All our systems and institutions must be designed on the back of Mthwakazi traditions, culture and needs. The right politics for us is one that allows us the freedom to be ourselves; our healthcare system, judiciary, education, the economical design and our political system must no longer be dictated to by the results of Mashonaland thinking, but the needs and wants of Mthwakazi citizens.
To be happy, we need freedom; to be free we need courage to stand against injustice and courage to stand up and take our rights. Let us believe in ourselves again, and master the courage to speak out against both internal and externally induced injustices to build a safe, relevant and future-focused nation; we need the courage to create space to listen and learn. True freedom means being able to live life in keeping with our beliefs; it also means protecting the freedoms of those we disagree with.
Before we become a free nation that we want to be, we must learn to think and behave like a free nation, and do that with consistency. Let us be disciplined and fearless in how we design and execute our plans; we must not sit home and think about freedom but start drawing political and economic designs of our free nation. We want to rid ourselves of the unwanted status of being serial complainants, and the perceived unwillingness to leave zones of relative comfort must not be allowed to define us; we are a brave nation, and must be seen to act decisively, even if that may mean upsetting the norm.
We will never learn how to fly if we remain patched up tree branches; it is only when we jump that we will learn how to open our wings. To be in control of our lives, we need to get out, get busy and take control of our political space. There needs to be an understanding that we cannot take control of that space by staying away from active politics and decision-making processes. It is no secret that Harare democracy – ably supported by the first-past-the-post voting system – is designed to serve and protect interests of the majority population from the north and east of the country; we do not expect a voluntary change from that position.
An open secret of our destiny is that the path from our dreams of an autonomous Mthwakazi to an effectively autonomous one does exist; all that is required of us is the vision to find it, the courage and the perseverance to follow it. Let us get the right people in the right positions to connect our experiences over the years and synthesise new ideas from which our future will be built.
Political creativity entails breaking away from established patterns to look at things in a different way. We want to break away from systems employed by Harare, systems that treat unlike things the same; we are interested in equality, and that does mean treating different people differently according to their needs. While we retain unreserved respect of our cousins from the north and east regions of modern-day Zimbabwe, we are culturally, socially, economically and politically different from them, our needs are not the same, and solutions to our problems will never be the same; the ideas and noise of the majority in Zimbabwe must no longer be allowed to drown Mthwakazi local economic, social and political ideas.
We are victims of tribalism and a politics of emotions and hatred that saw thousands of our kin die painful deaths, and a politics that continues to undermine our rights. We experienced pain and heard the groans and shrieks of victims of Gukurahundi atrocities. We want to take a difficult, different but constructive political route; we want to engage in an extensive policy research programme that will allow us to build a safe and progressive Mthwakazi nation.
Tribalism and racism as a way of achieving Mthwakazi freedom is both immoral and impractical; Mthwakazi is a diverse nation; our systems must be seen to reflect that. We will not allow paranoia to impede our political creativity; primary to our cause is educating the public and creating space that enables people to make informed decisions. Keeping faith in the public understanding of their needs, and thus being confident enough to put our policies under their scrutiny must be the marker of how we conduct our politics.
Going forward, we want to encourage and increase public participation in politics; it must not be for the government to rearrange the economy, legislate morality and other systems that govern our lives but to referee in open debates among specialists, experts and local communities in the creation of inclusive systems. In short, we want a government of the people by the people.