Forget grand political ideologies, what Africa needs today is true equality; true equality in which all are held accountable in the same manner. We cannot talk of democracy where misinformation is the backbone and that democracy means minority rights are persistently voted away by a majority based on a bio-social coincidence, and nothing else.
Matabeleland is failing right now not only because Zimbabwean politics – an ethnic Shona supremacist ideal – controls us but because we are currently responding to ZANU PF instead of responding to the needs of the Matabeleland region. ZANU PF, quite literally, controls our destiny and that needs to change. We cannot always control everything that impacts our lives but we can control how we respond. Matabeleland politics must not be allowed to descend into some reverse ethnic supremacy agenda.
Through knowledge and discipline, we can take control of our internal politics. Once we have set the goals to commit to, we need the discipline and the accompanying hard work to get us there. If we can control information, we can control people; let therefore our priority be on managing information to our people. How the information gets down to the people is important but not the primary concern; the quality of information reaching the people is most vital. Our Matabeleland experience teaches us that telling people not to vote ZANU PF or the MDC-T is not enough; people need to know how the proposed alternatives would be different and helpful to the region.
Our generic and biggest problem as Africa today is that we are yet to master the discipline enough for us to set aside what we want to do while we do what we ought to do. Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment; while awareness of what is happening around us is important, knowing what is happening within us is the utmost, for it is what we have control over. We have to learn to say ‘NO’ to ourselves.
We do not become better because others around us have dropped their standards but because we are doing better than we did the last time. We need to be able to do the right thing time and again regardless of who is or who is not watching us. While South Africa’s depth of democracy is pleasing, one is tempted to question how much of that televised democracy filters to the ordinary man/ woman; unfair as it sounds, judging by the recent xenophobic attacks, there is perhaps little filtering to the ordinary citizen. Matabeleland needs to take lessons from all these observations and ensure our politics saves all (including our guests) not only some population groups.
Matabeles may not control all the events that happen to them but we can control the way we respond to most of the events affecting our existence right now. The secret of our success lies in our ability to use pain and pleasure instead of having the two use us. When our responses start being dictated by our needs and not what the enemy does to us then, we surely will be in charge!