I am sure it is now evident to all who follow this blog that I am indignant of modern-day Zimbabwe state’s systematic bias against Matabeleland. I hold strong convictions that the people of Matabeleland are discriminated against in the modern-day Zimbabwe state. Not only that, I retain strong convictions too that this discrimination is no accident but a result of comprehensive planning by the ZANU PF government.
The basic principles informing the current Zimbabwean systems are faulty and quite clearly not founded on the self-evident fact that all humans are created equal but on the delusion of the supremacy of some tribes, particularly Shona, over all other ethnic groups.
As Matabeles, we may not necessarily agree on how much freedom and liberty we have lost since the formal transfer of political power by white racists to black Zimbabwean tribalists and racists in 1980; we may not even agree on how the lost freedom and liberty can be reclaimed but we are all agreed that we can no longer afford to keep handing our freedom and liberty over to Zimbabwe focused political parties in return for temporary safety.
To help Matabeleland nationals and citizens decide how much ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty’ they have lost since 1980, I will attempt to make a distinction between the two. Although the two terms are often used interchangeably and indeed many languages across the world do not make a distinction between the two, English language gives us that unique privilege to do just that; distinguish between ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty’. While freedom means to be free from something – which translates (in theory) to a state of being able to make decisions without external control, liberty on the other hand means to be free to do something but that ability is granted by an external control. Just imagine the anarchy that would preside limitless freedom! Liberty thus, translates to a system of rules; it is an extensive network of restraint and order that allows people to exercise their freedom but also taking account of their responsibilities.
Considering the above definitions, we acknowledge that freedom is scarcely absolute but relative. Whatever the case, as Matabeles and/ or Matabeleland citizens how free are we within the modern-day Zimbabwe? Are we able to freely play roles within the Zimbabwean systems without feeling the necessity to trade our reality in? I will leave the judgement to each individual. What we need to be clear about is that we are no less oppressed simply because we falsely believe we are free!
Once again, as is fast becoming the norm with my blogs, we need to define the Matabeleland we want and then draw and prioritise our goals: I want a Matabeleland that will embrace individual liberty and enforce constitutional rights of all its citizens irrespective of ethnicity, race, gender and religion. We want a Matabeleland that permits all its citizens to be what they really are; no one should find it necessary to trade in their reality for a role in Matabeleland’s socioeconomic and political space. It has to be ability and only that which determines a person’s role.
Matabeleland has to prioritise economic security and independence; economic insecurity has left our people vulnerable to ZANU PF exploitation. We have to harmonise our political ideals with the social ideal and build a representative politics that incorporates our unelected traditional leadership with the elected political leadership. In-built checks and balance within the system are required to maintain a power balance between the leadership and the people.
Freedom and liberty are a right not an option. Our generation has a duty to ensure all who call Matabeleland home and all our guests have equal access to protections offered by the state. We have to have the conviction that the disaster that is modern-day Zimbabwe is escapable; Matabeleland has to be clear in what it wants and pay full price for it.