While at primary school, I served Mass as an “altar boy”.
It felt good and pure and I loved it.
We recited litanies of praise and worship in memorised Latin as we kept in synch with the priest who spoke the same.
But while all looked fluent, there was a difference.
Saying Mass in Latin in front of bare-footed worshippers, who hardly understood English, let alone Latin, seemed exotic.
Yes, it did. I never thought of the villagers who faithfully attended Mass but went home without understanding anything. I didn’t understand anything either but I was happy with my memorized Latin. There was a certain mystique about it all.
I continued the chanting and served Mass even when I got to Secondary School but this time, I was taking Latin as a subject and found out that for years, I had been admitting to faults without knowing it.
Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa, I chanted with heartfelt religious faith.
Today, I hide my face as I mumble the same words but with meaning.
It is my fault; it is my fault; it is my most grievous fault.
For, you see, I am part of a nation, part of a people that made Robert Mugabe.
I am a Zimbabwean who joined his fellow Zimbabweans to welcome Robert Mugabe into the leadership of our nation.
We were innocently happy and full of the most of minimum of expectations.
We were blinded by nothing but hope because we had reached the crest of the climb and felt that going downhill was easier than climbing.
We believed that ruling ourselves was easier than liberating our country.
We not only forgot to protect our gains but to secure our individual freedoms; we allowed enthusiasm to cloud our vision to the extent that we were lulled into some form of slumber and, when we woke up, we were no longer in a position nor did we have the power to bring our leader before ourselves.
Our employee had become our master. A cruel master.
Even opposition parties accepted serving in government with Mugabe at the top.
We gave him a blank cheque and trusted him to fill in the blanks.
Of course, he did not fill in the blanks. He took the bank and made us beg not only for our money but our lives as well.
What is it that happens to humans when they feel they have power over others? What happens to a human soul when it starts to believe that no power can contain it?
“We must always remember that there is no-one here on earth who decides which family he wants to belong to before he or she is born,” gushed former Cabinet Minister Webster Shamu, once Mugabe’s blue-eyed boy. “If I was given the option to choose my father before birth, where would I go?”
He answered his own question, saying: “I would have been Chatunga’s elder brother.”
Chatunga is Mugabe’s son and Shamu was telling a rally that he wished he had chosen Robert Mugabe as his biological father. “I would have said that’s where I want to be born,” he emphasized.
It is called hero worshipping and it breaks all tenets of common sense. Today, Shamu is among those sidelined for supporting vanquished former Vice President Joyce Mujuru.
Mea culpa, mea culpa!
We created the monster that is Mugabe and the outside world followed us in our demented praise of him so much that when we started squirming and complaining about Mugabe, no one wanted to listen.
Today, Mugabe is believed more even here in Botswana than the collective voice of the Zimbabwean people.
We have called him “the Son of Man” and got rewarded with cabinet posts.
Many times we proclaimed that he was anointed by God to “rule Zimbabwe forever”.
Tourism Minister, Walter Muzembi, broke down in tears after being given a framed photograph of Mugabe. He said it was a gift he never dreamed ever to receive in his entire life.
Just last week, Information minister Jonathan Moyo twitted: “Age ain’t nothing but a number. No better advert for this than Mdara 2day @ 91. Here’s to Gushungo (Mugabe)! The older he gets, the fresher his ideas.”
This to a man who goes into meetings and starts snoring as soon as his behind hits the chair.
So here we are.
We are crying, yelling and wailing but no one is listening because we created our own monster and urged the entire world to do the same.
Even the most ardent admirers of Mugabe can no longer escape the simple fact that the man destroyed a once thriving nation; all anyone has to do is look at the nation, the desperation of the people who have long lost faith in the electoral process because of Mugabe and his party. The economy and abuse of the people are those issues that speak for themselves.
It is a pity that this man has abused the gift of life that God granted him. Some people have achieved miracles in a quarter of the time they spent on this earth yet, at 91, Mugabe himself sees no wrong or catastrophic failures he perpetrated.
He blames everybody else except himself. Like every other dictator, he blames the victims and gets rid of those who liberated the country ahead of him.
Today, as we speak, Mugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF party is on the verge of splitting up. Those cabinet ministers, Members of Parliament, Provincial Party chairmen, party operatives and others he fired on behalf of his wife are slowly stirring back to life and are showing a willingness to take Mugabe head on.
Their most vocal voice, former Presidential Affairs Minister, Didymus Mutasa, revealed on Thursday that he had formally written to the Speaker of Parliament advising him that the “Zanu-PF led by President Robert Mugabe was illegal and as such had no mandate to fire him or anyone else from the party”.
They are also taking the matter to court.
Mugabe, in his typical regrettable style, has called his former confidant and State Security minister “a stray braying donkey”.
We must always be careful about what we wish for because we might just get it.
Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!
Be careful what you wish for…
While at primary school, I served Mass as an “altar boy”.