Currently, President John Pombe Magufuli is going through the baptism by fire. This is after clergy decided to take on him after the government asked them to stop politicking and doing politics on their rostra. Many people, especially opponents came forth condemning the government and defend the clergy.
Interestingly, for many years, Tanzania has been maintaining the policy and politics of the immiscibility of politics and religion. While this has been ongoing for over 40 years, those hollering today kept mum!
However, there have been some recent grumblings about drawing the line between politics and religion in Tanzania. Some say that there is no way one can discern politics from religion or divorce politics from religion which is right. Others think that politics and religion must always be separated which is also good. Thanks to the external and internal colonisation of Africa, to me, politics and religion are the partners in many things. Refer to how African rulers are sworn-in using foreign and hegemonic religions.
Don’t they use the Bible and Quran to make their people believe that they are bound to what they avow? What do they do after getting in power? Don’t they tinker with and trample on the constitutions as we recently evidenced in many countries were dictators are clinging unto power? Why don’t they swear using African faiths while the governments they are elected to run are African and for Africans? Isn’t this the colonisation of the mind?
Some clergy and opposition leaders have been hollering that the government, mainly president Magufuli, do not do them justice.
Today’s piece aims at clinically looking at what’d be judiciously done. I must warn from the outset. I am not intending to be a devil’s advocate for any part of this dialogue. Nor am I intending to thrill or vex anybody. In my column, a couple of weeks ago, I touched on this issue briefly promising to revisit it as I hereby do.
Let me start with the clergy who asked President Magufuli to repent so that God can forgive him.
Is Magufuli really a sinner; and what type of sin[s] is he supposed to repent for? Is it wrong to reprimand such mischievous clergy who fail to use the wisdom; and instead use judgmental languages? Does not listening to the clergy even the people amount to a sin or a political mistake?
Do we need to repent for political mistakes or for sins? Is repenting the extemporaneous or internal response of an individual based on his or her decision or desire to do so? If Magufuli told a lie, I’d say he needs to repent. Isn’t he making good on his promises of stamping Tanzania out of endemic corruption?
Had Magufuli peculated anything, I’d say he’d to repent. Had he killed, taken somebody’s wife or committed any or all of the related issues, I’d openly and seriously asked him to repent.
The other day, I heard one self-appointed faker condemning Magufuli’s saying that vyuma vimekaza or money is dearth as satanic. How? If you look at this faker and Magufuli, you wonder; who’s truly performing satanic duties.
Though clergy have the right to say whatever they want without breaking the law, why have they always kept mum while some of theirs cheat unsuspecting people that they can prophesy like those we hear every day saying they saw this and that or saying chimeric things including performing miracles while their intension is to make quick moola?
Interestingly, who’s supposed to repent first between those who, for example, appointed themselves clergy and the president who was elected by the majority of voters? Whom will Magufuli listen to between his constituency and the clergy? Have clergy forgotten that Magufuli is a politician who is supposed to listen to his voters more than anybody else?
Why were the clergy quite in the past regimes blessed mega scams that Magufuli is now taking on? Why didn’t the same holler on the top of their lungs when some of theirs were implicated in the scandals of being the beneficiaries of some mega scandals such as Escrow? Where were they?
Others wanted Magufuli to listen to his people. This is a good thing to do. Again, do such clergy listen to their flocks mainly those whom they dupe that they perform miracles while it is a big lie? Who is supposed to repent first here? Matthew 7:1 notes that “judge not, that you not be judged.”
What’s the essence of such judgementalism and holier than thouism? It is obvious; because some people think they are better than others; and whatever they say is right. This applies on both clergy and politicians. Some politicians think they know more than those they rule while some clergy think they have an upper hand in everything. Isn’t this playing God?
Tanzania doesn’t need holier than thou but instead, it needs truth.
Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in Canada