Matabeleland politics: different views but equal motivation

When we are surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible. Without a doubt, dreamers, hard workers, believers and achievers will be essential in the fight for Matabeleland empowerment and rights. This is the moment for us all to actively choose to be in control of our responses.

The Unity Accord was signed between Zanu PF and PF Zapu in 1987. Here the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo and President Robert Mugabe are seen hugging at the signing ceremony
Robert Mugabe (ZANU leader) and Joshua Nkomo (PF ZAPU leader) after signing the controversial Unity Accord in 1987.

We have been witnesses to the disempowering associations with Zimbabwean state institutions and policies. To date Matabeleland has failed to lead a reform of the biased ethnic Shona dominated institutions for them to be accountable to Matabeleland citizens. Matabeleland has remained without control of all that happens to it since that 18th day of April in 1980, the authority of which was cemented by the butcher of Matabeles from 1982/3 to 1986 that was legitimised by the 1987 ‘Unity Accord’ absurdity with its second vice presidency post farce for Matabeleland. Through our experiences of Zimbabwean independence, we have learned that ZANU PF, MDC, MDC-T among many Zimbabwean political organisations cannot be disciplined into decency neither can their policies be codified into common sense.

The grip of Zimbabwean institutions on Matabeleland looks enormous and almost unshakable today because of the choices Matabeleland people made and continue to make. It is the choices of earlier generations that Matabeleland is in this position of disadvantage today; it is not our complaining about those choices but the choices this generation makes that will put us back in control of our region. We need to recognise that along the way people will hold different views about the Matabele and Matabeleland situation and what the solutions could be; the diagnoses and prescriptions will differ, approaches to the journey will differ but the destination will remain unchanged.

Far from engaging in disruptive political competition, the different political organisations in the region need not lose focus on the reasons for their very existence – the empowerment of Matabeleland that all the groups share in. Petty strategic political differences should not be allowed to be key factors in decision-making whenever the Matabeleland destiny is the focus. We have to find a way of working together regardless of differences. Our different organisations need to understand that no organisation has monopoly on wisdom. Democratic processes cannot dispense with compromise; compromise is strength not a sign of weakness.

The choices we make today will define this generation; let us stop talking about Zimbabwe’s unfair systems and institutions and start talking to them, chipping and breaking them down. Our different groups need to find a way of working together; disrespect and undermining each other, turning storm drains into oceans between each other is no way of moving Matabeleland forward. Disrespect and impatience will not drive the Matabeleland project faster than respectful interaction and disagreement will do.


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