The Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) and the Ncube-led Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are Zimbabwean political parties just like the MDC-T and ZANU PF; that is a fact! The delusion in some Matabeleland quarters has been that ZAPU and the MDC are the closest to Matabeleland interests as Zimbabwean political parties can possibly be.
The Zimbabwean political context is clear and consistent about the political role of Matabeleland and the nationals of the region; they are both subsidiaries of Harare and a conquest symbol for the present-day Harare regime. The beginning of political wisdom in Matabeleland will thus be the acceptance that Zimbabwean politics is set out to take an interest on Matabeleland for the benefit of Harare and not that of Matabeleland. Tough as it maybe, we need to accept that although led by Mthwakazi nationals, both the MDC and ZAPU are active players – willingly or otherwise – in the ZANU PF-led elaborate and sophisticated Zimbabwean socio-political system whose primary role in Matabeleland is to manage the region and its people.
Matabeleland branches of Zimbabwe orientated political parties are mere subsidiaries of Harare, too small and too weak to influence real policy changes within the broader Zimbabwean scheme of things. We need the vision to recognise when the role of the MDC and ZAPU in Matabeleland ended; that will be the start of our political creativity and the first steps to building the vital political protective shelters that the region needs.
We need to close the cracks that have left us open to Harare infiltration. The respect of our historic and current political figures is appreciated but this is no time for nostalgia. It is apparent many of our current political leaders have grown too close to Harare to protect Matabeleland from the menacing ethnic Shona biased Zimbabwean politics. Matabeleland needs real freedom, I argue that we need the courage to let go of both ZAPU and the MDC and focus on a genuine Matabeleland empowerment programme overseen by Matabeleland nationals.
Progress in Matabeleland will require bigger political sacrifices; we will have to concede that many of our traditional political powerhouses have become too entangled in the Zimbabwean systems to be of use in the region’s political future. We need to acknowledge that the current politics has failed us and until real and substantial changes are made it will fail us again and again.