For the many great historical Mthwakazi figures, including king Mzilikazi the founder of the Mthwakazi nation, the first hurdle to overcome was themselves; self-discipline came first. We cannot deny that self-discipline, a by-product of self-respect, is crucial for today’s Matabeles’ dreams to translate into reality.
If we are to deny space to Zimbabwe’s crude and corrupt systems in Matabeleland, we should be prepared to leave no room for impropriety in our fighting lockers. We have to maintain disciplinary consistency in our rejection of irregular practice that has brought down our region. We need to build and emphasise systems guided by principle not ethnicity.
I argue here that Mthwakazi’s fight for equal rights begins with internal respect which in turn translates to self-discipline. We need to have the clarity of objectives to link today’s actions to tomorrow’s results then we will know what is acceptable or unacceptable between today and tomorrow. When we acquire both self-respect and self-discipline we acquire real power in our hands to start a good fight for our rights. History across Africa informs us that ill-disciplined leadership gains power but not peace.
We need to actively avoid creating a society defined by dread and hurt of individuals and communities for belonging to different social and political persuasions. There are certainly plenty of opportunities for us to lose self-respect but consideration has to be made of the fact that losing self-control is quite literally giving authority to outside forces to control your inner being. A person lacking self-control cannot be of great use for Mthwakazi’s rights fight as they cannot be trusted to manage and use their anger proportionately.
Being in control and respectful of our manners is the best way of dealing with individuals and communities with whom we disagree; we should retain respect for other humans not necessarily their ideas! We can fight a good fight for our rights and equally maintain our respect for Harare, the two are not mutually exclusive. Our focus should be to respect all laws worth respecting and reject all those not worthy of our respect.
This article seeks not to cajole Harare to like Bulawayo; being liked or disliked is the least of my concerns, my major concern is that ZANU PF systems start being built from a respectful position that recognises Matabeles as no less human and that their only difference with MaShona people is nothing other than the socio-cultural expressions.
The sincerest display of respect is actually actively listening to what others have to say; Harare needs to start listening to what Matabeleland is saying as opposed to imposing on Matabeleland ‘solutions’ carved out as part of addressing Mashonaland concerns. The two are entirely different geographic and socio-cultural territories with unrelated challenges for whom solutions are different.
Let us celebrate self-respect. Like a muscle, self-discipline gets stronger as it is exercised; choosing the right gymnasium is an essential part of the process. A good gym exposes the trainer to the right equipment and appropriate training methods. Likewise, strong and principled social and political groups are necessary in enhancing the necessary discipline and control we require to move forward.