Developing ourselves should be the only source of motivation of our socio-political autonomy and not the hatred towards any other nation, including Harare. Our laws, policies and institutions should be inspired by our traditions and needs and not be the mere reaction to the Zimbabwean regime.
We should look at Harare, not at what to do but at what to avoid if independence is to play the role that it should be playing amongst people: providing vital space in which people can optimise their abilities. Ethnicity, race and religion should neither be the limit to State interventions nor be our socioeconomic and political empowerment. All people inhabiting our socio-political space should and must be equal.
A Matabeleland state must exist to provide the socioeconomic and political protections that will set and monitor minimum acceptable standards of living across the region. We must take pride in ourselves first before we give attention to our opponents.
Looking at Harare, we have learned that a centralised State is a cocktail for disaster; we have learned that a State that lies outside and beyond citizen reach is dangerous. We need to aspire to a different form of governance. I have in the past spoken of a Collective Head of State and a Collective Head of the Nation and I still believe that is the direction to go.
We aspire to a State that would be answerable to the people and not the other way round. We have our internal challenges that are not necessarily a creation of Harare but our own socio-political history and fragmentation. The internal political disconnect is a function of a patriarchy leading to political disenfranchisement of women, a poorly resourced electorate and a general neglect of many communities in the region.
I want to acknowledge that there is a lot happening in Matabeleland by way of challenging Harare imposed inequality and improving the region. However, a major weakness remains a profound lack of continuity and coordination of actions across the region. Better communication will be essential if we are to develop. Even more important is the region being prepared to act; talking alone has never changed people’s circumstances anywhere in the world. Here I am pointedly talking of Matabeleland men and women actively funding and fundraising for local projects of virtue.
Matabeleland has to start addressing her internal challenges; challenges of disenfranchisement and the patriarchy. We need to be practical! Harare contributes massively to our problems but it is the internal socio-political weaknesses that have not only let in Harare but failed to strengthen internal structures. The Collective Head of the Nation should be a paramount institution in curtailing the equality pretence within the region, strengthening local institutions and isolating Harare but that requires the institution to be reformed itself. A deliberate gender balance is overdue.