We live and die by our choices. Some we regret; some we are proud of. Some will haunt us forever. As Zimbabwean politics enters its next phase Matabeleland needs to make a choice. Our choice today is whether we stay in the shallow end of the pool or we run into the nearest ocean?
It takes courage to roll up one’s sleeves and fight, courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. Not all battles are worth engaging in. We ought to have the courage to say ‘No!’ to some situations; the courage to face the truth. Let our lives not be controlled by the results of Mashonaland’s thinking. Mashonaland opinions should not be allowed to drown Matabeleland dreams of true freedom and liberty. It is essential that we do not get ourselves trapped in a complex ethnic Shona battle whose long-term motives we cannot fathom.
Matabeleland has long identified divisive tribalism perpetuated by Mugabe and his ZANU PF cabal, a policy often openly supported by the majority in Mashonaland, as restricting Matabeleland capacity. Any decision we make will require our clear appreciation of what our Mashonaland colleagues’ ideal political transformation entails and how that fits in with our own expectations for change. As I pointed in the last blog, the departure or removal of Mugabe does not of itself represent a shift in Zimbabwean political systems.
We need an explicit explanation from the organisers of current protests what their idea of the politics beyond Mugabe is. At the moment the message we are getting from our Mashonaland colleagues is that ‘Mugabe must go!’ and there appears to be no clear plan of what a Zimbabwean politics without Mugabe would mean. Fictional political ‘facts’ will not solve our problems, Matabeleland continues to call for a politics in which there is mutual respect between Mashonaland and Matabeleland, a political design that promotes the fair sharing of political power, rule of law and accountability; a political regime that actively shuts doors to abuse, subjugation and indignation in Matabeleland.
Far from Matabeleland seeking to be sheltered from danger, we intend to be objective and fearless in the face of it. We want the next Matabele generation to stand under the shade of bravery, justice and peace created by this generation. The ad hoc nature of the current protests however, makes informed objective decision-making about any further Matabeleland participation impossible. In the absence of assurances of major changes to the political system, it will be ill-advised for Matabeleland to join the protests.
Meanwhile as Matabeleland, we do not intend to turn our problems into mountains while maintaining dull solutions that have failed to attract significant political participation by our people. Let us review our political approach and make problems interesting while being innovative with our solutions to them so much that all of Matabeleland would want to get involved.
Effort and courage are meaningless without purpose and direction. The choices we make will ultimately be our responsibility. The choices we make today will lead up to real experiences but it is one thing to decide to wrestle control of our political circumstances; it is quite another to be in control. What I dream of is that the present Matabeleland generation lives its life so much that when the next generation think of bravery, fairness, honesty and integrity, they will think of this generation.