Saturday, November 14, 2015
OF DECREES, SUPPLICATIONS AND ENTRITIES. ENTER: THE NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYERS
By Namakando Nalikando-Sinyama From the outset, it must be stated that matters of religion and politics are very emotive and as such one should endeavour to tread carefully as the devotees are many. Those that decided to pray should be respected because that is where they opted to seek solutions to their problems, and of which are many! The detractors are unjustified in lambasting the many faithful for what they chose to do, which is very much in line with the dictates of their faith. When in a sticky patch, get down on your knees and pray for help because on your own you cannot handle what you are going through. Forget the fact that God will never give you more than you can handle, just ask him for help. I am no expert in Ecclesia and doctrinal issues but surely God cannot completely ignore such a huge gathering calling on him for help in unison or can he? You know, he just looks the other way in a shocking show of divine disinterest. It does not really bother me that this event may have presented one of the most disorderly days in heaven when their prayer lines were ringing off the hook with requests for interventions into different issues like lost pets, job search prayers, runaway lovers, improved business fortunes, the exchange rate improving, rain water falling to fill up Dams et cetera et cetera. Faith is a powerful thing indeed. The fact that even the jobless many pitched up for these prayers to have the economy improve even when they still would not have the money to spend when this happens tells you something. The really touching scene where our sisters of humble looks were busy prostrating themselves before God for a husband leaves us humbled to the core. You are told that where two or more people are gathered in One accord then God will be there does not even come into play because truth is, there was really no accord or agreement about what to pray for or about. People just came and did what they felt they had to do. The fact of the matter is, people turned up and cried before their God for help and it is generally hoped and believed that he will listen to their pleas and in his own opportune time will attend to the issues in their respective order of importance and relevance. Then there was that atmospheric optical aberration or apparition of a Pathelia or Sun dog (Rainbow around the sun effect) to crown it all up as if giving credence to the event. This made the congregants run agog while some diehard critics had to quickly and frantically sift through the World Wide Web for an explanation to quickly dismiss it as just an ordinary thing which was observed also elsewhere in the region and not just unique to Zambia. And for most, that is how the meteorological cookie crumbled and people's spiritual High induced ecstatic euphoria and bubble caused by religious excess had effectively burst! I am no graduate from Bible School and thus not a competent authority or proficient individual in Church Numerology but let me just make one last minute check of the facts before us. Were these prayers scheduled to start at 13 Hours up to 18 Hours? A quick perusal of Revelation 13:18 will make you cringe. Whether or not it has any bearing or significance will be left to each one of us to judge. The truth any number can actually be manipulated to take on some eerie connotation so we must not really read too much into it. I may not be an expert in atmospheric science but the coincidence of it happening on the actual day of prayers had emboldened many and since the effect happened sometime in the morning, it made those doubting Thomases and naysayers to go for prayers. Surely this had or ought to have had some significance right? Was that just an ordinary incident really? The last time I checked Zambia is not North Korea where its leaders have been known to control the weather. We are familiar with legends or stories in Barotseland of how one of Our favourite Litungas could not visit a dry and dusty place because he would have his regal attire soiled and as such every time such a place was visited, a light drizzle of rain would precede him to settle the dust particulates. All this, notwithstanding the fact that the best performing economies in the world are for the most part in countries that are non-religious, but people here wanted and sought the face of God to help them amidst turbulent and perilous times. The never short hand of God will surely reach out and touch each one at their various points of need. These vibrant economies the world over are generally secular in nature and its citizens are Agnostic and many others even Atheists. This partly explains why they make advances and immense progress in the fields of Science because they are not bound by Dogma and crippled by a fear centred Belief system in the unknown but instead their life revolves around empirical proof of phenomena in their environment and the endless pursuit of excellence in all areas of their endeavours. The extent of dissent towards this day of National Prayers was exemplified by the almost laughable incident where, for some reason, a certain group of political bigwigs opted to disregard the instruction to go to a mass gathering because according to them, that would be deemed as capitulation and being subservient to the presidential Order. Upon realising the possible damage their non-involvement in the National Day of Prayer might have on their political fortunes seeing that 2016 is fast approaching around the corner, they instead, as a last minute attempt at damage control picked on some church of their choice somewhere and had mass! A close friend of mine would have had this to say about it all, same difference! Now, since the people in attendance at this particular church gathering were not regular congregants, you were technically participating in the National Day of Prayers also period. I just thought I clear the air on this score before folks have and entertain illusions of uniqueness and originality of their action. As you probably already know by now, I am yet to fully appreciate the inner workings of the Zambian mind and thus may be totally the wrong person to comment on this subject matter. However, I am quite certain there are quarters that might be interested to know the answers to these few questions. Are these prayers meant to ask God for wisdom so the government can start running its ministries professionally, productively and corrupt-free or just merely asking for miracles to rain down like most preachers or profits/prophets have now become known to do of late? That is the point people needed to consider. And when they ask for forgiveness and reconciliation should not the facts about which they want to be forgiven for be made clear and in an open way? Please consider if you may, how the South Africans handled the TRC (Truth and Reconciliation Commission) sittings. These were open and public hearings where details came out about gruesome crimes and actions by both the Black freedom fighters and the Apartheid regime goons. Are these politicians going to openly declare what people suspect are shoddy deals and government contracts they have won unfairly? Are they going to give back or declare the monies or wealth they are believed to have acquired dubiously in a short space of time so that the people can forgive them as an act of penance? Are the powers that be going to openly state the many atrocities and extra-judicial murders of people deemed anti-state that people suspect and believe have been committed by them in so-called national interest? Perhaps, what i can only call a classic misapplication of powers of decree, how in god's blue world can you instruct an already starving people to fast when the majority of the rural poor literally have NO FOOD to fast from? The last time I checked, the country called Zambia is supposed to be a Demon (cracy) (People/majority centred governance system) and not a Theocracy (God centred governance system) you find that the actions may be at variance with the requirement of a purely theocratic dispensation. So, the consequences of calling on God and yet you wilfully continue to engage in acts that are not in agreement with his will might even be dire. So what are you saying then? Simply put, if people are or were not genuine, the whole thing could dangerously backfire and the situation becoming worse off than it was before. Remember, this is God you are dealing with people and He-Cannot-Be-Fooled! I believe, it is the active involvement of the majority of the citizens in national affairs which spurs them or if they are to be allowed to fully participate in the administration of the affairs of the country. This degree of involvement is only possible where an enabling environment (forgive the cliché) is created and the people’s Rights and Freedoms are respected and protected by being enshrined in the Constitution of the land. In this, free speech and free thinking is crucial as this is the only way ideas and solutions to the society’s problems can be conclusively addressed and elicited from the populace. Allow for open public debates akin to the Grecian Agora where you can have a healthy exchange of ideas from different minds. If people are scared to say what they feel they need to say because of possible reprisals from the powers that be, then people will be moving around harbouring a lot of unresolved contentious issues whose only outlet of which can be dangerously explosive. Now that turning to God is in vogue, but was only done as the last resort after the Politician’s came to a point of admitting failure, how then are you a Christian Nation because it should have been the first course of action that you ought to have been embarked upon? How and why has God let you down or allowed you to suffer from all these problems even after declaring your country Christian? Is there something God is telling you but you are not just listening? Credit should go to them though, for being humble enough and saying that they need all the help we can get from anywhere even from above if need be. What I have found extremely disturbing though, especially for me as a Murotse National, is how I seem to observe that some opposition groups in the country are seeing the current economic woes as an opportunity for gaining political mileage as the people would see the current national crop of managers as inept. This conclusion I came to when I noticed that no member of the opposition is willing to freely step forward to offer solutions to this beleaguered economy. They fear that credit will not go to them because they are still in the opposition but the incumbent will take the credit. So they would rather gladly watch on as the country suffers and reels from an unprecedented barrage of low commodity prices, corruption, power disruptions, Tribal tension triggered by loose mouthed politicians and general disunity among the citizenry. They are holding on to their supposed brilliant ideas of how to salvage the country from the doldrums economic malaise until they are given the reins of power when they make office. This is very wrong. For what is being done is nearly or can be considered a form of criminal negligence. If what is happening is anything to go by, and the parties in opposition continue to refuse to offer their expertise on astute economic management, chances are they will not find a country to rule over when they make government! It will become doubly as hard for them to make an impact if they ever made office because the country would have sunk way too deep into the quicksand of financial troubles. Now, contrast this with what happened in Japan after they suffered the full brunt of The Manhattan Project product when they were nuked twice during the two World Wars. The people were still feeling effects of the Nuclear Fall Out but in a show of rare esprit de corps the average and ordinary citizens came forward and pledged their unwavering patriotism and donated anything and everything they had on them to support their country’s post-war recovery effort. Old men and women donated the gold teeth braces and dentures; people gave away their valuables such jewellery to the State. Many others simply offered their labour to help rebuild Japan to what it is today. When differently handled and better organised, this day presented a unique and rare opportunity to truly and honestly confront the country’s challenges boldly as a united front. What it did is cause The Seventh Day Adventists not to feel or want to be part of it as the day it was declared on was viewed with great suspicion. It really has not helped matters that the president made the declaration fresh from The United Nations General Assembly in New York where he was in the presence of The Pontiff who had an unexplained lengthy secret meeting with The US president. Are Americans not in the least curious as to what the two leaders discussed? Memories of the global Revelation of Sunday Law declaration are very real with them. This is not the only reason; you just cannot not catch them dead worshipping on Sunday period. Even if they would have wanted to be part of this event, they were disadvantaged. An alternative week day say Friday ought to have been considered as it would have been more inclusive of all religious denominations. It would have also encouraged the hedonistic revellers as their weekend would have been lengthened, more time to indulge in much drink and matters of the flesh! I know this may be seen as counter intuitive, but what was going to be one missed day of production in an already suffering economy anyway? I am sorry to inform the general public that The Barotseland issue also will not just go away no matter how much this irritates people. It will never just vanish as may be most people’s wish but it just will not. You cannot get a Nation and forcibly turn it into a mere province of yours and expect its Nationals to simply forget they ever had a Nation they proudly called their own Home. An open and realistic public engagement would have been done bringing together the various Freedom fighters and activist groups could have been engaged on how these issues should get quickly and peacefully concluded under the auspices of International Peace Observer Missions and Arbitration Courts of Justice to honour the people’s already expressed wish. Constantly persecuting its nationals and arresting then later entering Nolle prosequi may not be the most effective way of handling it as history has shown on a countless number of times. After all is said and done we would like to thank all those that found the time and strength to do that which their heart told them was the right thing to do and went to pray for their Nation even with little appreciation of just how far the problems run. We applaud the initiative of calling for this day and it is our sincere hope that it will not be the last seeing that the problems will still be with us for longer than we would have wanted them to be. All hope is not lost as we want to trust that the powers that be have everything under control.