Thursday, March 12, 2020


Monogamy is a doctrine that the church has learnt to live with, but it stands to be challenged. This type of marriage has become a starting point of ecclesiastical faith among the missionary churches. It has perpetuated itself that both scholars and ordinary Christians have canonized monogamy as a rule of faith. Tracing the Bible, one of Jesus’ disciples Peter was a married man and most of the disciples were fathers, for examples, Peter, James and others (1 Corinthians 9:5). As Christianity spread across the Roman Empire, some of the Christians who later joined the disciples were married, for example Aquila and Priscilla. Some of the Christians were also mothers like Dorcas. Some were either married or widowed respectively like the Shunamite woman and the widow at Zarephath. Research has shown that monogamy is a Western practice bequeathed upon the locals by the missionaries as a Christian norm and value. It can be confusing to many Christians in general and scholars alike to hear from the writer, a clergy from the Methodist tradition, who became a Christian in the early 1950s that although monogamy is our rule of ecclesiastical ethics, it is a fallacy.
My experience from a polygamous family is that it is not easy to be received in a Christian family or in the clergy. When l was a candidate for the Christian ministry in 1977, one person posed a question as to whether a child from a polygamous family should be accepted into itinerant ministry. There were about 115 delegates to the traditional Methodist Quarterly meeting which met to deliberate on my candidacy at Kwenda Methodist Mission in Zimbabwe. My polygamous back ground had raised emotions in the meeting. Some leaders had reservations because l am a child from my father’s second wife. The question was: How could they accept such a candidate whose mother was a second wife and not married according to church standards?
After an hour of intense debate, the meeting decided to vote according to the Methodist practice. The vote was taken and l got 113 for and one against and one neutral. I was later called in and only told the voting pattern. I have been involved in the recruitment and training of ministers. A good number of our clergy do not know their fathers for various reasons.
I did not choose my parents. I was just born in this family which happened to be polygamous. And my parents were a gift to me like l was to them. How then can elderly men and women label me as a curse and not a blessing? Most characters in the Bible were born from polygamous families, for example, Joseph, Jesus was born in a polygamous family. His mother was sixth wife, records tell us. Perhaps, this is the news some Christians would not want to hear: l have listened to preachers who have said that Mary was betrothed to a young man/bachelor, Joseph. I have denied that fact because we have records that show otherwise.
When Jesus was asked whose child he was, l am sure the mother said to him you are begotten by the Father/Lord. Yet today this could have been taken as a child of no one. They say in my culture, a “child of the forest”. Such a child is given the surname of the mother, and adopts her totem. While most of these so called fatherless children carry the stigma of having “no father” for the rest of their lives, the father is somewhere in the community.
When we teach the subject called African Traditional Religion, we encourage everyone to try to know their parents. Because we know that once one is at peace with his parentage, then one can love others. If it were this time Jesus could have had Joseph as his legal guardian. Joseph would deny fatherhood to Jesus and that would have been proper. When we read the Bible, we are told that his parents were Joseph and Mary. Joseph had other children who became his brothers. There is elder brother James and others who were his brothers and sisters. So, Jesus was not born in an illegitimate family. He had normal family like all others even though he was Son of God. He knew from the beginning that he was a child of God.
Societies which deny their populace polygamous marriage are saddled with the modern phenomena of “small houses” or mistresses, meaning other girlfriends or wives. They have bought and developed houses in other parts of the town for the second and third wives. The worst part is that these men love their church and they would rather pretend that they only have one wife while they have several of them for as long as the church does not know. We have encouraged our members to pretend to be monogamous by denying them what they want. If the clergy are not in the picture, then the “offending” polygamists are very comfortable.

Rev Dr Levee Kadenge

Thursday, February 27, 2020


When shall our leaders have people at heart? This sounds not so good to say about leaders of this nation. One cannot help but ask the question, when shall our leaders swallow their pride for the sake of the nation? Now that we are facing the greatest drought of all time, our leaders are behaving like little children playing mahumbwe (children’s games) behind the homestead. This we cannot take any longer. Both older and younger generations feel like shedding tears as we see our beautiful nation being put to waste.
We have been watching both President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Nelson Chamisa emerge as leaders of this wonderful nation. We see them and what they are doing. So, far we have seen the country being brought to the international fora. Indeed, “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” rings like a chorus. What boggles our minds is that it has taken long before Mnangagwa puts his act together as legitimate president opposition leader, both with huge support bases.
Thabo Mbeki should not come to this country to tell our esteemed leaders to like/love one another and we clap hands for that. He should come here and point to those things that are happening and only encourage us to work together as grown up people. Mbeki cannot really come here to tell us that courts of our nation are the final authority and what they say is final – It is given. If there are any issues relating to electoral processes, let us leave them for the next harmonized elections. This is the time to treat each other as mature people who know what they are doing. What is happening is that we all seem not to know what we are doing for our country to unite and be counted amongst progressive nations.
We only have one country and that is Zimbabwe. The two leaders do not seem to realize what this country means to the whole world. We are like Israel of Africa. No one will take that mantel away from us. Look, now we are all over the world occupying very important positions. Just check around you will find out that our neighbour South Africa depends very much on our engineers who are running the cities of that country. You go to any worthwhile institution, you will find Zimbabweans running those organisations in these cities be it in Europe, Australia, Canada and even the United States of America.
At home we are failing to act together as one. We seem to wish for everything to collapses and people suffer. What wrong have Zimbabweans done to deserve such treatment? We went through a war of liberation and that is a thing of the past. We suffered Gukurahundi and if we could find it in our hearts to forgive and move on, we could be saying that the thing of the past with due regard for the aggrieved parties. Murambatsvina (2005) was another tragedy that took place in our midst. Several people have died because of the operation, the stress they endured and heavy losses they suffered. No one has a sound pension or insurance to talk about. They all collapsed during inflationary years and those are the things that kill people. We seem to major in postponement while perhaps waiting for someone to come and solve our problems, but we are capacitated enough to change our situation for the better.
Yes we have waited and now Mnangagwa and Chamisa should demonstrate to us why we gave them leadership positions. The president has come up with the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) initiative and we applaud him for that. At least this is something towards recognizing one another. But we all know that is not enough. Chamisa, Nkosana Moyo, Noah Manyika and Joyce Mujuru are not there. These are the people that we can count on to give meaning to the dialogue.
Looking at the calibre of political leadership in the Polad, one can only see a good number of chancers and opportunists. It’s like the president is having a monologue. We can all see this that this will not work. The political minnows just run where there is opportunity and are rewarded for self-serving meetings that bring no meaning results. They just meet for the sack of meeting and enjoys perhaps the food and some other goodies that go with such meetings. We do not expect them to raise an objection because they all know that they do not represent the people. The fact that their names appeared on the ballot to be voted for is evidence that they have political ambition, nothing else.
One must look at oneself and say do l have the qualities of a leader? There are so many Zimbabweans who are in this country who could have offered themselves as presidents. For the rest of the group who never got sizeable votes or seats in parliament, they do not deserve any position in solving the problems of this nation.
People dismissed them by not voting for them. They should not have been considered even for the talks. We as Zimbabweans see this as just playing with us and wasting time. They are not serious and we do not expect anything from them except that they are paraded for radio and television. Nothing more. David Coltart describes the Polad group succinctly in the photo they are with the president, saying the lot are just as good as pretenders.
We may not all come forward and tell you what to do but it does not mean that we do not have ideas to contribute. There are great minds all around and we may not know where and how to help you. This piece is just a little drop in the ocean in attempts to try and advise the president on what to do. We want Mnangagwa to engage in meaningful talks. Social media gives many suggestions but the minister of Foreign Affairs says they only recognize Polad and nothing else. No talks outside Polad. Such statements are irresponsible. We also know there is goodwill amongst the populace. The whole nation is waiting for the two minds to sit down for serious talks. We are all ready with our prayers for the two, once they start the journey.
Someone must climb down and the other one must climb up for meaningful talks. We will celebrate the two once they start the ball rolling. Put your feet to the ball and you will get the nation smiling. Who knows, rains might start falling and there will be no drought to talk about.
In this piece l did not offer advice on what to do for the talks to take place. L leave it to yourselves to take steps towards talks and we just wait to see the results. There are leaders who will tell you what you want to hear and even pray for you, but what you need are critical thinkers who will tell you the painful truth. Go for it. It can be done. In a few days’ time we want to hear you talking or preparing to come together for the talks. I rest my case.

By Rev Dr Levee Kadenge