With a high degree of confidence, my verdict on Zimbabwe’s post-independence operational processes is that they have created more suffering, deeper socioeconomic disparities and have claimed more political victims than the Smith regime would ever have dreamt of. The so-called independence is now a pantomime; of sovereign African states, we are certainly in an exclusive group of one country that has successfully engineered the extinction of its own currency.
As a primary victim of the 36 years of treatment that easily qualifies for modern-day colonialism, Matabeleland can say with certainty that Zimbabwe’s politics has failed to take up its social responsibility. While the public perception of the task of independence was the promotion of equality, ZANU PF’s main task and objective has been appropriating power and authority from the citizens as opposed to lifting masses from poverty and narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor. An economic and political evaluation of the country’s post-independence performance indicates that the party has done absolutely nothing for the country from which the elite have continued to extract wealth.
With ZANU PF’s man-made failures comes Matabeleland’s socioeconomic and political challenges; be it Gukurahundi or the controversial deployment of ethnic Shona teachers evidently lacking the required basic local language skills to teach in Matabeleland primary schools, most of our problems can be directly linked to measurable post-independence changes; changes that we can use to make vital political descriptions of modern-day Zimbabwe and hopefully use in finding practicable long-term solutions.
Under ZANU PF stewardship ethnic and racial selection and/ or discrimination has escalated; the gap between the rich and the poor has widened; social mobility remains elusive; regional social progress has stalled; through various but unjust socioeconomic and political prompts, smaller ethnic groups have been further pushed into the little corner from which they are expected to make a choice between being either Ndebele or Shona as opposed to being encouraged to be themselves. This injustice needs to stop immediately.
Ethnic minorities and Matabeleland must not pay the price for Mashonaland’s disastrous political decisions. It is time Matabeleland looked for internal solutions and creatively initiated the practical process of disengaging from the ZANU PF led policy disasters; we need to take control of our destiny; our task is to build a political system from which every community in our midst can see its own image. Our politics needs to promote policies that allow everyone to become who they can be to attain their destiny. Elimination of tribal selection and elitism should be our priority if opportunity is to be extended to the entire population.
Change is an ongoing process, we need to shape our lives and that demands that we shape ourselves. We require neither the ZANU PF nor the MDCs’ answer but the right answer; the choices we make are our ultimate responsibility. The right answer is more likely than not to come from outward facing local political parties that draw their authority from the people rather than career politicians. Tribal and racial selection has not worked for the benefits of the broader society anywhere in the world; it cannot form part of our solution going forward.
The destiny of Matabeleland lies in the hands of the citizens of the region. Let us not mortgage our future to Harare, let no one edit and recreate our history; ZANU PF politics is not suited to Matabeleland’s social and economic configurations and needs; tribalism is ethically and morally wrong and conflicts the founding principles of Mthwakazi. We need to explore how we can transform our politics to help Matabeleland face modern-day challenges while remaining relevant to the individual citizens of Matabeleland. Our politics needs to open the decision-making process to a broader constituency not just a few individuals.