Zimbabwe: The Anguish Of Misplaced Hope
I woke up this morning with a strange sense of hopelessness. Strange because only last night all that we have dreamed and hoped for as a people was realised: President Mugabe was deposed. I, like many of my countrymen, was caught up in the wave of ecstasy and optimism that has swept over our country in the last two weeks. For once in our lifetime we have hope for a better Zimbabwe. A Zimbabwe where we can live free from the tyranny of corrupt and evil leaders who are intoxicated with power; leaders who enrich themselves while their people perish from hunger and poverty.
The last two decades under Mugabe’s rule can be described in one word: despair. I have seen friends and family languishing in hospitals dying from diseases that have a cure. Others have died crossing borders while others have been killed in foreign countries- murdered ruthlessly by people who did not want them in their lands. Everywhere we have gone we have been ridiculed and abused – treated like the scum of the earth. All over the world we were held in derision, our human dignity debased, just like the land of our birth.
Personally, I have been an economic refugee for all of my adult life. I have lived in 4 countries since I left Zimbabwe at age 17 in search of a better life. I also grew up without my mother because she had to work abroad to keep our family afloat . I miss my home. I miss eating mulberries, mangoes and corn that grew so abundantly. I miss my friends who are now scattered all over the world, some of whom I’ll probably never see again. From the time I left Zim I have had to reconstruct my life four times over – sometimes living in a country where I knew absolutely no one. I have had to be content with seeing family every few years and maintaining relationships via skype and whatsapp. It’s been a hard life but I know I am one of the lucky ones. Others have suffered far worse.
So why did I wake up despairing today? Because I got caught up in the euphoria and chose to overlook the credentials of the men who are delivering this freedom to us. These men have stood by Mugabe all these years and are part of the same corrupt system that has kept Mugabe in power. These men we hail as our deliverers today, have been our oppressors for the last 37 years. And so today, on the morning after the fall of Mugabe, I woke up a little sober minded and I momentarily lost hope for our beautiful country. But God in his kindness gave me comfort from his word.
Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God. He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— he remains faithful forever. He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry.
We despair when we place our hope in anything other than God. I had put my hope in man rather than God. Emmerson Mnangagwa and General Chiwenga are not the deliverers of Zimbabwe. God is. They did not dethrone Mugabe. God did. For God is the one who “brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.” (Isa 40v23) And God does this because all “authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.” (Rom 13:1)
So tonight I go to sleep in peace. God, the sovereign ruler of all the world is in control. He’s got this. I do not know where Zimbabwe will go from here, whether we will live in a free and prosperous country again, but I know that God’s got a handle on it. Whether in poverty or plenty, God has a plan. I have lost so much in my life but I know that this life is only temporary. We have a hope that is certain, and that hope will not disappoint us, the hope of eternity spent with Christ. Men will disappoint us but God is forever faithful. We will live as freed men one day and enjoy without fear or regret the beautiful bounty of God’s creation. Until then, I will put my hope in God as I continue to pray for my beloved Zimbabwe