Rain: hedging bets on divine intervention

Zim should stand together in prayer, says the headline above Mpofu’s cartoon in the The Herald,  Zimbabwe. And God speaks?


After a prolonged dry spell, much needed rain has come. Mr Mugabe’s state media would have us believe our prayers have been answered.

As a nationwide week of prayer meetings for rain, called by Vice President Phelekhezela Mphoko, comes to an end, the forecast has more rain, albeit sporadic, heading our way.

Soon after the first rain-making congregation gathered in Bulawayo last Sunday, it rained heavily in that parched city. The next day, Harare was awash in a storm that delivered 40 millimetres in three hours. The heavens brought more patchy rainfall on most days of the chosen week.image

The Bulawayo downpour broke “a spell of searing temperatures hovering in the mid-30 degrees Celsius’’ as people everywhere embraced the ruling party’s call for the prayers, The Herald newspaper said.

(“Many people were caught flat-footed as Harare received an unexpected downpour” – Herald photo caption.)

But, the paper said, there were ne’er-do-wells in the political opposition who scoffed at the notion of divine intervention and cried out that Mr Mugabe’s ZANU-PF was ‘a satanic party’ not fit to turn to God. They wanted catastrophic drought to continue, worsening the suffering of all so that the blame for dire hardships would rest on ZANU PF and its economic policies.

“Their rationale, indeed their evil prayer, was to let the people suffer and die of hunger” to bring down the government, said the newspaper.

It may be hard for some people to believe prayer can change the course of nature, the paper went on, but countrywide rainfall has now cast Mphoko “in a light between a high priest and rain-maker.”

The Herald appealed to Zimbabweans to continue praying for rain as the entire southern African region buckles under the effects of El Nino. It then hedged its bets somewhat:

“God will answer in His time, in His own way,” the paper concluded.

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