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Time for a Matabeleland political transition

When in allocation of roles only the most worthy and not the best connected are elected is the day Zimbabwean politics will earn many’s respect. It is shameful that Zimbabwean politics of over three decades still bases human value on ethnicity among other bigotry. It is a political regime that makes a mockery of Matabeleland and a politics that Matabeleland should find easy to resist.

I have never held and never will hold the belief that Matabeles were better than any other nation but I firmly hold the conviction that we are different and special in our own way. My political wish is that the Matabeles of my generation finally accept that Zimbabwean politics has no place for Matabeleland. Experience has taught us that switching political party allegiances within the current political regime has no political traction for Matabeleland.

I want a Matabeleland that will see beyond people’s ethnicity and skin colour. Positional change alone is not enough; we need a psychological reorientation if we are to attain real political change and progress. We need a total mental reconfiguration for Matabeleland to start standing up to all political bigotry. Matabeleland needs to cast away the delusion that only ethnic Shona people are legitimate owners of the modern Zimbabwe territory and Matabeleland were a mere sub-branch of Harare systems.

Current nationalist interventions are monumentally ineffective if not ambivalent; strategies are a response to the wrong diagnoses that implies ZANU PF is the problem and opposition parties are the solution. The reality remains that all of the Harare administered parties are complicit in the preservation of processes that alienate Matabeleland. By implication switching from ZANU PF to any of the present opposition parties is a mere external change when what is required is a deliberate psychological reorientation from an otherwise ethnic Shona supremacist mandate to a constructive focus on Matabeleland empowerment.

Our political deliberations need to make clear the distinction between change and transition. Change is the external situation such as in switching from one political party to another or moving from one job to another or process improvement, etc. On the other hand, transition suggests a psychological adjustment to change; it is the internal reorientation and inner resolve to adapt to the changes. It is the minds and not just external positions that need to change for a genuine Matabeleland transition process to take off.

For a genuine Matabeleland political transition we have to let go of the political misconception that suggests ZANU-PF/MDCs/ZAPU are different when all of them only use their Matabeleland offices as sub-branches that merely take instructions from their masters in Harare and not from Matabeleland constituents. We need to reorient our psyche to focus not on a Matabeleland in Zimbabwe but on a Matabeleland in Matabeleland.

Reorienting our political reality should be the primary objective and active political rebranding, building capacity for people to adjust, and increasing accessibility to support systems will be essential. Significantly, Matabeleland requires innovation to better help people handle the temporary gap that would be created as they let go of all Zimbabwe-orientated movements and step onto Matabeleland focused structures.

A simple switch of political parties is no solution; Matabeleland requires a political transition that will reorient our political conceptualization to the reality that any vote to a Zimbabwean political organisation is a wasted and counterproductive vote that only legitimises the disempowerment of Matabeleland.


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