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SCMZ message on Gift Tandare's memorial service
Student 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 citizens.

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 Mashungu
SCMZ National Vice Chairperson

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