God saved you from the gallows for a purpose, Mr President – to improve our lives, not to torment us

Zimbabwe president Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa has, on several occasions, narrated how people as the late national hero, Father Emmanuel Ribeiro - who passed away a few days ago - played a pivotal role (whilst, still a prison Chaplain) in saving him from imminent hanging, after being imprisoned and sentenced to death for blowing up a locomotive, during the country's protracted armed liberation struggle.


It is said that, Father Ribeiro, amongst others, swiftly provided evidence that Mnangagwa, at the time, was below the age of majority (that was twenty one [21] years old) – which, legally, meant that he could not face the gallows.

Indeed, Mnangagwa has every right to be eternally profoundly grateful for this magnificent deed by Father Ribeiro – a move, I assume, played a major role behind his decision to declare the late clergyman a national hero – in addition to his numerous other gallant acts in assisting in the cause for the country’s freedom and independence, including enabling the then new leader of ZANU, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, and Edgar Twoboy Tekere, clandestinely cross the border into Mozambique, to take over the liberation struggle.

However, there is far much more to expressing exceeding joy and appreciation for one’s life being saved, than uttering mere words, or conferring the person credited with such an excellent deed, with national hero status.

To begin with, all credit for an individual’s continued existence entirely falls with our Creator Jehovah God Almighty, in Christ Jesus – who uses other people, or events, or even things, to protect us from harm, danger, and death.

God does not do this simply for the pleasure of it – although, He certainly loves for us not to perish – neither does He do it because of our own delusions of grandeur…but, strictly that we may serve Him, by fulfilling a particular predetermined purpose, for His own glory.

In spite of telling this story before, I found it necessary to repeat it, since it is appropriate for his discourse.

When my mother gave birth to me – on Thursday 12 July 1973, at around 16:30 hrs, at Torwood Hospital, in Redcliff – I did not have a heartbeat or pulse for between 45 minutes and an hour – whilst, the nursing staff frantically searched for a doctor to resuscitate me (who was on his off-day, and as there were obviously no mobile phones at the time, as well as not being at home, it was not easy to locate him).

The doctor, Robin Kirk (after whom I was initially named, in honour of his phenomenal work in saving my one-hour-long life – but, was mis-written as “Ruben”, by the priest who signed my baby christening certificate, which would then be used for the birth certificate) was eventually discovered playing a round of golf – who then, speedily attended to me, and literally brought me back to life.

Nonetheless, his prognosis for my future was not good at all – as he declared that, even if I were to survive into adulthood, due to the lack of oxygen supply to my brain for such a long time, I would be in a permanent vegetative state (a state of impaired brain function, where a person can respond to some stimuli, but is incapable of voluntary acts).

Of course, the very fact that I am writing this piece proves that, besides not having died as a baby, I never fell into a vegetative state.

This is something that I wholly attribute to the tender mercies, and loving kindness of my Creator Jehovah God Almighty – whom, I wholeheartedly believe not only saved my life, but also revealed His amazing glory and grace through me, by the fact that I was not brain damaged as predicted by one of the finest doctors.

God saves and preserves people for a purpose – to serve Him, for His glory.

Which is what I dedicated my life to accomplish.

That is why I am so passionate about the welfare of each and every person on this planet – more so, my very own compatriots, Zimbabweans – such that, have made a deliberate decision, with the leading of God’s Holy Spirit, to fearlessly speak out, and stand up, for my fellow country men, women, and children, against any form of injustice, oppression, and deprivation of their God-given dignity and respectability.

God did not put us here on Earth to suffer and wallow in abject poverty – let alone, at the hands of those who are supposed to lead us, yet have turned against us, and have become brutal, evil, cruel oppressors.

Each and every one of us was wonderfully and fearfully created by Jehovah God, through Christ Jesus, in His likeness and image – and, has placed us just below the angels of heaven – as such, hates, with a passion, any wickedness and injustice…whether by us, or upon us.

We were created for good works – that were prepared before we were even woven in our mothers’ wombs – therefore, we are expected to live in love, peace, and joy, not as enemies but friends.

As such, when Mnangagwa, as our leader, praises the awesome work done by Father Ribeiro in saving him from the gallows – he should always remember, it was not the clergyman’s own wisdom and power that was at play, but God Almighty Himself.

Mnangagwa’s throat was spared – just as I was shielded from both death and permanent severe brain damage – for a purpose.

As he mourns and buries Father Ribeiro, I implore Mnangagwa to remember why he is still alive today – which is neither by accident (or, luck), nor is it by the hands of Man, nor by an occultic scarf or any other item – but, for him to stand for the values that God represents…love, peace, and justice for all His creation.

Hence, I pray that he (Mnangagwa) places, above all else, the people of Zimbabwe in all this decisions, action, and words – and, finally proves to God Almighty that His decision to save his life was not a mistake, that He should be regretting.

© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and political commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp Call/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263733399640, or email: [email protected]

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