This blog argues that Mthwakazi’s social, economic and political interests as opposed to resentment of Harare must remain the central determinants of Mthwakazi’s political narrative. It is imperative for today’s politics and a march into the future that the historical background to the Mthwakazi nation and the reasons for the nation’s current socio-political, cultural and economic impoverishment form the basis of nationalists’ political narrative.
The disproportionate distribution of opportunities between ethnic Shona people and the rest of the Mthwakazi population within the unitary Zimbabwe state is undeniable. However, the political capital of the continued proclamations of a blanket hatred of ethnic Shona people being turned into pseudo-policies by some nationalists is questionable. If Mthwakazi nationalists believe their plans for an independent Mthwakazi can be inferred from their hatred of Zimbabwe and Shona people in particular, they quite simply lack ambition.
It surely must be a source of great embarrassment to many Mthwakazians that some nationalist politicians see it politically prudent to queue up the political stage proclaiming their generalised hatred of ethnic Shona people as though that were of itself a political necessity. Self-indulgence and misplaced subjective perceptions of ethnic superiority cannot be allowed to dictate Mthwakazi’s political narrative. It is a worrying trend that some nationalist organisations are increasingly conducting themselves no less than an incentive for bigotry. They are becoming bomb shelters for individuals more inclined to fascist ideals than Mthwakazi freedom; beyond their perverse paranoia towards ethnic Shona people most hardly present a plausible strategy for enhancing the social, political and economic capacity of Mthwakazi. Only clear and coherent socioeconomic and political strategies that set to empower Mthwakazians today will provide the necessary platform for a genuinely free Mthwakazi ready to march into the future.
The all-pervasive tribalism within the Mthwakazi nationalist movement risks distorting the political narrative and diverting attention from objective analysis of Mthwakazi’s problems. The Mthwakazi state is not a simple collection of exclusive tribes or the absence of others; it is instead founded on inclusivity. Factors influencing socio-political interactions are more complex than some nationalists would have people think; ethnicity is not the single most important factor in socio-political transactions within Mthwakazi hence incitement against ethnic Shona people in Mthwakazi lacks moral and political justification, in fact it is as unsustainable as it is senseless. It presents unnecessary citizenship barriers for some nationals for reasons not of their making.
For iinstance, Mthwakazi children’s social identity is almost always determined by their paternal family, children born of a non-Shona Mthwakazi mother and a Shona father will face expulsion or being perceived as inferior citizens yet those born of a non-Shona Mthwakazi father and a Shona mother will be viewed more positively or be easily acceptable. The lived reality of Mthwakazi is that the country is a social, cultural, racial and religious rainbow and solutions to presenting problems will need to accommodate that reality.
The misplaced incitement to purge Mthwakazi of ethnic Shona people is a by-product of populism and vacuous politics. It is the political machinations of populist nationalists who continue to show an uncanny desire to distort Mthwakazi’s lived reality if only to advance their political interests. They exploit the desperation, anger and an apparent political knowledge gap among the energetic youth to pursue such warped political interpretations as conflating ethnic Shona people with a Shona dominated state. The inconvenient truth however, is that a Shona dominated state with a sprinkling of powerful Mthwakazi natives and not ordinary Shona people were responsible for Mthwakazi atrocities and the continued subjugation of the territory.
Mthwakazi’s ethnic Shona citizens often do not necessarily enjoy privileged access to Mthwakazi’s available resources; they – as every other Mthwakazian – are victims of the ZANU PF dominated state’s policies that have ensured that access to resources remains the exclusive privilege of imported state appointees of Shona origin. These individuals are employed to maintain and advance the Zimbabwean state’s interests in Mthwakazi; unlike the local Shona population most of these individuals have no desire to learn, observe or even respect local norms and values.
Mthwakazi freedom goes beyond the independence of geopolitical territories, as such it will not necessarily be guaranteed by the ethnic composition of the leadership but by the policies it pursues. The current framing of the political narrative is geared towards the protection of Mthwakazi from Shonas and less on the identification, development and the promotion of the nation’s apparent socioeconomic and intellectual reserves. Mthwakazi freedom should be seen as a process as opposed to an event; it will take time and patience. Strategies will have to reflect the lived reality of Mthwakazi, be adaptable to accommodate demographic changes as much as they cater for socioeconomic and political traumas in the region. More importantly, Mthwakazi has to look herself in the mirror too and stop walking around with bent backs!