A New Year message from Ben Freeth

Dear all,

Ben Freeth

A very happy New Year to you all as we, in Zimbabwe, wade in with trepidation into 2017!  It may sound perverse and ridiculous but in spite of all that I am excited about 2017!  

I believe it will be a year of change. Who knows how the changes will take place but I do believe there will be change. The ruling elite are severely fragmented and its leadership uncertain as the President refuses to relinquish his hold despite being the most ancient head of state in the world.
Last year was a truly remarkable year in that it was a year of the individuals in Zimbabwe.  We saw courageous, ordinary people – pastors, advocates, lawyers, members of the public – who stood up and quite simply said what was on their mind. The resonance they found was an indication of the suppressed unhappiness of the people in our country.
Zimbabwe is a special country. It has some truly special people who have achieved some remarkable things. It has one of the best climates in the world. It has wonderful natural beauty. Despite it all we still have about a fifth of the Worlds elephants. We still have the Victoria Falls. We still have the Zambezi valley. We still have the largest man made ​reservoir of water in the world. We still have more dams (all of which were man made) in Zimbabwe than the rest of Africa put together. We still have the Eastern Highlands and the lowveld and the great green greasy Limpopo river! We still have a relatively well educated population. We still have an institutional memory. We still have a reasonable infrastructure. We are very blessed!
It’s easy to focus on the certainty of the uncertainty for this year in Zimbabwe: bond note printing going into overdrive; the banks not paying their depositors; no forex to pay for imports; more shortages; more authoritarian mis-governance; more company closures; more joblessness; more lawlessness; more greed from the ZANU elite; more farm invasions; more people leaving the country…
We have been there before and with God’s help we will survive. We have survived our homes and farms being taken; our record breaking 100 trillion dollar notes; the fastest shrinking economy in the world in history; thousands of shop keepers put in jail and the shops completely emptying of everything; ZESA cuts; fuel shortages; the ZANU election violence; intense fear; families scattering to all corners of the globe and 90 percent of the white population ​having been hounded out of the country and ​another 25 percent of the black population leaving ​by choice or necessity…​Over the years before this we have survived much more. It has never been easy!
We have got so much but what we haven’t got in Zimbabwe is the rule of law and property rights and a government that cares about its people. I am hopeful that with God’s help that will change.
I have been blessed in meeting some remarkable ​people from across the racial spectrum that have such a huge heart for Zimbabwe. The time will come when we will all need to pull together to rebuild. The church is awakening to issues of truth and justice in Zimbabwe – and as we all learn to prioritise standing for truth and justice in 2017 in our own little ways we will begin to see the change. Like the rain that is falling this season – that has made the rivers begin to flow – so we will see justice flow like a river in our land if we all do our little bit for it. Let us all pull together to stand for what is right, to shun evil, and to not feed the monster of greed and corruption and lawlessness that continues to destroy Zimbabwe. Rather let is make 2017 the year we expose corruption and lawlessness and begin to bring it to heal.
​Let us count our blessings daily and with gratitude.
Let us all humbly pray for our beloved country and seek Gods will, and turn away from wickedness in allowing evil to flourish unchecked. When we all do that we will see the miracle happen! I am excited that it will – but only with each one of us playing our part!

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