I learnt so much about life from him – something that I immensely enjoyed and valued – although, initially I was not as appreciative as I ought to have been.
No wonder he chose the teaching profession – or, the teaching profession chose him – because he was clearly in his element when passing on his wealth of understanding on issues of life.
One of those lessons he taught me – and, has stuck with me since – was, when I was a young man, and had an intolerable habit of always blaming others for whatever went wrong in my life, and never taking responsibility for my own errors.
I considered nearly everyone who rebuked and chastised me as an enemy – who hated me, possibly even jealous of me, was out to get me, and did not want to see me succeed.
Of course, how I reconciled the concept of ‘succeeding in life’, working hand-in-hand with my irresponsible behavior, is beyond me.
Nonetheless, when my perennial complaining over other people wronging me become unbearable for my father – understandably having reached his breaking point – he poignantly and bluntly told me these piercing words…
“Someone who always perceives others as wronging him, is most likely the one who is the problem”.
Those sharp words hit home – striking right at the core of my heart – marking a turning point in my life, as I had to introspect and think deeply as to my own erring and shortcomings, and how this resulted in those in my life criticizing me.
This opened my mind to so many unpalatable truths about myself, which I had never dared to face and admit – leading to the undeniable imperativeness for major transformations in my thought-processes and behavior.
Whenever I listen to President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, and how he never appears to miss the opportunity to address the nation, to lambast and attack those who he perceives as ‘detractors’ who are always sabotaging him – my father’s words always return to me.
Why is it that Mnangagwa somehow believes that there are those out there, who have absolutely nothing better to do with their lives – than to throw spanners in his plans for this country, and who spend sleepless nights plotting his downfall?
Why does he feel that all those who are always critical of him and his regime are unjustified in their sentiments – as, he is not doing anything wrong worthy of this relentless condemnation?
Has he ever wondered why social media is abuzz with attacks on his administration, with nearly every viral post an expression of utter disgust and disdain at the brutal repression and persecution of those who speak truth to power, and stand up for citizens’ rights – most of whom, as Job Sikhala, languishing in prison, repeatedly denied their constitutional right to bail, with trials hardly getting off the ground, or dragging on for years?
Is he honestly not aware as to why ordinary people are angry and repulsed with him and his government, when reports are awash of the political elite – accused of rampant sickening corruption, even fingered by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC), in the looting of millions and millions of dollars – are readily granted bail by our courts, with only an insignificant negligible number eventually spending time behind bars?
Does he ever take time to question why each and every person in a supermarket or bank queue or waiting for public transport, is shaking their head, and ending up saying his name in the same sentence with the unspeakable poverty and suffering in their lives?
Why, then, does he seem unable to see who really is the problem in this country?
Or, is he merely unwilling to admit the bitter-tasting truth – which is just too much for him to swallow?
The next time he feels the strong temptation to portray those who speak up against him – as he did today at the Nation Heroes Acre, during the burial of the late Brigadier General Charles Kaneta, when he went on the usual tirade against those he sees as ‘enemies and detractors’ whose only goal in life seems to ruin his plans – he should STOP!
Maybe, if my father had still been alive, he would have taught Mnangagwa the same profound lesson he taught me…
“Someone who always perceives others as wronging him, is most likely the one who is the problem”!
It is time for those in power in Zimbabwe to finally look in the mirror, and ask themselves some very tough questions about their own actions and thought-processes!
- Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, researcher, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936, or email: email@example.com