THE Nigerians have a witty maxim that a man who cannot tell where the rain began to beat him cannot know where he dried his body. It is a prudent man, even as legendary writer, Chinua Achebe would go on to highlight, who will seek to understand just where the rain began to beat him.
It is true that one can only offer a remedy to a problem if they have full grasp of its formation.
Today among many others, we look with bewilderment how we, Zimbabweans, decorated for working hard, began to embrace a diversionary message (of breakthroughs and instant riches) that props up laziness by blaming the invisible when we should clearly see how politics has racked our lives.
The modern prophet has heaped blame for people’s woes on everything except the politician.
A few weeks ago, I sat across a table at a youth religious seminar where I was scheduled to speak, listening to three ardent followers of the modern prophet movement taking turns to lampoon the opposition movement’s call to register and vote.
Apparently, the men were in consensus that politics is beyond the Zimbabwean crisis but that there were curses to be broken.
Quite sadly, perhaps for fear of reprisals, of the first three speakers before me, none spoke scathingly against the current establishment despite its apparent legacy of corruption and economic destruction.
The bulk of the speakers at the seminar, serve for a prominent banker and I, went on to buttress the popular school of thought on “breaking generational curses” and “claiming your breakthrough” much to the youthful audience’s delight.
With its current influence overshadowing the traditional approach to religion, the prophetic movement continues to pile weight on curses and stinginess as the ultimate causes of the misery that millions of Zimbabweans find themselves in.
By giving (seeding) it is believed personal success is achieved. What to me is tragic is how such a diversionary, divisive and progress-arresting message has been enthusiastically received by hordes of youths in Zimbabwe. It has become some gospel of truth.
When the time eventually came for me to speak at the seminar, I had a real mountain to climb. It meant overturning a message that had been driven with ferocity and precision to the young minds at the gathering.
I had the arduous task of pointing out that there was no curse in the individual lives of Zimbabweans but that some men and women who had taken to plundering the resources that should belong to all had created all this.
I had the weighty task of pointing out that the almost 90 per cent unemployment rate in the country had little to do with one’s ancestry as has been poisonously drilled into the minds of many by modern day prophets to the young mind.
I had to fight against political illiteracy at a religious seminar much as the speakers before me had struggled to shift blame from politics to mythical curses.
On reflection, later, after the fiery seminar, I realised the need to revisit the prophetic movement in Zimbabwe, and particularly in Africa, to really try and prise open where the rain began to beat us just, as Nigerians would say.
Because of inability to look back and interrogate how things came to this, we end up believing the uncanny message from the prophets casting blame on the wrong things and acting as diversionary tools for the lazy politician.
It is actually ironic on closer analysis, that anyone would want to blame invisible forces for things clearly done by the visible.
Zimbabwe faces a plethora of problems, from a comatose economy to a leadership crisis that has festered the wound of poverty.
Around the year 2009, the introduction of the United States currency saw an unholy increase in young men flocking to West Africa to be mentored on the immensely popular brand of Christianity that focuses on instant riches and miracles.
With most African economies broken down, hopes shattered this message began selling as cold drinks would sell in a desert.
It was a filler-message, a counterfeit to the original gospel of Jesus Christ that resonated well with the suffering at the time.
And today it has become almost impossible to drive people to sense. Imagine a university graduate who finished in 2012 and has yet to find employment five years on (quite rare in well-run economies).
Picture young women in their mid-20s who are yet to get married. Visualise people with chronic conditions like those wheelchair bound.
Imagine business upstarts hoping to establish themselves. These, among many other such people, formed the primary target group of the prophetic movement around 2009 in Zimbabwe.
It is no wonder that this deceitful message of prosperity will win a significant chunk of followers anywhere in Africa.
And yet it’s actually the politics that is bad. It’s more like tying people’s desperations to what one promises to give in return for money.
The prophets at the front of this message are fabulously rich as they promise ending suffering if people seed to them.
It is ‘criminal’ and an adulteration of true Christianity if one closely looks at it. This breakthrough and curses message is the biggest religious hoax of current times. There was never a curse in the individuals’ lives of Zimbabweans that killed industry and wrought corruption. It is actually the politician to blame; the one who has inflicted suffering upon his fellow men and not some imaginary forces.