let love prevail

"Love thy neighbour as you love yourself", instructs the Holy Bible.

"Love thy neighbour as you love yourself", instructs the Holy Bible.

In this day and age of strife, disease and poverty, I often wonder whether this is not just an impossible and meaningless cliché.

However, my infected heart and soul is with my impoverished and struggling neighbours in Zimbabwe.

From a personal perspective, the predicament that these fellows find themselves trapped in seems so grossly overwhelming that one feels inadequate and powerless to do anything about it.

I recently met a few Zimbabweans who are desperate to assist their fellow countrymen and women who live in abject poverty and untold squalor.

Their story of suffering, of living and dying with HIV, of homelessness and hopelessness is humbling, especially if I consider how fortunate and privileged I am to be a well-to-do South African.

The political turmoil has overtaken all other considerations in that country and the focus has always been on one individual who happens to have an expired political profile that ironically defines him as a freedom fighter.

The reality of the matter is that the exact opposite is happening daily. The people of Zimbabwe are arrested by fear, sickness and deprivation, all perpetrated by an old political leader who is obsessed with political power at the expense of the wellbeing of all his people.

Every other argument against the former colonisers of that country is nullified by the intoxication of power madness.

There is absolutely no illustration or evidence that suggests that Robert Mugabe and his cronies are doing everything in their perceived power to alleviate the plight of millions of destitute people in that country.

On the contrary, he seems to be fighting a losing battle trying to portray himself as the eternal saviour of a country formerly known as Rhodesia, a beautiful country that was milked and exploited by ruthless oppressors such as Ian Smith.

In my own country, as well, there are disconcerting symptoms of political obsession that deliberately shifts focus on social issues that continue unabatedly to afflict millions of our citizens on a daily basis.

It would be a travesty of justice and an unforgivable crime against humanity if, out of and for the the love of our neighbours, we fall into the same trap where our political leaders are allowed to hold the whole country and to ransom.

We must be expressly intolerant of anyone who shows signs of clinging to power against the people's will and to the detriment of the rich history and high standards set by true leaders such as former president Nelson Mandela.

No political party or political leader has the exclusive right to rule a country as if it is their fiefdom.

As a people we must be highly alert to political rhetoric that seeks to serve and fulfil the personal aspirations of power-drunk individuals, irrespective of the claimed sacrifices they have made for the emancipation of our people.

In the meantime, we must not be found wanting in demonstrating our unconditional love for all our neighbours.