Caution: if we won’t do it today and if we won’t do it ourselves, then when and who is going to do it? Abdicating responsibility allows incompetency the opportunity to take root. The strong desire to shape our politics now will change Matabeleland’s status. Only positive policies will lift us high; these are policies drawn from our needs and desires, and not retaliatory facades influenced by the perception of us by others.
Accountability goes hand in hand with revolution. We stand here to collectively denounce and separate bigotry from revolution. We stand guard against infiltration by our own extremist right-wing thugs running an anti-Shona project, and not a Mthwakazi conscious empowerment agenda. The two have nothing in common, they certainly do not share borders. We do not exist to prove we are better than any other social group in the world but that we are better today than we were yesterday.
Anyone whose reason for objecting to ZANU PF’s violent system and its supporting institutions is not an honest rejection of what they perceive to be an inhuman intervention, but only a regret that they are victims, is as good as a secret admirer of it. Calling for the indiscriminate exclusion of any tribe from Matabeleland sets a dangerous political precedent; it is a strategy that leaves numerous cracks that will be exploited by our enemies.
It is self-deception to believe that Matabeleland is only home to specific social groups and closed to others. Restoring the greatness of the Mthwakazi nation does not imply the denial of citizenship to anyone based on their ethnic identity, it means constricting ZANU PF influence in Matabeleland, reshaping and modernising the inclusive political foundation that sets us apart from ZANU PF and its sympathisers.
Tribalism is a toxic, inhuman political template that has put breaks to development and destroyed the African continent. It lies from the lie that some tribes’ norms and values are less human and more barbaric than our own. Tribalism is a narrow-minded socio-political perception that reduces humans’ expectations of themselves and places barriers to humans’ capacity to adapt and embrace change.
Matabeleland empowerment will not spring from finding fault in others but in the identification of our strengths and actively reducing weaknesses. We will not be better for finding a multitude of faults in ethnic Shona people and culture, but we will grow through our character and goodness. Mthwakazi is a multicultural, a diverse, inclusive and tolerant society; we want to grow and not place unnecessary breaks to our capacity to grow.
The root of our empowerment lies in the acknowledgement of the fertile ground of honesty, expansive politics, creativity and justice. If we are honest about hating tribalism, we must show by concrete actions and consistent denunciation of all forms of hatred within our organisations. Anti-Shona rhetoric is as dangerous as it is destructive; it takes our focus away from ourselves and our needs to ZANU PF and MDC-T perceptions of us. That then stirs anger and anger driven retaliatory policies that undermine our genuine political interests.
We have a responsibility to protect ourselves from internal biases. Concentrating on ZANU PF’s role in the disempowerment of Matabeleland narrows the scope of our political analysis. While increasing our political understanding and confidence in dealing with ZANU PF and other Zimbabwe focused groups, it inadvertently ignores internal imperfections and their contribution to our political progress; even more disturbing, it pays little to no attention to vital dissenting voices within the Mthwakazi agenda, making them invisible thus, transforming our political narrative into bias confirmation and morphing self-deception into self-assurance.
Our political minds need to open wider; we need to start seeing not what we are told to see but see what is happening. Let us appreciate the fact that while our experience under an ethnic Shona dominated government has been a disaster to Matabeleland dreams, not all ethnic Shona people are bad. There are many ethnic Shona people who have and continue to contribute positively to Matabeleland life. All people have basic goodness in them; badness and goodness know no tribal boundaries, they are attributes to which every individual has access.
Responding to ZANU PF narcissistic policies is not equal to Matabeleland empowerment; we master that, our template of development will be founded on stronger rock. The greatest danger in only focusing in what ZANU PF has to say about us is that it not only increases our paranoia, but it also strengthens our bias in interpreting the causes of our problems. The politics that will take us forward is one that recognises that change is in our interest and not just a reaction to ZANU PF or MDC-T policies.