Matabeleland will not rid evil by more evil

The eternal rule is that bad policies cannot be halted by equally bad policies; exchanging roles of abusers and victims does not, even remotely, start to create justice.

Given, the activities of the authoritarian ZANU PF government, an ethnic Shona dominated institution, have presided over much of the deprivation in Matabeleland, we need to take positive action and help ourselves out of the temptation of being drawn into a spiral of revenge and animosity. No evil can resist the power of good forever; our best revenge is to be unlike the ZANU PF administration.

It is for this reason that I commit my writings to the rejection of retaliatory politics, and the rejection of tribalism in all its forms starts the ball rolling; tribalism is maximum hatred of other human beings for a minimum reason. We cannot call ourselves progressive when we allow instincts over law to determine our responses.

Retaliation maybe morbidly fascinating to many but, as a long-term problem-solving method, it has failed dismally; it leaves humans imprisoned in an endless cycle of resentment. Let us invest on a political method founded on love, respect of human dignity and responsible policies, a method that will reject revenge, aggression and animosity against certain communities for nothing but being different.

We accept that the ZANU PF regime has traditionally drawn its support from Mashonaland and that the regime has been extremely disastrous for Matabeleland and its people; we recognise too that the State has left Matabeleland vulnerable to exploitation; it has opened the region to an unequalled socioeconomic and political instability in modern history but that is no excuse for crucifying every ethnic Shona person.

It is an ongoing economic and political fact and no exaggeration that under ZANU PF leadership, Matabeleland is in all measures objectively worse than it was during the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) regime of Ian Smith. In the 1980s, the so-called independence oversaw the deliberate and State sanctioned disruption of food supply to Matabeleland as ZANU PF sort to impose Shona creed into law over the region.

Yes, inaction is no longer an option but it should not be just action for the sake of action. Whatever action is taken must be action founded on international law not instinct; good ethics and respect of fundamental human rights are paramount if we are to avoid diplomatic isolation.

It is immoral to target certain communities for abuse due to their heritage – social and historical connections. Indiscriminate action is lazy, it is an easy option but not a solution to blame all our problems on ethnic Shona people, abuse them and threaten to banish them from a freed Matabeleland; this is populism at its worst.

My idea of a freed Matabeleland is that of a territory governed by ethical norms and values, responsible laws and a country guided by principles based on justice and the fact all human beings are created equal; no life is more valuable than others! When any community within a country feels unsafe because of State action then none of us can confidently claim to be safe and free.

To demand that the current State must take responsibility for the Matabeleland decline is a reasonable demand but we must be prepared to take the bulk of the responsibility for our region not rising above evil propagated by ZANU PF.

Evil will not triumph without being granted a clear path by the good. Matabeleland has suffered under the ZANU PF tyranny because all the good men and women of the region are opting to withdraw from the political space to protect their individual privileges. Where are the Sidney Malungas, the Welshman Mabhenas of this generation? We need a whole nation of Moses Mzila-Ndlovus, people who talk the talk and walk the walk, to carry Matabeleland forward.

Now is no time to be advising against political participation without offering a viable alternative; silence is tacit suffocation of good while allowing voices of evil to triumph. Matabeleland is the most deprived region within the modern-day Zimbabwean borders; yes, ZANU PF’s contribution is undeniable but much of the problem is Matabeles who do not do anything about the injustice.


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