Matabeleland uncompromising stance on respect

Zimbabwe is poor for lack of morality not resources; progress will happen when we reject lies as our socio-political foundation and when we adopt and allow honest and creative politics and not deception to take root and transform the lives of all. When my ability and not my social background ceases to be a factor in decisions about my rights, the whole world will look and respect us.

The West and East, the North and South will not respect us because we have not proven our ability to live without them. There is no evidence that our leadership is intent on empowering the country to self-sustain. Our leadership does not invest in essential services and institutions that promote respect for difference.

We cannot expect the world to respect us when we lack basic internal discipline, we physically and metaphorically kill our own dreams, specialise in dividing communities, mistreat our own, leave our resources open to foreign exploitation just to benefit those with access to power, when access to power is limited to some tribes and not others, when we lie to ourselves and hijack the next generation’s progress.

Zimbabwean systems and institutions leave legislators subconsciously protective of ethnic Shona interests; for true progress, legislators must stop making negative judgements of the intentions of Matabeleland ethnic minorities and start looking for good in every tribe and race. When Harare starts to respect everyone’s journey, genuine progress will be made; Zimbabwe will find true peace and development in our lifetime; every tribe and race will feel at home and freely contribute towards the development of the nation.

Together we must challenge the myth and political falsehood that has been marketed to the public since that imbalanced 1987 Unity Accord: this is the idea of one people, one truth and end of difference. Unity is not built by ignoring difference but recognising and respecting it. Those privy to the ZANU 1979 Grand Plan will know the party’s unrivalled thirst for not only a one-party system but also its unhealthy resentment of Ndebeles and the desire to turn Shona creed into law in Zimbabwe.

In an attempt to hide tribalism, the instigators have sort to minimise the importance of people’s identity – victims are taught that we are one and to recognise people not their tribe; this is a blatant denial of fact and the first lie we must reject if we are to creatively build a politics that is relevant to every citizen. It has to be clear to all that we are different tribes with different needs and wants – all a manifestation of our different culture, norms and values; it must never be our purpose to become each other; it is however, our primary concern to recognise each other, to learn to see and honour each other regardless of the social background – we are different, but we complement each other.

We are not prepared to surrender our respect in return for temporary protection from Harare. Our challenge is to refuse to be led by liars. We are where we are today because we have surrendered our political space to people who habitually lie to themselves. In years these people have listened to their own lies to a point where they cannot distinguish between the truth and lies within themselves, or around them, they have thus lost a sense of responsibility to themselves and the public, they have no respect for themselves and those whom they lead – us; they have no regard for our needs because they do not recognise them, all is clouded in their corrupted minds and our needs do not figure in the sphere of their delusions.

Political maturity and creativity are essential for political security and safety for all who dwell in the present-day Zimbabwe. We must confront injustice irrespective of its source. My experience as a Mthwakazi writer and political critique is that there are many critiques who are in denial of the risks presented by Zimbabwean systems and institutions to Mthwakazi livelihoods, these people are unrepentant opponents of Mthwakazi rights. To these individuals the term ‘Mthwakazi’ is itself objectionable; it irks them to intolerable levels that cloud their judgement and they start unfairly calling all authors of articles advocating for Mthwakazi justice tribalists.

We appreciate the right for people to disagree with our interpretation of our experiences in Zimbabwe and our suggested political solutions. However, that privilege does not extend to giving them the right to blindly deny any sense our opinions may make nor give them the right to accuse us of poorly expressing our beliefs just because they do not like what we stand for. There needs to be a safe space for creative thinking in which people recognise good ideas even if they make for uncomfortable listening.

It is neither progressive nor respectful for the majority ethnic Shona legislators to examine Matabeleland complaints, explain, despise and reject them offhand because they are not a priority to them. Our rights are our priority and should be treated as such; Zimbabwean legislators need to appreciate that Mthwakazi needs do not have to align with Mashonaland needs; the problem is not with our expectations but systems and institutions that want to treat different communities the same; the two regions are completely different with different values and priorities; years of treating them the same have resulted in the inequality we experience today.

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