What Matabeleland cannot do now is run away from herself. We cannot avoid looking at ourselves and seeing how much we have let ourselves down; it is time we owned our problems and started working on solutions.
It takes a high level of intellect to critique one’s own attitude and change what they have practised for time immemorial. There is no denying that Harare systems since 1980 are not favourable to Matabele interests but how much of our problem is not a by-product of Harare but is internally sculpted?
Awareness is the first step towards redemption; we need to address our problems head on. What has been pulling Matabeleland down has been Matabeleland more than anyone else. Tolerating the intolerable is intolerable tolerance; it is a liability. We are now even tolerating intolerance, deception and lies from the north.
We know Matabeleland has, as a society, reached unacceptable levels of tolerance when it starts to consciously accommodate Harare’s intolerance and arrogance. Harare systems and policies enslave and demean rather than empower Matabeleland. Harare is now writing Matabeleland billboards! Misspellings aside, why should a banner in Beitbridge be written in Ndebele and not Venda?
Let us study the Matabele past if we are to define the Matabele future. We need to ask ourselves what it would be like if we (Matabeleland citizens) limited Harare influence in the region and opted to define and/ or redefine and uphold our values. It is time Matabeleland acknowledged that the over-accommodation of Harare is detrimental to local development. Our politics has to focus more on strengthening local connections and institutions than seeking relevance in Harare. Harare accommodates Matabeles only to the extent that the accommodation does not interfere with its interests; stooges like Simon Khaya Moyo, Obert Mpofu and others in the ZANU PF and MDC-T leadership give credence to the argument.
We have Bulawayo (the only city of note in the region – an astounding reality) down on its knees yet our local leaders never even bat an eyelid. The same leaders cannot stop themselves purring over Dr Grace Mugabe’s speeches in Matabeleland which have been disgracefully punctuated with condescending descriptors of Matabeleland people.
Matabeleland needs to take away from Harare the perceived right to govern the region. Matabeleland will only awaken when she looks inside, understands self and starts belonging to herself. Until we awaken from our deep slumber, we will continue to suffer and call it fate. Fate has nothing to do with Matabeleland’s circumstances, local bodies and minds have all to do with it. If we want to disown the images we see in front of our mirrors and blame them on our neighbours, we are somewhat deluded. Matabeleland has to accept that she cannot continue to run away from her troubles!