We are witnesses of the 35 years of Zimbabwe’s tyranny, brutality and abuse of territorial and political independence. Matabeleland is further from independence today than it was before 1980. To be free is not merely a reference to being rid of chains but having the freedom to be ourselves and freely enhancing the freedoms of others.
Zimbabwean independence is nothing but a tyranny against minority ethnic Ndebele by the majority ethnic Shona who have effectively legislated their creed into law. It is no longer a secret that the Zimbabwean ‘independence’ experiment has been nothing but a failure for the ordinary citizen and an open prison for Matabeleland.
Experience and evidence from 35 years of this sad experiment shows Matabeles have neither got closer to freedom nor got nearer to decisions affecting their lives.
Within a state where ethnicity is an important factor in electorate decision-making, the first-past-the-first voting system ensures Matabeleland is subordinated to Mashonaland.
We are witnesses too to the fact that in an independent Zimbabwe, the value of the contribution of the ordinary black citizen to the fundamental political institutions of the country has not necessarily improved from what it was before the 1980 declaration of independence.
Today, the electorate are neither deciders of issues nor deciders of deciders of issues, the executive is; there is – election after election – ongoing allegations and/ or evidence of widespread vote rigging, not to mention the perpetual illegal harassment of voters by the state machinery.
If a free Matabeleland is to protect the independence and freedom of the electorate, we need not give room for the tyranny of the legislature/judiciary/executive. It is thus, fundamental that serious thought is given to how Power is distributed in our socio-political space. We need to ensure the executive is not granted free will over Power; if anything Power must never be trusted without checks and balance.
Our experience of failures of the Zimbabwean system stresses the need for Matabeles in a self-governing Matabeleland to be masters of the executive, parliament and the courts in order to protect the Constitution against individuals and/ or groups who pervert it.
Zimbabwe, among many major ‘independent’ states in Africa, is evidence of the dangers of power entrusted in one person. Separation of powers is therefore the logical choice if we are to maximize freedom for Matabeles and take the lead in uprooting the damaging habit of despotism within the African continent.
In conclusion, I argue that as Matabeleland citizens, we need to protect our politics from the possibility of any single sect or cult or religion or ethnicity or race turning its political mandate into a process of legislating its own creed into law. We have to protect without fear or favour political, intellectual and religious minorities from the potential and real tyranny of the majority.