Mthwakazi needs a lobby group to mobilise voters

Ages of experience have taught us that without public support, a political project is dead before it has even started; our Mthwakazi political project is no exception. Something is fundamentally wrong here, we are not short of talent; we have a political space full of our political parties, yet we are ruled by the enemy.

Even more significant, the Mthwakazi political space is vibrant and ever-changing. We have been the anchor of opposition politics in Zimbabwe even at a time when opposing the State is a risky activity. One of the major trends in recent decades has been a deliberate, open and greater emphasis on the pro-Mthwakazi focus with a view of constricting Zimbabwean political influence in Matabeleland.

Due to a combination of factors, our pro-Mthwakazi political space is unfortunately, currently dominated by many but poorly marketed small size single-issue organizations. With no access to relevant information, the public finds itself powerless to make decisions about who to vote for and end up going for the easy option. The easy option has been the costly one in which our people vote for any opposition political party even though it is not representative of Mthwakazi needs.

Now, let us remind ourselves of the basic facts that we have learned about voting patterns in Zimbabwe and their effect in Mthwakazi. Voting is along tribal lines, not policy credibility; Mthwakazi which makes only 20% of the electorate, at best, will never produce a leader in a unitary Zimbabwe; voting Zimbabwe orientated parties does not empower Mthwakazi because many of the Mthwakazi representatives from Zimbabwe orientated parties are under pressure to represent interests of their party bosses in Mthwakazi and not Mthwakazi public interests in parliament.

The way we do politics in Mthwakazi needs to change. We will need to look at ways of reconfiguring the political space to improve efficiency of our electorate. We need to step out of the pre-determined disadvantageous Zimbabwean political context. We must shift public focus with us and away from Zimbabwe fixated organisations whose role has been to manage, and not empower us.

Let us find effective ways of mobilising all our resources in a systematic and organised way and breakdown the barriers that currently separate the existing and future pro-Mthwakazi political organisations from the people who they intend to represent.

At this point I will suggest not the formation of yet another political party, but a lobby group, in this case a causal or promotional group with a political focus, and whose interest will be the education and promotion of a politics that espouses our values and norms, and more importantly, promotes the election, of candidates with genuine local interests within our space.

Just to clarify, the causal group will simply be seeking to influence change in our political space without seeking political office itself. Significantly, a causal or promotional lobby group has open membership, that will allow the Mthwakazi public the opportunity to participate in changing the local political atmosphere without necessarily joining a political party.

The causal group will collate relevant legally available and attainable data about various political organisations or prospective candidates, analyse it and deliver it in an easy to understandable format to the public to help them make informed decisions.

For its credibility, the causal group will be thorough, Mthwakazi focused but maintain impartiality in its assessment of Mthwakazi prospective representatives. Anyone putting themselves forward for election should be prepared for scrutiny, bones will be laid bare; the good will be laid open and the bad equally exposed for the public to make informed decisions. Our people will no longer get into a bullet train because they have been told to do so, but will ask the question, ‘Where is it taking us to?’

The causal group shall exist to give the public and not politicians the final word in the direction our politics takes. We recognise that for this to work, we require our people to possess some level of political understanding. Education will be essential; we want to breakdown slogans right down to the delusions they represent. Politicians will be called to account; walls will be caused to fall; people’s eyes will be opened, and Mthwakazi will move further steps ahead.

Language is a vital tool in our day-to-day interaction, and not just language but its appropriate usage and associated communication skills will be essential in mobilising people; we cannot mobilise people using threatening language that tells them if they are not with us, ‘they are against us.’

A causal group will be essential for the progress of Mthwakazi’s politics. The causal group will be vital to the long-term democratic aspirations within our political space because it will allow free expression of opinion and the opportunity for the Mthwakazi public to influence local politics.

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