By Dr Irene Mahamba

WHEN evil takes root in a community, its members must reject it — rejection diffuses its potency.

Evil must be fought by every member of the community to get rid of it.

If they do not fight the evil, it means they accept it, and are in complicity with its purpose and when that happens the spirit force that protects the community departs, Musikavanhu leaves the people.

When the British invaded our country in 1890, Mwari’s chief mediums, Nehanda and Kaguvi, consulted with Him and the response was categorical; they had to get rid of the white menace, He told them there would be no peace in the land as long as the white man was ensconced in the land.

This was the clarion call for the liberation struggle, both the First and the Second Chimurenga.

Had the people of Zimbabwe not heeded Musikavanhu’s call to rid the land of the white menace, we would still be slaves, grovelling before it as its caged animals.

Thus, the response of any community to any evil that rears its ugly head among the people is critical.

A community is held together by its morals and ethics, the values, attitudes and feelings that embody its soul. 

When this is violated, corrective action must be taken; it is the responsibility of the whole community not just the leaders.

Among our people, before the interference of the white menace, if an individual or individuals became notorious for witchcraft or some such vileness like prostitution, they would be driven out of the community, they would be banished, this was a way of protecting the community. 

If such evil were allowed to fester, the spirit force that protects the community would depart until the people took corrective action. 

Prayers for the rains would not be answered if there was some evil in the community, Musikavanhu would not respond. 

The mediums would tell the people of the corrective measures required.

Our society had its own way of preserving its purity, thus maintaining its relationship with Musikavanhu. 

During our liberation struggle, there were rules and regulations that guided the prosecution of the war.

The violations of the rules attracted serious punishment.

For instance, adultery was anathema. 

If anyone committed adultery, the whole group or base would be endangered; the spirit force guiding and protecting the liberation struggle departed and everybody was vulnerable. 

Young men and women left the country to free the land from the white menace.

As Comrade Nhamo explains in ZANLA Comes To Town, such behaviour attracted unnecessary battles. 

There would be no peace until the culprit was apprehended and punished.

Musikavanhu led a principled war, not a war of vagabonds and barbarians as in the case of the whites.

The principles or guidelines of the struggle came from the ethos of our people.

This spirit force that guided its sons and daughters through the forests and led them to victory exacted a particular way of life, a moral, ethical way of life. We were not mercenaries, but shamwari dzeropa.

This is the loftiest it had to be. 

Malcontents had to be corrected so that material and spiritual order prevailed. 

That is how the struggle was won. 

In Musikavanhu’s war, there was no room for the selfish. 

It was a war of total commitment to sacrifice for others. 

He could never countenance abuse of those you claimed to be liberating.

This same spirit force that carried us through the liberation struggle exacts a particular ethos for Zimbabwe. 

He did not guide His sons and daughters through so many hardships, losing thousands so that at the end of it all, anybody could design whatever kind of society for His children whom He liberated.

This Zimbabwe has to be guided by these same morals and ethics. 

It is incorrect to imagine that Zimbabwe is now free therefore anything goes. 

Whenever there was moral debauchery, Musikavanhu departed. 

Today He does not stay around whenever there is moral debauchery because it is after 1980.

The Ancient of Old has never been at peace with immorality, with the unethical. 

He has never been at peace with moral debauchery, chingochani — inhumanity of all kinds. 

The moral code handed down to our ancestors for generations is His covenant with them that He shall dwell among them. 

Whenever this moral code is broken, there are means and ways of correcting the situation, restoring normalcy so that the Covenant is not broken, because when it is broken, He departs and when He departs, all hell breaks loose.

He ruled from his shrine in Matobo, he told people to be His people: Vave vakarurama.

To the liberation forces he said: Do not commit adultery, do not be cruel and inhumane to both your people and the enemy, do not steal from your people, do not steal from the dead enemy and I shall be with you, I shall guide and protect you. This is where nzira dzamasoja come from and they still apply.

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