Will Pope Francis back Zim fight against sanctions

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Obi Egbuna Jr Simunye

When President Mugabe first shook hands with Pope Francis, the world did not just witness a photo-op between two powerful men that come from continents stained by colonialism and imperialism, but by-products of Jesuit education and training.

DUE to the fact that African people have yet to complete the process of decolonisation which would result in fully overcoming mental enslavement, we have a tendency to view history itself as a series of events, and not a process that clearly demonstrates that change is inevitable.

When Pope Francis addressed both the US Congress and the United Nations General Assembly on September 24th and 25th 2015, while the US-EU imperialistic media apparatus was extremely predictable in its coverage, our people must recognise both the short term and long term ramifications of both speeches.

Every daughter and son of Mother Africa should be aware that according to projections, by the year 2025 one sixth of the world’s Catholics will be Africans. What has also been noted is presently 16 of the 192 cardinals are African along with 400 000 catechists.

What this socio-religious dynamic provides us is one more illustration of the strategic brilliance of President Mugabe, and exposes that each and every one of his visits to the Vatican since 2005, go far beyond his spiritual convictions

This explains why US-EU imperialist forces appear to panic whenever President Mugabe visits the Vatican. We remember in 2005 when the President attended the funeral of Pope John Paul II, the then British prime minister Tony Blair behaved like Charles Dickens character Ebenezer Scrooge when visited by the three Ghosts of Christmas.

When President Mugabe first shook hands with Pope Francis, the world did not just witness a photo-op between two powerful men that come from continents stained by colonialism and imperialism, but by-products of Jesuit education and training.

The Pope has the distinction of becoming the first Hispanic and Jesuit to lead the Vatican, while President Mugabe was educated at both Marist Brothers and Jesuit schools.

This development has US-EU imperialism pondering at the thought that at some point Pope Francis, will reach out to the US government for the purpose of raising the question of lifting US-EU sanctions on Zimbabwe, and establishing civil relations between both nations.

The Pope is fully aware that Zimbabwe and the US on paper have normalised relations with two functional embassies in both countries respectively, but nevertheless an increasingly and unnecessarily hostile relationship, due to the Bush administration imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe in 2001 and the Obama administration following suit for seven consecutive years.

If we are to do a comparative analysis of Catholicism in Africa and Latin America, it is glaringly obvious based on the existing political tide and climate practitioners in Latin America, which appear more embracing of Liberation Theology and their commitment to use the platform of the Catholic Church to pursue their political interests.

We have yet to observe Catholic leaders in Cuba, Venezuela, or Bolivia pray for the death of revolutionary leadership in the manner that the former Archbishop of Bulawayo Pius Ncube did concerning President Mugabe.

This has forced the Vatican to oppose the US Blockade on Cuba, recognise the plight of indigenous people of the Americas as championed by Bolivia’s President Evo Morales, and the beatification of the late Archbishop of El Salvador Monsignor Oscar Romero who was brutally assassinated on March 24 1980.

During his address to the US Congress Pope Francis saw the need to pay tribute to four historical figures; Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton.

The African Americans are always proud to have Dr King celebrated on the world stage, even though in this case it was in front of the very government directly involved in his assassination. We also consider any glorification of Abraham Lincoln an extremely bitter pill to swallow.

An informed contingent of so-called African-American Catholics should share with Pope Francis the words of Lincoln during his first inaugural address on March 4th 1861: “I have no purpose directly or indirectly to interfere with the institution of slavery. I believe I have no rightful law to do so and I have no inclination to do so”.

This would be the equivalent of Commandante Fidel Castro alerting Pope John Paul II during his visit to Cuba that the Revolution was not intolerant of the Catholic Church, but recognised their connection to both the Mafia and neo-colonial agents throughout Latin America.

The Pope’s chosen motto “Miserado Atque Eligendo”, is rooted in the concept of Jesus Christ having mercy towards sinners, which is compatible with President Mugabe initiating the Zimbabwe reconciliation policy, forgiving Rhodesians of war crimes committed against our people during the Second Chimurenga.

When making a plea for peace throughout the world Pope Francis mentioned by name the Middle East, Africa and North and South Korea which was followed up by denouncing austerity imposed by global financial institutions referring to it as the new colonialism. This is an extension of President Mugabe’s condemnation of the IMF and World Bank’s attitude towards Zimbabwe specifically and Africa generally.

It appears Pope Francis is more than ready to use the platform as a sovereign leader to magnify contradictions the world over, which means he can utilise the 180 permanent diplomatic missions at the disposal of the Holy See.

We hope the next time Pope Francis engages President Mugabe, it is in the Republic of Zimbabwe so he can see with his own eyes, the impact US-EU sanctions have had on the economy and social infrastructure.

If Pope Francis decides to kiss and wash the feet of HIV/Aids, Malaria and Cholera victims in Zimbabwe, he must do so knowing that they are being persecuted by the very Congressional body who not only applauded his remarks but appeared to hang on his every word.

The Pope has also stated “We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion of ideological extremism”

During an interview concerning Church and State in Independent Zimbabwe with Sister Janice McLaughlin President Mugabe made the following statement when asked about the Christian church being accused of working hand in hand with the colonialists.

“The accusation is justified to a greater extent. If you study the history of the Church in South Africa, Zimbabwe and elsewhere in Africa you will discover that originally the Church tended to side with the colonial authorities.

“Colonialism itself was completely wrong and unChristian but the churches at first held it as justified. Missionaries came to Africa to spread the gospel but in the process of opening the way for themselves in jungles of Africa, as they called them, they also opened the way to colonialism. Society became organised on the basis of race and the churches supported the racist and oppressive legislation to a greater extent.”

The President went on to touch on the Land Apportionment Act of 1930 and the Land Tenure Act of 1969 where land was assigned on the basis of colour.

The Pope stressed on numerous occasions the right use of natural resources and the proper application of technology, we can only imagine the Pope’s reaction to the Land Reclamation programme and the President’s campaign to put computers in schools in Zimbabwe’s rural areas.

The Pope also appears to respect genuine solidarity, as he continues to break bread and rub shoulders with world leaders like President Abbas in Palestine, his neighbours throughout the Americas, he will realise that fighting to lift US-EU sanctions on Zimbabwe is not only authentically democrat but purely Godly.

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