The millions of Zimbabweans who still refuse to condemn the palpable tribalism that continues to be the embodiment of Zimbabwe’s political system are by default guilty of standing in the way of true freedom and liberty for all. We cannot continue excusing ZANU PF injustice on Matabeleland and Matabeles; we cannot as a society allow ourselves to consent to surrender some of our legal and political rights in order for the Mugabe government to protect our other rights; such reasoning is nothing but social, legal and political absurdity.
I say to those Matabeleland politicians and ordinary citizens who think that denouncing and calling for action against Gukurahundi planners and executioners is politically retrogressive at best and hampers potential negotiations about the future at worst, it does Matabeleland no harm to keep reminding the world about Gukurahundi atrocities as that shows everyone that we care about the protection of our safety, liberty and freedom. The world needs to know what ZANU PF really is: a rights and dignity stripper. ZANU PF is a nasty organisation that has set itself up to be an ethnic Shona dominion; the party system and its supporting structures are built to be a Mashonaland elite troubling ordinary Matabeleland citizenry.
In keeping with its core values, ZANU PF has modelled Zimbabwe’s independence into an ethnic Shona pseudo-kingdom whose purpose is an attempt to force Matabeleland to lose its identity. We recognise that the Zimbabwean political model is problematic for Matabeleland yet it can be conceived as an opportunity for building political awareness in the region. We need to be clear that Matabeleland is a nation in its own right, it will never lose its identity. Indeed, we exist for the development of the whole of the Zimbabwean society but not that alone, we also exist to develop our being and that we will stand for.
Those who perceive the Zimbabwean political model as an independence driver live in an alternative reality. Independence should mean more freedom; we need control over the power to choose, to respond and to change our life chances; finally, we need the power to live as we wish. Evidence indicates that within ZANU PF designed Zimbabwean independence, Matabeleland does not possess the capacity to act as per our wishes and to the best of our ability outside the coercion of ethnic Shona creed turned into law. As Matabeleland we want to be a free people who could run their own lives according to their cultural aspirations, needs and abilities; we want to be in control of choosing who we partner with in this interconnected and highly interdependent world. We can be that nation!
Politicians have failed Zimbabwe, for years ZANU PF has to a great extent successfully manipulated Mashonaland and ethnic Shona people and to a great extent changed people’s behaviour by creating fear, uncertainty and built a wedge between different communities within society. A better Zimbabwe will not be built on the back of systems and structures whose primary concern is to exclude and isolate Matabeleland. Creating a better modern-day Zimbabwe requires teamwork, equal partnership and collaboration between Mashonaland and Matabeleland ordinary citizens.
ZANU PF policies and actions in Matabeleland have deepened resentment and distrust of Mashonaland politicians by Mthwakazi. Abuse of authority and systems has played an immeasurable role in creating and maintaining factions within Mashonaland while maintaining destructive divisions between Mashonaland and Matabeleland. There is urgent need to reverse this toxic political model that only allows a little independence of mind and a model in which real freedom remains elusive. Differences and diversity should not be perceived as a source of division, distrust and fear but of strength.
Questioning the current Zimbabwean political system’s negative impact in Matabeleland and calling for the creation of systems that implore the advancement of Matabeleland’s unique strengths is not rebellion; it is sincerity not antagonism as is often viewed along the corridors of Zimbabwe’s parliament.