ginimbi throws lavish party for journalists

by Mandla Ndlovu | 22 August 2019 | 67 Views

PHOTOS: Guns fired at MDC MP's house

by Mandla Ndlovu | 22 August 2019 | 70 Views

Kembo Mohadi sucked into murder of World Vision employee?

by Mandla Ndlovu | 22 August 2019 | 88 Views

The right man to convene Mnangagwa-Chamisa dialogue revealed

by Nicholas Ncube | 22 August 2019 | 86 Views

Bulawayo woman killed in United Kingdom

by Mandla Ndlovu | 22 August 2019 | 47 Views

Rule of law is for us, claims Mnangagwa

by Staff reporter | 22 August 2019 | 36 Views

25 new buses for civil servants launched

by Staff reporter | 22 August 2019 | 49 Views

Mobile base stations to resume normal service as load-shedding eases

by Staff reporter | 22 August 2019 | 41 Views

Zanu-PF getting ready for 2023 elections

by Elijah Chihota | 22 August 2019 | 40 Views

Bhasikiti hacks lover to death

by Staff reporter | 22 August 2019 | 63 Views

Mnangagwa demands loyalty

by Staff reporter | 22 August 2019 | 48 Views

TelOne FC officially unveils Rahman Gumbo

by Staff reporter | 22 August 2019 | 43 Views

Pirate taxi passengers beat up lone gunman

by Staff reporter | 22 August 2019 | 47 Views

Zimbabwe stands strong after MDC-Alliance conspiracy to cause chaos

by Nduduzo Tshuma | 22 August 2019 | 38 Views

Govt to guarantee 99-year leases

by Staff reporter | 22 August 2019 | 49 Views

Monthly inflation drops: ZimStat

by Staff reporter | 22 August 2019 | 43 Views

'New Zimdollar not priority,' says Mthuli Ncube

by Staff reporter | 22 August 2019 | 46 Views

Mushowani on the verge of collapse

by Staff reporter | 22 August 2019 | 24 Views

Binga bemoans high telecoms costs

by Staff reporter | 22 August 2019 | 26 Views

Raja tears into 'venomous' Grant Flower

by Staff reporter | 22 August 2019 | 23 Views

Gwanda suburb residents build Blair toilets

by Staff reporter | 22 August 2019 | 25 Views

Mnangagwa launches PSC Strategic Plan

by Staff reporter | 22 August 2019 | 23 Views

Mobile money cash out: RBZ headache

by Staff reporter | 22 August 2019 | 27 Views

Currency devaluation slashes Zimbabwe wages by 90%

by Bloomberg | 22 August 2019 | 25 Views

Zec in quandary over delimitation exercise

by Staff reporter | 22 August 2019 | 24 Views

Robberies spike in Bulawayo

by Staff reporter | 22 August 2019 | 19 Views

Potraz promises to revamp ICT in Binga

by Staff reporter | 22 August 2019 | 24 Views

MDC chairman buried

by Staff reporter | 22 August 2019 | 24 Views

Abduction fears grip MDC members

by Staff reporter | 22 August 2019 | 26 Views

BCC mulls tuition fee hike

by Staff reporter | 22 August 2019 | 23 Views

Zimbabwe civil service top heavy, bloated

by Staff reporter | 22 August 2019 | 24 Views

Gudyanga trial commences

by Staff reporter | 22 August 2019 | 35 Views

Mnangagwa's government: The mask has slipped

by Nqaba Matshazi | 22 August 2019 | 36 Views

Mnangagwa's govt must address economic fundamentals

by Editorial - Newsday | 22 August 2019 | 31 Views

'More Zimbabwean families survive on diaspora remittances'

by Staff reporter | 22 August 2019 | 24 Views