A sad thing happened a couple of days ago.
The call of nature, when it beckons, cannot always be ignored. Alois Mabhunu didn’t. And it got him into big trouble. BIG trouble!
Police sergeant Mabhunu was on duty at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in the western city of Bulawayo, when he was summoned by nature. An unfortunate moment.
He looked around for the nearest restroom. He spotted one. And used it.
A disastrous decision.
The problem began when he exited. He was promptly arrested.
Apparently that particular toilet had been reserved for Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe who was visiting the fair on its opening day. Mr. Mabhunu was imprisoned for impudent invasion of the presidential privy. Some cheek!
Local radio station VOP reported that “Mabhunu, due to the call of nature, rushed to the toilets reserved for Mugabe and his guest Ekra, but was stopped by other officers guarding the toilets. Under intense pressure from the call of nature, the officer forced his way in and managed to relieve himself.” The poor guy.
He plans to appeal. Beatrice Mtetwa, a leading Zimbabwean human rights lawyer, argued that “There has to be a law saying the toilet is the president’s, but this was a public one. They will have had to issue a proclamation in the government gazette specifying it [Mugabe’s ownership of the john]. I bet they didn’t do that.” In any case, we hope that our man, Mabhunu, will be exonerated on compassionate grounds.
Of course, Mr. Mugabe’s “reign of terror” has been internationally denounced as an oppressive regime. Its people are suffering, its economy is suffering. The Zimbabwean dollar, once worth US$1.47 is now in a freefall. (US$1 is now worth several trillion of the old denomination, if not more.) In the three decades of Mr. Mugabe’s rule, the country has slid into shocking collapse—“the most dramatic peacetime collapse of any country,” one analyst said. His honorary doctorates from Edinburgh and University of Massachusetts have been stripped. Sanctions have been imposed upon his government by the US and the EU (the US still provides humanitarian aid to the tune of US$1 billion). Parade magazine has ranked him as the worst dictator ever.
So this is one guy, whose private toilet you should probably not invade. Even if he is not in it. Even if nature commands you at inconvenient moments. Even if “under intense pressure.”
Avoid, at all costs, dictators and their toilets.
Once when the disciples of Jesus began to have aspirations of greatness and lordliness, Jesus warned them.
Jesus said to them,
“You know that those who are
recognized as rulers of the Gentiles
lord it over them;
and their great men
exercise authority over them.
But it is not this way among you,
but whoever wishes to become
great among you
shall be your servant;
and whoever wishes to be
first among you
shall be slave of all.”
In the kingdom of God, worldly values are reversed and overthrown. Lord? No; instead, slave. Great men? No; instead, servants.
That is what Jesus would have us be. By being servants, we become great in the eyes of God.
And Jesus capped this lesson with the remarkable declaration of his own identity and mission.
“For even the Son of Man
did not come to be served,
but to serve, and to give His life
a ransom for many.”
So there it is: our task and our model. To serve like Jesus did. Not to lord it over others like some of our world’s dictators.
Let’s go serve.