For the integrity of our political system we must preserve the autonomy of the law. Experience has taught us that when the law falls silent under the armpits of politics, and where politics effectuates its solutions at the expense of the rule of law, the first casualty is human rights. The protection of human rights must be the core of the politics we do because human rights are the very soul of the Mthwakazi nationhood. We have the responsibility to challenge unfair sociopolitical systems that inadvertently or deliberately create a political and moral crisis within society.

Protection of human rights is everybody’s responsibility. Together, we are in a positive journey to show our genuine objection in conscience to policies that seek to discriminate against other human beings while promoting the supremacy of human rights everywhere. It is our determination to expose, denounce and shame all groups and individuals marketing a dangerous nationalist agenda that purposely extinguishes the value of other human beings for political expediency.

Nobody’s rights have ever been protected by the abuse of another’s rights, that is a fact of the law of human nature. Our wishes will not repeal this reality and we ignore it at our own peril. The indiscriminate expulsion of ethnic Shona people from Mthwakazi, as proposed by some nationalist fundamentalists, will not translate into a peaceful existence for Ndebele communities. ZANU PF’s cheapening of Ndebele lives did not guarantee ethnic Shona people’s safety, instead it has cheapened the lives of everybody, including those ethnic Shona people who foolishly saw justice in the illegal 5th Brigade military operation, Gukurahundi, in Matabeleland in the 1980s.

If your neighbour is not free or safe, your own freedom and safety is threatened. In our yearning for our rights, let us exercise self-discipline so that our rights do not expand at the expense of the rights of other communities. Freedom of expression is essential, but that does not mean paying a blind eye to populist ideals and glorifying the use of inflammatory often stereotypical language that risks wrongly altering public perception of other communities turning them into a mass of nonhuman; language and behaviour that incites intense hatred of others must be rejected.

Reductionist policies are as dangerous as they are short-sighted. Tribal classification for purposes of dehumanising any specific group of people defiles the very nature of the Mthwakazi sociopolitical foundations. Multiculturalism created Mthwakazi, Mthwakazi did not create multiculturalism; we are a multi-ethnic society and pretending otherwise is both a misleading and dangerous political strategy that risks isolating politics and politicians from the grassroots population.

Good leaders have the ability to review history to guard against a repeat of past fatal blunders, be up to speed with current social changes and at the same time be able to scan into the future and start preparing for it today. Our political organisations need to understand that human rights are universal and not a privilege to be allocated by politicians to favoured tribes but an entitlement to all citizens. Languages people speak should never be a factor when it comes to the allocation of resources and the protection of people’s rights.

All in Mthwakazi need to have the opportunity to build a better future for themselves and their children. For that to happen, we need to create a system that reflects Mthwakazi of the 21st Century and a system that allows individuals the chance to take a more active role in the running of the political system in their constituencies and at national level.

We are in pursuit of a representative political system, a system that not only allows communities to make decisions about their lives but a system that also protects the rights of all, not some of our people and all visitors or foreigners within our territory at any given time. This means that if we are to make political progress, we must be prepared to protect the rights of those people we do not like as much as we do those who we get along with. These are realistic and indeed necessary goals.

Yes, we are victims of a blemished tribal-based political system that long normalised the vilification of Mthwakazians, but reverse tribalism is not the solution to our problems, it is merely a continuation of that tribal system, albeit with a change of roles; it oversees the transfer of human rights abuse from one community to another and turns victims to perpetrators. If we permit a political system that inexplicably pays a casual disregard for human rights of certain groups of people, we will not achieve the independence, prosperity and stability we crave for.

The Mthwakazi our children inherit from us must be better than the Mthwakazi we inherited from our fore-bearers. Tribal nuances must go, we want a nation where individual rights and freedoms are core to the way we do politics. Accountability is central in ensuring politics serves everyone not just certain groups of people. We are determined to protect the rights of every community within our borders. Our politics needs to address the current imbalances in accessing resources in a humane manner. Access to opportunity must be equal, according to need and not determined by the language people speak.

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