message on Gift Tandare's memorial service
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Christian Movement of Zimbabwe (SCMZ)
March 27, 2007
Members of the Tandare
family, pastors, the progressive civic movement, opposition political
forces, invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, colleagues and friends
we meet here today to remember our national hero, Gift Tandare.
As SCMZ we would want
to say to the Tandare family that we are with you during these trying
moments. The loss of Gift is not only to the family but to every
Zimbabwean particularly the youths who stands for social justice
in our unjust nation.
Gift, we all know was
murdered in cold blood on the 11th of March 2007, as he and thousands
of peace loving Zimbabweans tried to exercise their constitutional
and God given right to freedom of worship. Gift was part of worshippers
who, under the Save Zimbabwe Campaign banner wanted to pray for
the current crisis facing our beloved nation. As SCMZ we are especially
concerned by the fact that the defenseless Gift was murdered by
members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), whose duty is supposed
to be the protection of citizens like him.
In the SCMZ family we
are particularly worried about how the state used brute force to
confiscate the body of Gift and falsely gave the wrong impression
to the whole nation that they assisted in the burial. We would want
to remind the state that falsehoods won't get the nation anywhere,
the truth will ultimately prevail. Psalms 72:1-4 "May he judge
thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with justice! Let the
mountains bear prosperity for the people, and the hills in righteousness!
May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance
to the needy, and crush the oppressor! We strongly condemn the misuse
of state power to deny relatives and friends the chance to bid farewell
to their colleague.
Zimbabwe needs a healing
process where all stakeholders are involved in a free, fair and
transparent manner. Certainly banning prayer meetings and rallies
is far from the healing process. If anything the ban can only provoke
violence and as such the state should be held wholly accountable
for the violence. If you deny citizens the right to expression and
assembly you are leaving them with the only option of expressing
themselves out of frustration.
The government of Zimbabwe
has failed the people, the economy has crumpled, and democratic
space is shrinking each day. The best way of remembering Tandare
is in moving on with the struggle for social justice. As members
of the church, civic movement and opposition forces we owe it to
Gift in seeing to it that the struggle is fought to its logical
conclusion. For us, the blood of Tandare must act as a lubricant
for the engines of the struggle for justice.
The Mugabe regime is
under pressure both locally and internationally. As members of the
progressive forces we should remain focused on our fight. Mugabe
has failed to extend his illegal stay to 2010 but we should view
that as our victory in one battle and not the whole war. The greatest
fight is in making sure that we vote next year but under a new and
democratic people driven constitution that guarantees a free and
fair outcome. Put simply as SCMZ we say no to elections whose outcome
is predetermined. No level playing field, no elections.
SCMZ would also want
to dismiss the statements made by some members of the ecumenical
family who have blamed the opposition and civic society for the
recent disturbances in the country. We would want to strongly say
that the civic society and opposition forces are just but victims
of a "sinking titanic". We are especially worried when
members of the clergy shun the truth; they need to be reminded that
they are missionaries and not mercenaries. Psalms 82:2-4, "How
long will you defend the unjust and show impartiality to the wicked?
Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights
of the weak and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy from
the hands of the wicked." These are perilous times indeed when
truth if facing great resistance from several quarters, strange
at times from quarters that would have defended the truth. However,
truth is immortal, unlikable and invincible. Change is inevitable
in a dynamic world, but truth God's word is unchanging because
God himself does not change. A well focused Christian, knowledgeable
in scriptures cannot be part of this riot against righteousness,
having known the characteristics of state brutality on innocent
SCMZ would also want
to register its concern over the continued brutalization of innocent
citizens by the state machinery. This systematic and organized state
violence is a shame to the nation and it is the duty of each and
every one of us to fight such madness. To members of the ecumenical
family the time has come for us not only to speak but also to act
against injustice, oppression and corruption according to the standard
of the word of God. Anything contrary to this will amount to compromise
and would be disqualified by God. True Christians in situations
like ours shall be determined by being prayerful on their knees
and active on their feet. The sincere profession of the Christian
faith exposes one to the dangers of suffering and even paying the
supreme price. We challenge all Christians particularly the young
to be the Davids of this world who made a whole world of difference
by challenging and killing Goliath. Today the ZANU PF oppressive
regime represents Goliath and ultimately the Davids shall prevail.
Though we are living
in a time where it is extremely difficult to declare hope for the
future we should exhibit the pretty positive attitude of the prophet
Jeremiah. Jeremiah refused to be discouraged for he knew that life
would change for the better because God holds the future in his
almighty loving hands. His career as a prophet did not go well,
his messages where rejected and ignored; he was imprisoned by the
temple police, wore an ox yoke, and thrown into a well, but he refused
to be discouraged.
In conclusion, progressive
players should realize that the darkest hour is just before dawn.
This intensification of state brutality is proof enough that the
regime's Waterloo is around the corner. All that is required
is a coordinated effort particularly the one under the Save Zimbabwe
Campaign. Together we will overcome against all odds. For Tandare
to rest in peace we need to cherish and move on with the struggle
for which he was so committed. The wicked may prosper for a while
but justice will forever prevail.
To the departed soul
of Gift Tandare Philippians 1:21 says "For me to live is Christ
and to die is gain."
May your soul rest
in eternal peace, our national hero!
Presented By Lawrence
SCMZ National Vice Chairperson
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