The long-term survival of Matabeleland is dependent on our ability to challenge the arrogance within our own politics; the arrogance which has led us into thinking yesteryear politics is enough to set us free. We need to embrace a culture of political innovation for the region to change. We cannot expect to find Matabeleland’s true voice while we retain the Zimbabwean political system, a system whose highest office of authority systematically endorses laws that predetermine a position of inferiority for Matabeleland people as typified by the second vice president post, quite frankly a deputy vice president post, reserved for the region.
We remain stuck with ZANU PF the hijackers of independence, the MDCs and ZAPU not out of conviction that they will one day genuinely change things for Matabeleland but merely out of fear of trying new ideas; people have grown comfortable with the current norm of failure. We need to be willing to face up to the discomfort of change if we are to achieve real change. There is nothing to lose by trying new ideas but everything to gain; if indeed we fail in our attempts we hopefully get to learn what does not work and get the opportunity to try something else.
A new Matabeleland will only be enabled by political innovation and the education of Matabeles. The biggest obstruction to Matabeleland progress is not the absence of ideas for change but poor organization that has negatively impacted the execution of great ideas in the region time and time again. We need internal discipline or all of our dreams for change will remain at the planning stage. My primary concern is the lack of desire to collaborate and share ideas between different political groups and individuals in the region; we have more groups splitting than we have mergers. Significantly, many local groups have to date failed to effectively connect with the public resulting in the continued dominance of the Zimbabwean agenda in Matabeleland.
We need to cultivate a culture of respectful disagreement and honest debate in order for great ideas and genuine innovation to take place in Matabeleland. Nationalists have to appreciate that the big vision will be achieved through several tiny steps flawlessly put together. Collaboration is essential, no individual or group will possibly come up with all of the little innovations required to secure the freedom desired by our people. Events in Makuzeze primary school several months ago and the recent clashes in Maleme ranch clearly illustrate how vital collaboration is for effectiveness, problem solving and improving our understanding of the politics in the region.
Politics detached from a nation’s traditions is a scandal and politics without innovation is dead. In recent history our people have shown that they have no problem embracing good ideas provided there is something for them in the innovation. Politicians have a responsibility to articulate themselves to a motivated Matabeleland population what they hope the region stands to gain from an idea.