MTHWAKAZI POLITICS: WHEN SILENCE IS NOT GOLDEN

There is no wisdom in inaction when the situation demands of you to act. While Mthwakazi accepts that silence has a sound and there is wisdom to it, we need to acknowledge too there are genuine cases when the voice of reason needs to be heard to deny space to unwarranted and dangerous political narrative.

What is increasingly evident in the Mthwakazi political scene is that silence is no longer golden but political recklessness and a handicap to our aspirations of true freedom and liberty. The quieter the voice of reason, the louder the sound of political extremism. When a politics built on stereotypes that suggest Ndebeles are violent, uneducated and a threat to Shona systems on one side and a politics that says Shona people are the reason for Mthwakazi problems on the other attempts to grow root, silence of the voice of reason risks leaving us guilty of complicity.

For political progress, we cannot carry on apportioning a collective burden of responsibility to Shona people for Mthwakazi’s political circumstances. We need to break down the causes and place them in their rightful positions to creatively work on solutions, and more importantly, we need to learn to accept that we are collectively responsible for both our success and our failure; we are not where we want to be today because we have often fought the wrong fights, and when we have fought the right ones, we have only made half-hearted stabs before inexplicably giving up.

Inclusion and the promotion of coexistence of diverse communities is the goal of an autonomous Mthwakazi, and we will do everything to protect the rights of all our citizens; for evil to triumph, good people will have to standby and do nothing. The fantasy that denies the Mthwakazi citizenry to ethnic Shona will need to be replaced by the reality that Mthwakazi is a multi-ethnic region, and that includes ethnic Shona people. Calls of indiscriminate expulsion of Shona people from Mthwakazi are just as ridiculous as they are vile afflictions.

Our main goal is not to replace ZANU PF political wickedness with our own form of wickedness but to tear down and replace bigoted systems with strong and humane political structures and systems. Evil is evil, no matter who commits it; we have a responsibility to detoxify our socio-political space.

If we are to counter an extremist, dangerous and socially divisive political narrative that thrives on intimidation and uncertainty, focussing on propaganda that targets ethnic Shona individuals for exclusion from Mthwakazi citizenship will be a good start. We need to take collective responsibility to stop fascism from taking a foothold in our political space.

Context is important, while it is a fact that an ethnic Shona dominated ZANU PF government has overseen atrocious abuses of Mthwakazi citizens, our people need to understand the suffering is not a creation of all ethnic Shona citizens but a deliberate ZANU PF structural and systemic political intervention whose political objective is to manage, and not empower Mthwakazi.

When the voice of reason succumbs to silence, extremism thrives. We do not have to agree with every Mthwakazi group or its beliefs to defend against all injustice in our region. We will not yield to the propaganda that implies opposition to an anti-Shona narrative within Mthwakazi politics equates to a lack of passion for Mthwakazi freedom. Far from it, patriotism is not blind love of pro-Mthwakazi organisations but total love of our country, and for the love of Mthwakazi we will put our organisations to scrutiny.

Mthwakazi is fighting for a democratic form of governance and that should be seen to be the foundation at this stage; we cannot fight for democracy using undemocratic tools. We reject political ideals based on fear, intimidation, uncertainty as well as building barriers between communities. Our challenges will not be resolved by the expulsion of any community from Mthwakazi but building good, fair, empathetic systems and institutions that place political accountability at the core.

Respect of individual’s rights to choose and express themselves in their own way is paramount in the Mthwakazi we aspire to, but that is not to say offensive behaviour must be tolerated in the pretext of respect of individual rights to express themselves. Individual rights go hand in hand with responsibilities. People are created equal; human rights are absolute and all-inclusive; no tribe is less or more deserving of protection than any other. The Mthwakazi we seek is not an exclusive club of chosen tribes but a multi-ethnic, multi-racial nation.

For evil to thrive, good men and women need to do nothing, and that is what Mthwakazi must guard against. We need to be honest to ourselves and accept we have collectively let ourselves down by allowing our political focus to be hijacked by an unhealthy obsession with ZANU PF. Let us redirect away from responding to ZANU PF to focus on building systems and institutions based on our needs. The public must engage in politics; for long, we have surrendered our authority to career politicians who have often acted to their parties’ interests and not ours. We need to start accepting responsibility in the state of our politics and integrate that into our political planning and implementation processes; our success will come.

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