"Rescue those being led away to death. Hold back those staggering towards slaughter… Will He not repay each one according to what he has done?" Proverbs 24:11-12
Tuesday, 21 November 2017, Zimbabweans celebrated with jubilation, cheering, shouting, dancing and flags waving! The occasion was the overthrow of, 93-year-old dictator, Robert Mugabe. It was finally the end of 37 years of tyranny and oppression by the Mugabe-lead ZANU-PF, or so the people thought.
Mugabe was overthrown by military power, and replaced by his ex-vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa. Before his removal from vice-presidency on 6 November 2017, Mnangagwa was an ardent supporter of Mugabe and served, periodically, in ZANU-PF and its militant wing, ZANLA, for 55 years. He even served as the assistant and bodyguard to Mugabe. He led farm attacks and bombed a train in what is known today as Masvingo. Mnangagwa was the minister of state and oversaw the Central Intelligence Organisation. During his leadership, the infamous massacre of over 30 000 Ndebele people occurred. Mnangagwa’s guerrilla warfare and political tactics earned him the nickname “Crocodile”.
Zimbabwe’s New President
Mnangagwa was officially inaugurated as the third President of Zimbabwe on 26 August 2018 after narrowly winning the Zimbabwean general election, 2018. The election itself has been called into question by opposition party, MDC. But, the clearer controversy occurred after the election when MDC supporters began protesting in Harare and were met with live ammunition from military and police, at least 6 people were killed. People began to question whether or not this kind of behaviour would typify the reign of Mnangagwa.
Same Party Different Face
After his election as president, Mnangagwa was asked by sky news journalist about the controversial past of ZANU-PF. The new president responded “I do not regret; ZANU-PF does not regret acquiring our land again”. Here is the lesson which so many people do not seem to take note of. Mugabe was never the problem. Mugabe did many wicked things, but Mugabe himself was not the problem. Mugabe was simply the face of a wicked communist party. He was the public figure of the devious, Marxist ZANU-PF.
What Is Going On?
Today, many people are wondering what is going on in Zimbabwe. After the great celebrations following Mugabe’s fall from power and the cheers of freedom after the free and fair elections, has anything changed for the better?
Hope For the Future?
One of our missionaries recently returned from Zimbabwe and reported that, positively, one might believe that Mnangagwa has made some welcome surface level changes. The new president has ordered police not to harass whites or foreigners at road blocks. He has said that he wants to reverse the bad economy. He has made promises to bring commercial farmers back into the land.
Life in Zimbabwe
However, life in Zimbabwe is in a seemingly hopeless spiral of hardships and poverty. Most places do not have food. There is no real money to trade with because of circulation of “bond coins”. There are severe electricity shortages in Bulawayo and little to no medical supplies for local doctors. Patients are being examined with flashlights because there is no electricity in the hospital!
One of our contacts has rightly stated: “politically nothing has changed” “It is a new face, but the same government”.
Under Mugabe, the bond-coin was introduced. It was meant to be one-to-one promissory money with the US dollar. The only problem is that Zimbabwe does not have the American dollars to accommodate the amount of bond-money out there. The creation of bond-notes has taken the black market by storm, so that one can purchase about seven bond dollars for one American dollar. This means that technically one can purchase goods at one seventh of the actual price – if you have access to US dollars.
Zimbabwe has no investors and struggles to take out any more loans. The World Bank and International Monetary Fund cannot help Zimbabwe out anymore until Zimbabwe pays off more than £1 billion in debt arrears — money it does not have.
Where Has the Money Gone?
Derek Matyszak said, “Overspending by the government is behind the current downward spiral in Zimbabwe’s economy.” “The total budget deficit for the year is expected to surpass $2.3-billion – quite impressive for a country with a tiny national budget of $3.8-billion.” Add to that bloated civil services, practically no established industries or agriculture, and you have a disastrous situation. However, all of this pales in comparison to the enormous corruption and theft which is rife throughout the ruling government. Political leaders and their friends are living in luxury homes, driving luxury vehicles, all while normal citizens are not being paid salaries and cannot even afford basic medical and toiletry supplies.
No Money for the People
People stand in queues for money almost daily. ATM's limit services to depositing money only! The largest bill one can obtain is a 5-dollar bond note. The most common denomination is 10 and 50 cents coins. Major shops change prices up to 3 times per day. Many products are not even priced because inflation causes prices to fluctuate too frequently.
Cathy Buckle wrote of life in Zimbabwe, “The nightmare combination of no fuel, no bank notes, no medicine and a growing list of food and toiletries that aren’t available, has left us wasting our days in bank, food or fuel queues, hunting for necessities and doing outrageous calculations just to work out how to survive.”
On 26 October 2018, Cathy explained further, “Going shopping after a week is frightening; the prices of almost everything have gone up, not by a few percent but by 200 to 300%. In the past three weeks, rice has gone from $2.40 to $7.90; a tube of toothpaste from $1.29 to $3.00; a tin of fruit or vegetables from $2 to $5; a jar of coffee: $12 three weeks ago, then $17 and today $23.”
Marxism is the Problem
Two years ago, people were rioting in the streets, and calling for international attention because of their immense suffering. At the time, I commented on these events: “What we have now in Zimbabwe is a situation of people who are sick and tired of tyranny, poverty and lifeless existence. Many are finding their voice and crying out for justice. But, the main focus of their negative attention is on a dying dictator-Robert Mugabe and not the secular humanism and Marxist ZANU-PF he represents.”
It is the goal of marxists to keep people under their dictatorial rule through suffering, confusion and false promises of hope. The face of the political party may change. New policies may be instituted and even seem good. Greater freedom may be granted to people for a time. But, these are all distractions from the very real suffering which the marxist government has intentionally caused. By creating a small glimmer of hope, the abusive government creates a sense of dependency within the citizens they are abusing.
Hope for Zimbabwe
Thankfully, there is hope for Zimbabweans. We praise God for faithful ministers of the Gospel who are declaring that there is peace with God through the Cross of Christ. In Christ we can have peace with each other. We can even have peace when we are persecuted by evil men and women.
We praise God for Christian brothers and sisters who remain positive and show the love of Christ to others living in a dark, sin-soaked world. In Zimbabwe, I have met some of the humblest and most peaceful people I have ever known.
Help for the Hurting
There are still people living outside of Zimbabwe who are regularly praying for and assisting those who are in Zimbabwe. Frontline Fellowship has been assisting suffering people and ministering to confused Christians in Zimbabwe for over 36 years. Please continue to keep these efforts and the important work of other ministries in your prayers.
It is my hope and prayer for my friends in Zimbabwe that more people will find their voice and react to their situation with Biblical wisdom and prayerful action. Their desire should be Reformation and not revolution. Godly, discerning leaders are needed. Those who fear God and keep His commandments should be those who have the loudest voices and be the anchor of morality and reason in this time of confusion.
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him” James 1:12
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