By now it should be unquestionably clear that there are two things that are bogging down our determined and collective efforts to escape the clutches of begriming poverty: corruption and sanctions.
And, if you add the ever-looming and lingering effects of climate change, whose impact is keenly evident through low food stocks in our granaries and blinding power blackouts, you are likely to have a toxic combo that is ultimately testing our resolve as a people and as a generation.
You see, corruption is a Frankenstein monster we deliberately created during the Hobbesian state that existed before the November 2017 political transition, where our vile excesses reigned supreme, partly because of the bare-knuckled political contestation that obtained then or partly due to the economic morass induced by sanctions.
So big has the monster grown that it now bestrides our tiny republic like a “Colossus”, and as William Shakespeare would have said, “we petty men” — Bishop Lazi and the hoi polloi — “walk under his huge legs, and peep about to find ourselves dishonourable graves.”
No ordinary mwananchi
It is perfectly understandable for some among us to think that the fight against corruption has already been lost long before the battle has even begun, as the wheels of justice continue to turn painfully slowly.
When we had a changeover in Government in 2017, we delusionally envisioned hordes of pot-bellied politicians and gold-collared fat cats being frog-marched to prison in those hideous garments, condemned to a life of penitence for pillaging the country.
How wrong we were.
The lesson we have learnt is that you obviously cannot kill a monster with a fly-swatter.
Well, monsters take guts, indomitable willpower and a heavy dose of prayer to upend, if you are to believe Tanzanian President Dr John Magufuli.
Some time back; in fact, during the inauguration of the East African country’s parliament in Dodoma on November 20 2015, President Magufuli, who is nicknamed the “Bulldozer”, famously remarked that being fearless and impartial only would not cut it.
“I will fight corruption without fear or favour. I will personally lead the charge…pray for me and support me in this war because those involved are not the ordinary mwananchi.” Kikikiki.
Ordinary mwananchi are those who are arraigned before the courts every day for stealing trinkets or for being involved in a scuffle, but the extraordinary mwananchi know how to buy justice in courtrooms, silence in newsrooms and power from politicians.
Our own local mwananchi have had over two decades to hone their skills and perfect their craft through creating labyrinthine networks to evade justice.
In an environment where corruption has become so pervasive, we all become culpable.
The Bishop once shared with you the biblical story in Genesis 18 of Abraham’s unsuccessful bargain with God, where he wanted the perverted city of Sodom and Gomorrah to be spared for the sake of the righteous that lived in it.
Long story short: not even a single righteous soul could be found in the city and it was destroyed.
We have all sinned.
We are all sinners
This is why the Bishop takes exception to and is suspicious of holier-than-thou countrymen who are trying too much to style themselves as the vanguard against corruption.
The stunt pulled by the now suspended Zanu-PF Youth League members — Lewis Matutu and Godfrey Tsenengamu — to grandstand by naming and shaming businessmen they believe to be involved in grand corruption is very unfortunate.
In fact, it is more distracting than it is helpful.
There is everything unpalatable about ostensibly senior members of the ruling party choosing an unsanctioned platform to make bald accusations against purportedly corrupt people.
Not only does it show carelessness and recklessness, but it seemingly betrays a serious lack of faith in the party’s ability to act against corruption, including the ability of State institutions to act on the same.
Also, not only does it offend the principles of natural justice by being hopelessly and helplessly presumptuous, but it is both ill-timed and ill-advised as well.
Well, if such supposedly influential members of society feel so impotent as to resort to public stunts to fight corruption, what hope are we likely to have as mere mortals?
But, where Bishop Lazi comes from, when an owl flies during the day, it becomes known that something is after its life.
The story of the adulterous woman who was arraigned before Jesus for judgment in John 8:1-11 is therefore instructive.
Most poignantly, Jesus asked the lynch mob who were ready to mete out justice against the woman: “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” (John 8 verse 7).
Remember what I said earlier: we have all sinned. This is why for the Bishop it was not so much about the suspended youthies’ presser than what prompted it.
All will be revealed in good time.
It is hardly surprising that the anti-corruption crusade is taking longer than initially expected since virtually all institutions are being repurposed by jettisoning corrupt gremlins that used to man them.
They are also being refocused to diligently deal with the mammoth task at hand.
Re-orienting and reawakening these institutions from a two-decades-old slumber is undoubtedly a daunting task.
Zacc is now in good shape and the process of sharpening its teeth is nearing completion, while work at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has begun in earnest with the recruitment of additional 291 prosecutors.
More work still needs to be done at the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).
However, the inter-agency platform for cooperating in corruption cases looks very promising.
But as this grand project takes shape, and as the heat is progressively turned on, expect more chaos as panic sets in.
When, not if, the season of high drama begins, also expect accusations and counter-accusations, press statements and even lawsuits.
It shall all come to pass.
You see, there is an art to life just as they can be method in madness sometimes.
At no point in our recent history has the country’s anti-sanctions lobby been as efficient and effective as it currently is under President ED’s administration.
Or haven’t you seen the African Union’s recent statement which unequivocally called on the United States of America and European Union (EU) to remove the “universal coercive measures” against both Zimbabwe and Sudan.
It gets better.
Well, the AU is actively considering sending a delegation to Washington to try and persuade the regime to reconsider its position.
Well, admittedly the sanctions might not be lifted tomorrow, but it is these series of milestones that will ultimately win with war.
They will come a time when these progressively mothballing efforts will become too big to ignore.
Galatians 6:9 tells us: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
It seems doomsday critics who are patiently waiting for the country to fall off the cliff might have to wait forever.
Tough times do not last, but tough people do.