Without goals we are at risk of fumbling about, fighting endless internal battles and not being able to objectively measure progress or failure on the ground. Matabeleland needs to set herself very clear goals for only goals will give the revolution a clearer direction.
The fact that we have had numerous nationalist groups entering the political fray yet the quality of activity meant to advance the region’s interests on the ground remains negligible and uncoordinated is a clear sign of an absence of goals.
It is invariably easy for Matabeleland nationalists to decide what they want Matabeleland to be but it is another matter to decide what they are prepared to give up to achieve that. Matabeleland has been staring long and hard at the door Harare slammed on the region’s face in 1980; in the process we took our eyes off the doors open to us. It is now time we focused on the open doors; we need to look back in history to draw goals for the future, the journey of which begins now.
If we want freedom for Matabeleland, whether in a federalist Zimbabwe or in a devolved Zimbabwe or as an independent state, we have to tie that ‘freedom’ to our goals not to events in Harare. Strengthening Matabeleland must stay the focus of the revolution; it is through the political cracks in the region that Harare slunk in; close those, we limit and degrade Harare’s influence in Matabeleland. The experience of Matabeleland nationalism however, shows that now and then nationalists have been misdirected and drawn back into the broader politics of Zimbabwe; this is the same politics in which Matabeleland has always played little to no influence.
As suggested in the previous paragraph, what happens within ZANU PF, within the MDC-T and between ZANU PF and the MDC-T must not have any bearing on our goals. Although flexibility in the plan of action is to be expected, goals that help inform and direct our freedom path need – on the main – remain intact. Nationalists must now not fall into the trap of being drawn into any of the ZANU PF or MDC factions no matter what the perceived short-term benefits are. History repeatedly shows us that differences between and within Harare political organisations are only cosmetic; they immediately vanish whenever Matabeleland rears its (ugly) head.
Experience of dealing with Harare teaches us that waiting around for Zimbabwe to validate our existence is a non-starter. When Matabeleland stops living lives based on what Harare thinks of her, real life will begin for Matabeleland and that would be the start of pursuing goals. We need goals that will empower Matabeleland while restricting the influence of Harare in the region.