We need discipline to redesign the Matabeleland brand

The socio-political space nurtured by a ZANU PF dominated government within the independent Zimbabwe territory is a crude political system designed without moral consideration for human rights and dignity of minority population groups. It is a flawed, divisive politics of hate that crushes than listen to dissenting voices; it possesses neither an ear nor a heart for alternative views.

It is however, futile to continue complaining about the systematic abrogation of Matabeleland human rights by ZANU PF-led legal processes; we cannot change ZANU PF or its laws but we have control over our thoughts and views. We are indeed in that privileged position where we can confidently redesign and repackage the politics of Matabeleland to effectively shrink ZANU PF influence in the region.

We are here talking not merely replacing broken window panels or a leaking roof but uprooting, from Matabeleland, the pillars and removing the foundations on which the Zimbabwean systems are built. The first victory will be over ourselves, and internal discipline is essential. Constant self-discipline and self-control is required to establish and maintain processes that will change our political landscape forever.

ZANU PF impact aside, for a while Matabeleland political space has been disrupted and hampered by an incoherent message driven by a conflict between objective arguments focused on issues and subjective interpretations guided by personalities. All that we ask of the different pro-Matabeleland leaders is that they listen to the ordinary men and women of the land; any solution that leaves aside the ordinary man and woman is a delusion.

To deliver a successful Matabeleland empowerment project, pro-Matabeleland organisations must first discipline themselves and the message they deliver. Let us disagree well, trading insults and accusations between groups as much as expressing disrespectful remarks about such big personalities in the region as the late Dr Joshua Nkomo will never be a clever ploy. Nkomo, like all of us, had flaws but there is a lot to learn than reject from the man; his organisational skills were second to none; to date, no current nationalist group in Matabeleland boasts the support he enjoyed from our diverse communities. Stop disrespecting Nkomo and start delivering a convincing pro-Matabeleland case to Mthwakazi nationals.

Let us appreciate that we cannot do everything at the same time; we need to prioritise our goals and give a coherent message to the people. It should not be any message but one that moves with the times and shows evidence we are looking and working well into the future.

It is irresponsible politics to fail to choose our priorities; our experience of Zimbabwean independence should be enough to allow us to understand our priorities. The target is to create and maintain Matabeleland as a fairer and open society that protects and treats all its nationals, immigrants and visitors equally.

How we achieve our goals is a function of how well we prioritise our steps. Let us think of our priorities not only in terms of what activities we do but when we do them. Our political decisions will be instructed by our priorities; our political ideologies need to be consistent with our priorities. I said in my previous submission, we have talked, now it is the doing time; the litmus test must be the changes we make to the lives of the most vulnerable within our society.

Without discipline, instead of independence for all, we run the risk of creating a huge graveyard for some population groups. Misapplied and misplaced nationalism risks turning us into a bunch of hooligans guarding an open prison of vulnerable population groups. If for such reasons as ethnicity, race, gender and political allegiance, my neighbour is not safe, I cannot genuinely and confidently claim to be safe; relative safety is violence defined otherwise. Intolerance, division and fear must never be afforded space in our political discourse.

Matabeleland cannot continue living under systems and structures whose comprehension and perceived benefits are incongruent with our aspirations and priorities. If we cannot comprehend why we have to do certain things, the probability is that we do not need to do them; if we cannot understand why we are doing what we are doing in the way we are doing it and we cannot objectively measure its broader benefits to our communities, that is perhaps the best marker of the need for change.


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