Every situation we find ourselves in is no accident but a by-product of our decisions, and indeed indecision. Decisions made in the right order and within the right context are crucial for Matabeleland’s political progress.
We are where we are today not because of circumstances but due to a series of our decisions. Our decisions are our product; it is through our decisions today that we commit the Matabeleland future to progress or failure; it is therefore crucial that we put every measure in to enhance the decision-making processes within the pro-Matabeleland agenda.
Let us go after doors that are open to us; we however, need to identify those doors first, if we cannot, let us create them; I will argue that strategic voting is one such door. Our political progress or lack thereof is a choice. To vote is a choice. Not to vote is a choice. Whether we give ourselves a political future of more influence or a political future of less influence is a choice too.
We agree there is no one solution to the political problems facing Matabeleland today but advising non-participation in elections and calling for military intervention instead is a coup out as much as it is political negligence.
I am sceptical of threats of military action not because I am meek but because evidence in such territories as Somalia, Yemen, South Sudan and Syria to mention but a few examples, suggests limited short and long-term benefits of such action. People overestimate the change that may be triggered by violent action/ armed conflict and underestimate the effect of non-violent action in affecting change; let us not be lulled into inaction while we await bullets to rain down from some source somewhere.
Inaction and indifference give a blank cheque to evildoers; given there are dangers in voting but, not voting builds nothing for us; non-participation in Zimbabwean administered elections, elections funded through our taxes, will not halt the extension of Harare hegemony in Matabeleland.
If we want to have the control over our lives, we cannot do it all from outside existing systems but from within; we want to have the control to criticise excessive power from Harare and, the availability of the election booth best allows us the chance to amass enough local political authority to do just that – effectively challenge Harare from Bulawayo in one voice. Even more important, voting allows us the opportunity to test the acceptability of our ideas; our ideas need to be tested for their relevance within the region.
Inaction and excuses have contributed immensely to our political paralysis; we have been unable to address the big issues of our day thereby leaving our future in jeopardy. Using mass misinformation as a political weapon betrays our credibility; suggesting that participation in Zimbabwean administered elections legitimises the sovereignty of the State and betrays the Matabeleland restoration agenda is misleading and quite simply untrue.
We need to build our political capacity by working hard, making tough decisions and building appropriate coalitions. We must be firm with our targets but very flexible with our execution of ideas. Strategic voting is essential and it is the beginning for the foundation of power building and retention in Matabeleland.
Strategic voting in which we target local councils, members of parliament, and governors and only vote for openly pro-Matabeleland candidates thus, actively disengaging from ZANU PF, both MDCs and similarly focussed organisations. Only such an approach will give us real chance in gaining genuine political autonomy.
I accept that our effect in the decisions of the Zimbabwean government is insignificant; I however, argue that has less to do with us being part of Zimbabwe but more to do with us not being a part of Mthwakazi. Let us play our part, there are times when chaotic action is preferable to orderly inaction. A blanket boycott of Zimbabwean administered elections within Matabeleland without immediate and viable means to build political capital in the region is surely less of an objective or even beneficial political strategy and more of organised surrender.
Uncertainty brought about by inaction leaves vacant space for evil doers – in our case the Harare authorities – to exploit. Let us participate in and obsess with elections that matter to us. Adopting a policy of deliberate nonexistence within the Zimbabwean system will not place any pressure on the government to recognise our existence. It is black people like Rosa Louise McCauley Parks and others who chose to use public buses but refused to surrender their seats to white passengers who affected civil action against racial attitudes in the USA.
It is the responsibility of those calling for participation in Zimbabwean administered elections and those opposed to participation to demonstrate the benefits of their recommendations. Trading insults is desperation that does little to inform our people’s decisions.