To anyone accustomed to the Matabeleland political space it would come as no surprise when I argue that lack of discipline, not lack of creativity, is the greatest internal threat to effective debates and progress today.
Vibrant debates whose only focus is to protect individual or group egos hinder progress; discussions drowned in emotion and hugely lacking in objectivity will not be the vehicle that drives the Matabeleland agenda forward. Now more than ever, we need to safeguard the quality and objectives, and with that the dignity of our political debate platforms.
That calls for a significant improvement in the way discussions are moderated and discipline is enforced without compromising the right of the minority to be heard. It is paramount to protect our platforms against the illusory strength of the majority; this is a form of strength formed by populist gangs who offer little objectivity but more blaster in their contributions. They powerfully reject every contribution from minorities they do not identify with, often arguing that this or that approach has been tried and failed in the past but not specifically pointing at how and when it was tried and how and when it failed.
I appreciate that in most socio-political debates complete objectivity is unattainable hence here I will emphasise the spirit of fairness in the manner we conduct our discussions, particularly in view of the current socio-political circumstances. The background to our current situation is easily and rightfully traced to political activity from the mid twentieth century.
Our critic of political decisions by politicians from the previous generation, the living and the dead should be placed in its rightful context. While emotional expression is an integral part in human communication, people should learn to restrain themselves, contribute constructive ideas and refrain from the use of abusive language.
We perhaps all agree that yesterday is quite literally gone; our responsibility is gaining tomorrow or we will lose it too. Although I will briefly touch on the palpable historical mistakes (in our internal modern politics) that have hugely contributed to the Matabeleland we know today, it is not the falling that will build us but the unrelenting rising after every fall that we should focus upon.
Political mistakes have been made in Matabeleland starting with our local leaders paying a blind eye in 1963 when ZANU PF, a patently tribal organisation was formed for the sole purpose of protecting the interests of ethnic Shona people and then the independence fiasco: the mishandling of the Entumbane uprising, etc. by senior PF ZAPU officials, the mishandling of the Gukurahundi atrocities by the so-called mature democracies of the West and then there is the Unity Accord joke.
Those of us who question the merits of the Unity Accord also tend to agree that on 22-Dec-1987 despite all their good intentions, Dr Nkomo and his advisors confirmed the sacrifice of Matabeleland freedom and liberty on the altar of Zimbabwean unity. Zimbabwean unity turned out to be the start of a race to the bottom for Matabeleland. Our freedom and liberty were surrendered in return for some security from the ZANU PF government. In that unity process, our new status as the second class citizens was also affirmed through the second vice president role.
It is that status that permits Linda Masarira’s warped views of Matabeles; those alleged views should come as a surprise only to the unborn child otherwise the rest of us know their source. Next we will pay attention to the context of recent comments by Linda.
Positive debate is essential for Matabeleland political space; let us re-organise our debate platforms, reshape the message and reclaim our future. Those who choose to lead discussions should take the responsibility of moderating and maintaining discipline within the debate process; significantly, minority voices must be heard.