If Matabeleland nationalism and nationalist politics is to make progress, the politics has to deviate from the current norm lacking in accountability and actively embrace objective scrutiny and accountability. Nationalist groups need now to be able to objectively justify their existence, be able to objectively measure successes and failures.
Nationalists have to actively recreate the internal political environment such that many of the political decisions are driven more by facts and less by feelings. Lack of information is damaging, strategies need to be informed by facts as opposed to feelings. At the moment the latter informs our strategy which is perhaps the reason we have many groups ‘providing solutions’ for Matabeleland problems yet we are no closer to a solution in 2014 than we were in 1983.
There are far too many groups being formed; there is far too much duplication in the Matabeleland political space yet very little real progress on the ground. Beyond the new leadership, emblems and rhetoric, the majority of the ‘new’ groups reflect no philosophical differences from the already existing groups. Our problem is that right now we cannot objectively measure the progress of the groups hence performance is only subjectively quantified by the leadership of the different political groups.
I am not naive to think that changes and their determinants are always clear-cut yet I believe it is important for Matabeleland nationalists to have organisational discipline through a robust organisational framework. Without an objective focussed framework, Matabeleland nationalism is left open to reactionary policies most of which are unnecessary and short-term rather than long-term focussed; and even more worrying, influenced by a few enthusiastic but somewhat misdirected individuals.
Policies set on or influenced by hatred of Harare have to date had the problem of lacking focus on empowering Matabeleland and its people. Emotions are the wrong base on which to craft policy. Let us use objectivity; let us focus on needs, rationale and be realistic as we set our political goals.
We need to be able to objectively identify internal and external forces that impact the social and political environmental change and be able to project the extent of the impact of the different forces on Matabeleland political space. Groups need to accept that they cannot do everything and that everything cannot be prioritised at one go. Resources need to be used effectively and that calls for informed prioritisation of interventions. Our politics will thus need to be informed by research and our political leaders need to set themselves measurable targets so that their personal and organisational performances are open to public judgement.
We basically need to appreciate that it cannot be business as usual; feelings can no longer influence our decision-making processes; we need a strong and broad research unit to inform policy development, policy changes and adaptations. Only a proper research – not just speed – will help the different groups objectively identify problems, strengths and curve out potential solutions to the region’s political problems.
As long as our nationalist groups do not have measurable goals they will never know where their usefulness starts and where it ends. It is for that reason that many groups keep ‘going’ and many are being formed despite the absence of genuine influence on the ground.