We have talked the talk, now it is time to walk the walk. Planning to empower Matabeleland is not empowerment; setting deadline after deadline for action is not empowerment neither is renaming our dreams nor is articulating to our people what we are doing to empower the region. Empowerment is quite simply that, empowerment.
Moving from ideas to their execution will require us to quickly appreciate the need to close the credibility gap within the current internal politics; close the gap between vision and action, we have yet to move from the planning stage of our project. There is a difference between telling people what we are planning to do and standing up to do and accomplish it. Money may not be the answer to everything but it will take financial investment to make a critical difference in carrying the Southern Powerhouse project forward. The reality is that if we are not prepared to fund the dream, the project will fail, there is no two ways about it.
The object of all work is production and accomplishment, the Matabeleland project is no different. We want, among other things, a socio-political space in which people are treated equally and protected equally. This is no longer the time to obsess about what we cannot do because of ZANU PF but a time to focus on what we can achieve in spite of ZANU PF. If we are only planning to defeat ZANU PF and nothing else, we will be defeated, we will never achieve our goals. We are our biggest competitor now, we need to step out of the comfort zone, and not focus on pulling anyone down. The fact remains that we cannot alter Matabeleland’s political direction without investing in the planning of how and what to do; and the planning process includes direct financial investment into the project. We have to practically dip our hands into our pockets if our conceived future is to be brought to the present and be acted upon now.
The Southern Powerhouse is not an attrition project but a movement bent on shrinking, repealing and replacing the extremely negative influence of ZANU PF in Matabeleland. Forget the lie implied by the Unity Accord of 1987, there is nothing unifying about ZANU PF policies and strategies in Matabeleland; ZANU PF is quite clearly a Mashonaland empowerment and Matabeleland disempowerment movement. That it has to date objectively failed to achieve the former does not of itself alter its founding goals and principles.
We require financial freedom to eliminate a chunk of the ‘What ifs’ kind of worries while we concentrate on the steps to take in order to achieve our set goals. Progress is slow on the ground because people are either unwilling to make the necessary financial contributions/ sacrifices to the steps being taken towards attaining our goals or the ad hoc fundraising programmes lack the desired structure and have yet to build confidence in the hearts of willing potential financiers. Whatever the reason, funding is critical to sustaining the steps to our goals; whilst I appreciate the importance of financial probity, undue excuses will not produce money but action will. There are Mthwakazi groups that have successfully raised and managed finances for projects in the region, there is no reason why such expertise cannot be extended to even bigger projects.
Our problem is not the absence of ideas or a lack of visionaries but a lack of financial and time resources to invest into turning the vision to tangible reality. Money may not be everything but it remains an essential component in helping us achieve our goals of a Matabeleland safe for the young and old, the rich and poor, and a Matabeleland that effectively shrinks ZANU PF influence in the region. We have spent far too long talking about what we want to do and disproportionately little time talking up the fundamentals of financial investment in action steps. Let us challenge our instincts of doubting and start building confidence and trust in our own visionaries; this is the time we started financially paying for our freedoms and liberties; no one but us will pay for that paper tissue that finally wipes tears of distress off our faces.