President’s age can’t be a manifesto or an ideology

TODAY’S sermon comes from Leviticus 19 vs 32 and Isiah 46 vs 4. This sermon was inspired by comments that followed the statement by Presidential spokesman Mr George Charamba who last week took time to explain the President’s medical trips to Singapore. A lot of hogwash was said, ndikati bodo regai ndiparidze. Tingowonesana.

As usual, allow me to divert a bit dear congregants.  So the Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi has been brought to mother earth? If you are not in the picture, Minister Mzembi was beaten in the race for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation secretary-general’s post. He lost by two votes to Mr Zurab Pololikashvilli from Georgia.

I know there are haters out there who can’t stand Minister Mzembi’s style, but hey, let’s give it to him – Minister Mzembi did put up a good fight. I almost believed that he was going to win.

However, there were so many odds against him but word doing rounds is that his greatest undoing was his sudden larger-than-Zimbabwe campaign strategy. The unfortunate and sad story is that Minister Mzembi was now seeing himself as a clever-boy, way above Zimbabwean politics. “I am now international material,” some say the Minister would boost occasionally.

To Minister Mzembi, the secretary-general’s post was to thrust him onto the international scene in preparation to fight for the Number One post in Zimbabwe. Well, not exactly now but of course in future.

When he was recently asked by the BBC’s Sarah Montague whether he would consider running for presidency after President Mugabe’s tenure, Minister Mzembi gave a response that showed that the race for the UNWTO post was creating worrying things in his head. “Well, if the people in the future decide that, I will respond. Who wouldn’t want to stand as president?. . .If offered the opportunity to be prime minister of Britain today, would you say nay?

“You answer the purpose and calling. I am a politician and the ultimate end in this journey is where it ends, isn’t it?” said Minister Mzembi. Hesi mhani. Pamamonya ipapo Mzembi! Kikikikiki!

As I listened to that interview and I said to myself, uuummm, the good brother is getting a bit drunk and mixed up. Look, its Minister Mzembi’s democratic right to aspire to be whatever, but zvimwe zvacho zvinoda kufunga about timing and kuti uri kumbotaura nani? One congregant quickly concluded that Minister Mzembi was telling the British that he was ready for any assignment in future. Ini zii zvangu.

Minister Mzembi had even become an expert in quite a few areas. He called for the adoption of the rand, despite the RBZ saying this was not a viable route. He even went on to advice South Africa not to follow Zimbabwe’s route in implementing its land reform programme. The Minister had gone international and these were his international views kwete zvenyu zvekuswera muchimhanyisana nepolitics dzeZanu-PF. His was an international audience.

But then Minister Mzembi forgot something very basic. Hativerengi mazanda huku isati yakandiraba. And so when I heard that he had lost, I felt the pain for him. Look, Minister Mzembi is a nice guy. He has lots of brilliant ideas and has lots of positive energy, but then can someone find me a perfect person?

Minister Mzembi is a smart guy. He will pick himself up because the UNWTO post cannot be the end of his colourful life. Thanks for the ride Minister. Like you rightly said, brand Zimbabwe was the greatest winner.

Now to today’s sermon. Leviticus 19 vs 32 says; “Rise in the presence of the aged and honour the elderly face-to-face. Fear your God. I am the Lord.” Isiah 46 vs 4 yoti; “Even to your old age, I will be the same. And even to your graying hair I will bear you! I have done it and I will carry you. And I will deliver you.” Someone say Amen!

Last Wednesday, Mr Charamba explained that President Mugabe’s physician is a black Zimbabwean practicing in the country and the Head of State and Government only flies to Singapore for specialised attention on his eyes on the advice of local opticians.

It was a very straightforward explanation, but the clearly tired opposition opportunists and their activists thought they could have a field day. They tried to seize the moment to justify their stance that President Mugabe should leave office. As your sober Bishop I laughed.

Mentioning that President Mugabe is 93 years old is not news anymore. We all know he is 93 years old. Blessed 93 years if you ask me. But this warped thinking that just because he is 93 and therefore should leave office is sickening. Age does not remove presidents from office. Its elections stupid!

Instead of wasting time, focusing on the President’s age, the opposition opportunists and their activists should start crafting some election manifesto. They should tell the wondering masses their ideology. The President’s age can’t be their manifesto and it certainly can’t be their ideology. By the way, even the dead-before-birth coalition cannot be a manifesto and it certainly can’t be an ideology.

There is one part of the statement by Mr Charamba which I found to be very touching. “It has to do with his eyes and often I have felt very, very pained. In fact, I feel like a failure when there is this reading that the President is sleeping in conferences. At 93, there is something that happens to the eyes and the President cannot suffer bright lights. If you look at his poise, he looks down, avoids direct lighting.”

As a Bishop I said to myself, why was Mr Charamba wasting his time explaining the obvious to these opportunists and activists who hear and see nothing good about the President? For goodness sake, the President is 93. What do you expect? And please don’t tell me the nonsense that he should leave office because if you think he should leave office, 2018 is around the corner. Get ready.

For now, let the President finish his term. He was overwhelmingly given that mandate by Zimbabweans in 2013 and when they gave him that mandate, Zimbabweans knew that in 2017 he would be 93.

As for the trips to Singapore, there is nothing amiss about it. He is the country’s President and the country should make sure he gets the best treatment. He is Zimbabwe’s treasure. There is no need to justify the trips at all. Asvotwa ngaawumbe wake president!

What is even more tragic is that those making noise about President’s Mugabe’s age have moving hospitals in their midst.

Varwere vane shungu dzebenzi kuda kuruma vhiri rebhazi. Kana pane anenharo iti pwee nditi vaMugabe naTsvangirai kwede muring yepfungwa. Tiwone dofo nderipi.

I would rather have a 93 year-old President with a sharp memory to lead this country than a sick 50 year-old who clearly is losing it. As Yoko Ono put it; “Some people are old at 18 and some are young at 90. Time is a concept that humans created.”

Drew Barrymore adds his voice saying; “Gravity and wrinkles are fine with me. They’re a small price to pay for the new wisdom inside my heard and my heart.”

I like Job 12 vs 12 which is emphatic. “Wisdom is with aged men. With long life is understanding.” Show me anywhere written wisdom is with sick men?

Legends like President Mugabe “don’t grow older. They grow riper.” So Mr Charamba, no need to explain this one. The President is well-covered as Leviticus and Isiah tell us.

Bishop is out!

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