By Nevanji Munyaradzi Chiondegwa
An epidemic that has fast reached pandemic proportions is ripping across the world and mostly the northern hemisphere at frightening speeds and with devastating speeds.
It has caused untold panic, created abnormal reactions from the powers that be and has not been selective in who it affects with both the rich and poor, the powerful and the led all succumbing to this dreaded virus of the Corona family now termed Covid-19.
Many theories about its origins have surfaced with conspiracy theory buffs alleging it was originated in the laboratory. China and the United States of America have traded barbs over it with President Donald Trump calling it the Chinese Virus and the Chinese alleging it was American soldiers who brought it to Wuhan, in China which is the epicenter of the disease.
In the midst of all this there is the Christian sector who alleges that this disease could be a punishment from God, in whatever name on the people of all the Earth for their many untold sins. Scripture does buttress it somehow with certain scriptures like Deuteronomy 28:22 stating: The LORD shall smite the with a consumption, and a FEVER, and with an inflammation, and an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish.
It is perhaps due to the fact that this disease is so fearsome and has no known cure and method of real control that people have been quarantined, businesses closed, whole areas and cities shutdown and the despair has reached fever pitch and even churches have closed services and have sought new ways to spread the messages.
No one is safe from this disease
Also not too many people of color are known to have been affected, let alone killed by the disease.
The first thing we must all agree is that there is no one who is safe from this disease novel viral disease though it has affected other places around the globe more than it has affected others.
Perhaps, God in His eternal wisdom realized that if it affected places in Africa and other third world places in the same manner, the results would be too devastating to contemplate.
It is perhaps this fear, despair and panic over Covid-19 that Zimbabwean Minister of Defence’s statement uttered at a ruling party function in which she as the National Chairperson of Zanu PF addressed the crowds saying in vernacular and in her home tone: “Amereka yasvinwa svinwa NECORONA, ijana ravo, isu takasvinwawo nemaSANCTIONS. Vakuimba we will bounce back, we will bounce back. CORONA Virus yasvina Economy yese vasingafungiri. Yaratidza Trump kuti haasi Mwari” have been taken totally out of context and have been taken to mean she said that Covid-19 was a punishment from God on America and the West for sanctioning Zimbabwe.
That interpretation is of course wrong and mischievous. While the Minister did speak of sanctions and Corona virus and God in the same lines but specifically not the same purpose nor even the interpretation it has been given first locally, internationally or on social media.
The mischief was started by a false translation of her words from the vernacular into English by a certain photographer playing at journalism. I will not dwell on that but on what her true message actually was.
Sanctions kill an economy, and so does this virus
The Defence Minister in her role as Party National Chairperson, addressing a party gathering alluded to Covid-19’s effects being the same as those of illegal sanctions.
The reason she said that was simple, sanctions kill an economy and people via loss of numerous social-economic needs, sanctions force close of businesses, force people to stay at home and generally push business down. We all have seen what Corona virus has done.
There is no genius required to realize that Western countries have been hard hit and their Economies shaken. Their people are forced to either stay at home, social distancing, which sanctions have forced many a Zimbabwean with millions going to the Diaspora and being separated from families.
The effect of sanctions cannot be treated same as Covid-19 cannot be treated. A superpower like the USA, which slaps others with sanctions wily-nily has been found unprepared, with no solution but to simply infringe on the rights of its people to free movement and socialization as enshrined in their own constitution.
Italy has gone a step further by even saying it will let octogenarians affected by the virus die. I do not wish to over dwell on the effects of sanctions nor even of Covid-19 but on the mischief of misinterpretation and carrying a wrong message across the world and showing the Zimbabwean minister and indeed its people as unprogressive.
The misinterpretation was actually very deliberate and falls well within the hate propaganda being spewed against Zimbabwe and particularly its leadership.
Completely taken out of context
There was absolutely nothing sinister that the Minister said but taken out of context by someone with a very sinister agenda to paint the whole country with a bad brush and present Minister Oppah Chamu Zvipange Muchinguri Kashiri as an unfeeling individual when in fact she spoke a simple truth.
The people in the West will listen when we speak of the effects of sanctions understand that their countries are not God’s vice-regents and Africa; especially the black people of the continent are not cursed rather blessed.
They will now understand that when we say sanctions cause this and that ill and destroy economies, they will believe it and urge their governments to remove the illegal sanctions that have caused the poor of Zimbabwe to suffer even more.
The misinterpretation was done by a person who is bitter with the present government after failing to land a Government post which he thought he was entitled to and ever since then, he has been on the warpath, misrepresenting and lampooning the country at each and every turn.
The Westerners have seen that they are not God…
To honestly interpret a statement that says: “Vazozviona kuti havazi Mwari’ which translates to “They have now seen that they are not God” to “Corona virus is a punishment from God” is nothing short of criminal!
On the other hand, Zimbabwe’s position on Covid-19 is clear. There has been a letter written to the People’s Republic of China in solidarity over the outbreak and also the President has clearly stated that there is none that should be blamed for Covid-19 and has declared it a National Disaster leading to the cancellation of this year’s ZITF and Independence Day celebrations.
In fact just like the rest of the world, our people and our country’s leadership are all quite perturbed by this heinous and novel virus.
It is against this background that I personally know Minister Kashiri, who by the way is the wife of a bishop and a strong Christian herself would not blasphemy in such a way as saying the virus is a punishment from God.
I have however realized there are people who are disappointed that Zimbabwe to date has no known case of Covid-19 infection. They wished to score political mileage and have more points to use in their attack against the Zimbabwean Government.
Those people include the very pseudo-journalist who published the false interpretation of Minister Muchinguri’s statement.
The world must know the source of cloud which does not bear water!
Homeland or death!
Chiondegwa is a freelance writer. He writes for Zimbabwe Digital News in his personal capacity.
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