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Matabeleland Against Division

The priority of the Mthwakazi movement’s engagement in politics must be to better the lives of people and, not just a vehicle for opportunists to amass political power. The movement does not exist to replace ZANU PF but as a vehicle for the creation of opportunity and access to all who call Matabeleland home.

Sadly, what we are witnessing right now are political groups slagging each other. Instead of the removal of the toxic tribalism, we are witnessing the shifting of the target of hate; there is a damaging, deepening and extreme dehumanisation of ethnic Shona people within the Mthwakazi space.

Supremacism is not a measure of progress but the depth of desperation and depravity; we cannot measure our success on the depth of our hatred of other human beings. The founding base of Mthwakazi was never division but diversity; trying to adapt ZANU PF policies to recreate a Mthwakazi nation is a wrong premise, and that philosophy is crumbling because the ZANU PF system and institutions are not compatible with diversity.

As a matter of urgency, we need to address the obvious weaknesses within the Mthwakazi movement; first, let us acknowledge that the movement is in crisis; it is an increasingly disturbing power grab match in which some groups have made it their mandate to publicly disparage the work and goals of others. Tell me now, who needs enemies when you have brothers and sisters like that?

You know you have a problem when ZANU PF is suddenly the most tolerant political institution in the region. It is telling that ZANU PF has presently chosen not to interfere in the Mthwakazi movement; it just does not want to disturb the squabbling groups and risk bringing about the calm necessary for creative minds to start genuine work of putting great ideas together and be heard by the Matabele public.

Let us review our political activity, start investing in quality debate forums and transform our policies. Without creative use of debate platforms, we will soon become obsolete.

A snobbish political approach risks our very political existence and sacrifices the next generations. I welcome ideological difference within our space but we must know at the end of the day we are all one, or at least we should be, and we have a responsibility to fight the voices of division and seek the salve of partnership.

All groups have something to give to the Mthwakazi movement; we need to prioritise our activities properly and we will realise that some groups may have to surrender their pride and suspend their programmes and offer active and/ or moral support to others for the good of the nation.

We will fight fear and division not to hamper progress. Let us call out what is wrong and demand a change of course. Our organisations need to desist from using tribalism and ethnic division as an alternative to being politically relevant. More important, how we intend to use power vested on us is a vital question for which people expect answers.

A fact for all Matabeleland freedom movements to remember is that unity of purpose is the cornerstone for progress and division is the ultimate destroyer. The current Mthwakazi movement is struggling for relevance and credibility within Mthwakazi; progress on the ground is negligible.

We are not against disagreement, when people start agreeing on everything and anything, all of the time within a political space, the real danger is that totalitarianism has won the day and, liberty, freedom of expression and individual creativity have lost; and everyone and everything is in danger of a silent but painful death.

Allowing space for creative ideological difference is essential for political legitimacy. We do not need everyone to agree on everything to be united but we certainly need the capacity and creativity to respond to conflict and, use our differences for the benefit of all. Our starting point is the recognition that no single group has all the solutions to all of our problems, all of the time.

Our progress will not be birthed by continually deciding between alternatives imposed upon us by others. Let us bring new ideas for debate and make decisions on them. We thus, encourage our people to ask questions and explore alternatives to the norm. Each time we are given two alternatives, let us search for the third; we want the right to create for ourselves those alternatives.

Debate itself does not generate division, we hold no fear in partaking in debates; boring rallies that see our leadership give answers not to our questions but theirs must be confined to history notepads.


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