Pro-Mthwakazi not equals anti-Shona

There is no doubting the value of the internet on the Mthwakazi nationalism agenda. It provides for an effective route round censorship thus allows for open and heated debate on various aspects of Mthwakazi nationalism. However, the debate only becomes informative when all contributors possess a basic understanding of the subject (Mthwakazi nationalism) or those with the knowhow contribute in good faith; the ignorance of one contributor impairs the whole argument.

Observation of debates on nationalists’ forums on the online social network (facebook) indicates a growing but disturbing trend in which the pro-Mthwakazi debate is often hijacked and indeed at times supplanted by anti-Shona sentiment. The Mthwakazi traditional state was not based on the exclusion of some ethnic groups, the restoration programme must not seek to create a modern state exclusive of specified ethnic groups. Mthwakazi nationalism must not in perception and in practice be a by-product of hatred of Shona people.

Surely Mthwakazi independence is not an essential or even desirable component for any individual to express their hatred of Shona people or any other ethnic group or race or religion that can be done within the current unitary state. After all such pervasive ideals are already enshrined in the current unitary Zimbabwe socio-political system hence they cannot be classified as revolutionary ideas. Zimbabwe’s domestic policy is instructed by the 1979 Grand Plan, a paralegal policy document motivated by the Shona dominated ZANU PF’s immeasurable desire for retaliation against 19th Century Ndebele brutal raids on the Shona communities and pure hatred of Mthwakazians.

Mthwakazi nationalism on the other hand desires socioeconomic, cultural and political independence from Zimbabwe for the Mthwakazi state and its nationals. It must be driven solely by the desire to restore the bounds of the traditional Mthwakazi state and rights and freedoms of all under its jurisdiction and not necessarily to see the fall of Zimbabwe or a craving to subjugate specified minority members within the Mthwakazi society.

The restoration of an Mthwakazi state must go hand in hand with the restoration and preservation of high standards of moral authority and human dignity. If the nationalist movement is to be taken seriously locally and gain credibility internationally, it must not be seen to be hinting at or condoning or being complicit in the creation of a state prepared to ration justice to some of its members on account of ethnicity or race or religion or gender or sexuality. In this pursuit, the anti-Shona as opposed to anti-Harare agenda must be denied space within the pro-Mthwakazi agenda.

People only have a right to informed opinion not any opinion otherwise no one has the right to ignorance. It is materially wrong to imply all Shona people were bad and all native Mthwakazians were good for Mthwakazi; it is wrong too to suggest that ethnic Shona people should be excluded from an independent Mthwakazi state; the services of Jairos Jiri (a man born in Bikita, Masvingo) to the Mthwakazi community were nothing less than exceptional but the same cannot be said about Enos Nkala and Callistus Ndlovu’s (native Mthwakazians) contributions to the great nation of Mthwakazi.

I appreciate the emotions surrounding the unforgiveable atrocities committed by the Shona dominated government in Mthwakazi in the 1980s but there needs to be a clear distinction between the Shona dominated state and the ethnic Shona people. Ordinary ethnic Shona people cannot be held accountable for the executive decisions of a ZANU PF government that at the time had some Mthwakazians within its ranks. As mentioned earlier, there are many ethnic Shona Mthwakazians or Zimbabweans who have given and continue to give an exceptional service to the Mthwakazi community as much as there has been and continues to be individuals from native Mthwakazi ethnic groups who have not only been useless but been destructive to Mthwakazihood.

Those who have experienced oppression must not in turn desire to be oppressors. Those individual Mthwakazians (assuming an absence of unwarranted Zimbabwean state agent interference) who harbour anti-Shona ideals have a right to hold those opinions and the freedom to express them but they should know they will not be protected from the consequences of their irresponsible expressions. These people need not hide in the ranks of pro-Mthwakazi nationalism which is a completely different concept. Anti-Shona sentiment only serves as an unwelcome detraction from legitimate arguments for independence; it must not be confused or conflated with nationalism because it is not; nationalists should not fall for the trap and be seen to be condoning acts or stereotypical expressions about Shona people for political reasons. Although Mthwakazi nationalists cannot guarantee equality of conditions, at the least they must in principle and practice guarantee equality of opportunity for all.

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