Prophet Magaya (photo: B Kanhamora).

Prophet Magaya (photo: B Kanhamora).

POLITICS and religion remain among the most controversial topics in the affairs of man. Clergymen who dabble in politics are often viewed exclusively and somewhat treated with suspicion; they are often viewed as political players dressed in religious robes.

It would appear, to some, that there should be no interface at all between politics and religion. They suppose religious people ought to sheepishly obey everything thrown in their face by the political leadership of the day; that they may not question, contribute or suggest the course that a nation should take. It is quite a sad scenario.

This is quite unfortunate and a detrimental misunderstanding of the role of religion in general. We have seen the rights of people being trampled by governments while the church stands aloof.

We have seen the economic situation plummeting to unimaginable levels while the clergy looks on. We have had cases of sickening police brutality against defenceless citizens yet the church remains quite.

We have had cases of enforced disappearances and not much has been heard from the church.

Now, it was a bit refreshing a few days ago to have Prophetic Healing and Deliverance (PHD) leader Walter Magaya meeting with the Reserve Bank Governor John Mangudya over the introduction of the feared bond notes.

Magaya has told the national leadership to be wary of some of their policies. While it was a commendable thing for a religious figure to show his interest and speak for the common good, it raises eyebrows why Zimbabwean religious leaders would selectively apply their concerns over the issues bedeviling the nation.

Why would they engage the leadership over bond notes and not the demolition of houses for example? Isn’t it embarrassing that we have religious leaders who only spring to action when it is apparent that their own interests are at stake.

There was an uncharacteristic unity among some religious leaders in slamming the idea of bond notes. PHD leader Walter Magaya stood out in his widely­publicized meeting with the Reserve Bank Governor (RBZ), John Mangudya, in which he warned him of the ‘ills’ of bringing back the widely condemned notes.

As others have noted, bond notes would obviously negatively impact mega churches’ rich pickings in tithes and offerings and they would prefer the multicurrency system to remain operational, hence the interest seen through adding their voice to the national cause.

They have strangely expressed concern over a secular matter that affects the ordinary man.

In my view, it is embarrassing and all too obvious why contemporary religious leaders would only spring to action when their personal welfare is threatened?

They would, on the contrary, earn much respect if they were vocal in the many facets of social and economic life affecting the man in the street and not only when they see a threat to their gain. Why don’t we have religious leaders who can act for the common good in matters concerning how the nation is governed?

The church has a critical role to play in governance but one wonders: where is the church when people have their houses demolished by the same government they are engaging over the ills of bond notes?

Are bond notes a worse evil than demolishing people`s houses. Where are the popular religious leaders when vendors (who constitute the bulk of their followers) are being hounded from the streets and their goods confiscated?

Are these not innocent citizens trying to eke out an honest living? Why haven’t we heard a single religious leader standing out to seek an audience with the national leadership over the thorny issue?

Why haven’t they added their voice to ameliorate the suffering of these poor souls in a country were nine out of every ten people are jobless?

An accurate look on the record of most prominent religious leaders shows that they would rather stand aloof when the citizenry is suffering and their own welfare is not threatened.

Oftentimes, we have seen religious leaders dining and wining with the very policy makers they should be telling that the country is on fire.

The tendency has been to try and seek protection while neglecting to comment on matters of common interest.

Zimbabwe is in dire need of real religious people who can stand tall and speak truth to those in power.

Policies affecting the ordinary men must be highlighted. Religious leaders should not be misconstrued to be dabbling in politics when they highlight issues affecting the ordinary man.

Pastor Evan Mawarire has raised critical concerns in his flag campaign and on how there should be urgency in fixing the economy.

Although a lot has been said about his protest, it may be a noble thing that we have the religious world adding a voice towards resolving a crisis that has lasted over a decade.

Zimbabwe needs religious and spiritual leaders who take an active interest in issues of national governance. Let’s speak real truth to power.