LAST week Zimbabwe marked its 35th independence anniversary amidst horrific happenings across the Limpopo where its sons and daughters are being mowed down like grass by fellow Africans. Though people forged an air of normalcy at the national celebrations, we all moved about with the dreadful images of our persecuted brothers and sisters imprinted on our minds.

It’s no secret that the last 15 years have been smoldering. That close to 3 million Zimbabweans are living in South Africa is clear testimony that home is no longer best. “Here not safe, home not safe” were the words of one man during the xenophobic attacks. The economic deterioration has been unrelenting.

Against this backdrop, over the last five years, scores of self proclaimed ‘men and women of God’ have risen who continue speaking prosperity and declaring abundance in a land teeming with poverty. They are well-known by their opulent lifestyles, even rivaling millionaire business moguls.

These men and women have had phenomenal success evidently because of what they promise. I guess the man was right who said, “You can only talk to a hungry man in terms of bread.” They have prophesied economic boon at every turn. Year in, year out we have heard, ‘Zimbabwe will flow with honey’ and ‘Zimbabwe soon will be Africa’s economic hub’.

It is crucial to check whether these prophecies of prosperity are in sync with the situation on the ground. The Bible imposes very stringent requirements on all people who claim to speak for God. There is impregnability about a message that comes from God: it is flawless and fail-safe: “… When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follows not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: though shall not be afraid of him” (Deuteronomy 18:21-22). The true prophet of the Lord predicts with exactness that which comes to pass.

This verse is simply saying that it’s either a prophet is true or fake – no neutrals. From biblical times to date, false prophets have existed alongside genuine ones. The distinction, though, has always been clear; for instance when Elijah contended with the prophets of Baal he prevailed. When Moses’ rod turned into a snake, pharaoh’s prophets did likewise but theirs were swallowed in an apparent show of dominance. God’s true prophets never fail; they are always spot-on because they do not speak things of their own. They speak for God and as a result are accurate ten out of ten times. There is no margin for error in their prophecy.

Now, this new breed of prophets that has risen deserves scrutiny as they are merchants of promising congregants wealth daily? I will not misdirect myself by jumping from a myriad of prophecies we have been subjected to but I will confine this article to the one prophecy that we all know has been delivered by all the well-known prophets in Zimbabwe: economic prosperity. I am not making this up because the record speaks for itself. “The Lord is setting Zimbabwe free from economic bondage … divine solutions are coming”, we have been told. Ironic, isn’t it? Absolutely detached from the situation on the ground, isn’t it?

It seems we, as a people, have become so weighed down by social distress that we have lost the power of objective foresight. How can we honestly be made to believe, every year that we will experience miraculous boom when jobs are being lost daily? The poverty and suffering is deepening. Currently, a combination of perennial poor planning and adverse weather conditions threatens to unleash one of the severest food crises Zimbabwe has witnessed in the past few years.

Further, indications are that up to 30 percent of the national food crop planted this season is a complete write off. The unemployment rate is perched at close to 90% and one can only imagine the turmoil. Add to that, the menacing liquidity crunch which has made conducting business in the country as easy as breathing under water.

Company closures continue unbridled as the fangs of the economic crisis sink deeper. The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) stated that 300 workers are being retrenched each week. Evidently, the economy is in comatose. The economic grind has created a breeding ground for a plethora of social ills. It’s really sad!

Now the question is; when will this prosperity we have been promised in the last 5 years come? Are these men and women really speaking for God? Are they true prophets at all?

Clearly, nothing exposes these so-called prophets than the situation on the ground.