If, as Mthwakazi, we want to accomplish great things we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe. Top of the list we want an end to an unjust system that has politically propelled Mashonaland dominance over Mthwakazi and the establishment of a fair system that includes Mthwakazi socio-political norms and values. This fundamental demand motivates people to take a stand against tribal, corrupt, abusive and autocratic governance. Our people want a rules-based system and institutions.
For four decades and counting, we are a people living within unhappy circumstances of the Zimbabwean political system but would not take the initiative to change our situation because many of our people have been conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism. Enthusiasm to change our lived experience has either evaporated or is being blocked by selfishness.
Gukurahundi was an awful experience of our lives but it must not be the definition of our destiny and not our signature response to political turmoil in the region. Sad as it is, fear of a possible repeat of Gukurahundi has become quite literally a good excuse for non-participation in any patriotic action that deposes us from our obedient and deceivingly safe place within Zimbabwean politics that allows us not to question our abuse by the state.
We have our own people who see madness in those challenging the status quo. Like in most cases before this one, calling the pro-Mthwakazi agenda and its open challenge to the Zimbabwean system lunacy makes it easier for the ZANU PF and MDC leadership and their supporters to explain away the sensitive questions being raised by Matabeleland victims of tribal discrimination.
Caution is advised, Matabeleland electorate is susceptible to being led astray by local politicians pursuing personal than patriotic dreams. On one side we have potentially dangerous self-crowning nationalist groups calling for the indiscriminate expulsion of some ethnic groups, Shonas to be specific, from Matabeleland yet we know our problem is borne of a bad tribalist system. The reality is that tribalism will not be resolved by counter tribalism; Mthwakazi is a multi-ethnic, multicultural region that should be preserved and made safe for all who want to live in it.
On the other side, is a group of local politicians only concerned about protecting their positions and benefits of being ZANU PF and the MDC officials. These people want us to believe there is some positive change on the horizon.
The deception that the Zimbabwean State is willing to correct the past that has resulted in Matabeleland suffering must not be given any credence. Harare’s sudden show of kindness, compassion and understanding of Mthwakazi suffering is too good to be true; it is suspicious and must not be allowed to deceive us. We know that cruel people offer pity when they no longer feel threatened.
Instead of putting trust into the Gukurahundi hearings, we want our people to understand that we do not exist to ratify decisions and consume whatever is thrown at us by Harare. If Zimbabwe is independent, every community must be allowed to be itself and Mthwakazi must be equally close to all decisions affecting it. If the hearings are for us and not a political whitewash whose sole purpose is the sanctification of Harare, we must have a greater say in the composition of the Commission.
There are numerous and often obvious advantages to having and working within systems, but it is dangerous to assume systems are right and should enjoy unquestioned privilege and protection over individual rights. For a truly free Mthwakazi, we need to move away from the perception that regards as a sickness any mode of thought or behaviour that is inconvenient for the system. While it is at times true that views and behaviours that depart from the systems may cause problems for the system, that is not always bad or wrong and no individual should, without due regard, be manipulated to adjust to the system.
Our experience of the Zimbabwean system and institutions teaches us that strategic alliances and not misplaced competition between our groups is fundamental to our political growth and that the future of Mthwakazi lies in whatever systems and institutions we build adjusting to individual needs.
We do not seek to retaliate against ZANU PF and MDC systems but make them obsolete in Mthwakazi; our desire is a political system and institutions that promote equality not tribal supremacy; we are not transferring power from some tribes to others, but we are about giving real socioeconomic and political power to regions, communities and individuals; we want the world to know that in Mthwakazi the law will be King. If tribalism is the cornerstone of Zimbabwean systems, the law ought to be King in Mthwakazi, and there ought to be no other.
Total political transformation and real positive change will happen if we desire it and when in questions of power, we effectively withdraw trust from tribes, or any individual human being for that matter, and place it in the sanctuary of strong, independent laws to which leaders will be accountable. Law must be King of our systems.