Power balance redistribution key to Matabeleland’s political destiny

Poor political power distribution is the reason behind all of Zimbabwe’s political arrogance that sees Mthwakazi being reduced to a subordinate and not an equal political partner of Harare. What we draw from the 35 years of modern-day Zimbabwe is that concentration of political power in any one individual or particular population group is politically disastrous.

If the Zimbabwe unitary state ideal is to be good and sustainable, the balance of power has to change: we need to stop Zimbabwean government becoming the political function of ethnic Shona elite; the State must not be left a reflection of the ethnic Shona creed. All individuals, their communities and all social classes must feel represented. The current situation in which the Mthwakazi traditional state is deliberately cut off from decisions affecting its residents must not be tolerated.

Focus should be on political power defined here as the capacity to affect real political behaviour of others thus, shape, control and influence important policy decisions adopted by government; notably, political power is itself based on the control communities and individuals have over political resources. By political resources we are referring to votes and other forms of political support, e.g. financial resources, wealth, property and other material possessions, information, knowledge and skills among other forms of resources.

Clearly, we cannot ignore the role economic power plays in the concentration of political power. We are under no illusion that concentration of wealth yields concentration of political power; concentration of political power in turn gives rise to the legislation that protects the wealthy elite and their wealth which accelerates the cycle. We are witnesses to the unfair power distribution in Zimbabwe that has overseen the continued ethnic Shona, Mashonaland and ZANU PF dominance of influential positions within the country’s socioeconomic and political regime. This unhealthy socio-political cycle has to be broken immediately to create a fair State.

Here we define the State as a set of interlocking institutional relationships and arrangements; it is a byproduct of intricate relationships between these different institutions in society. The only real and effective method of control to the political chaos currently reigning in Zimbabwe will be the creation of a system that gives up that control. The focus of Matabeleland politics either within the current unitary Zimbabwe arrangement or outside it as an independent state should thus be the creation of a political power with checks and balances that empower the breadth and depth of society while preventing accumulation of power that creates God-like figures within our system.

Changing political power distribution in Matabeleland and Zimbabwe is everyone’s responsibility; our people need education, knowledge and material resources to be prepared to grab opportunities to empower Matabeleland. The Zimbabwean State has to accept hogging all control has been nothing short of a disaster as much as it has harmed Mthwakazi. Zimbabwe has to give up political control and Matabeleland has to be ready to grab political control to manage itself.

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