As our suffering mounts, we realise that major adjustments are required for Mthwakazi to adequately respond to the experience. For political progress, a period of political neutrality must come to an end; we must take sides. Neutrality is a political haven for the oppressor not the victim.
We remain tormented today because we have kept silent about our torment. To us Zimbabwean independence is in name only, in practice, it is taking away our freedom and liberties. While there have been times when we were effectively powerless to prevent injustice, our mistake has been failing to do what has always been within our control – protesting. We forgot the principle that opines protest beyond the law is not a departure from democracy, but fundamental to it.
All we ever want now are true patriots and humble servants to steer Mthwakazi out of the Zimbabwean political and economic quagmire. Political wisdom will be leaving open all options; while we will prefer to work on our own to empower ourselves, we must be open to exploring the option of working with both the MDC and ZANU PF – who admittedly have shown little to no interest in changing the current political system that brutalises Mthwakazi – should they reconsider their stance and seriously seek to fully transform politics in the country, once and for all.
Power transactions between a Mashonaland biased State and Mthwakazi need a total revamp to allow us to be ourselves, and not a powerless enclave of Mashonaland. As a nation we strive to be free and we do fully understand that with freedom comes responsibility.
Our central objective is not merely addressing tribal imbalance of the State but the imbalance of systems and laws. We want to achieve that from a positive political campaign driven by the truth not tribe, justice not retaliation, peace not violence. We are human beings first and foremost, and as such the systems we fight to establish must seek to benefit humanity as a whole, irrespective of tribe or race.
We want a strong political system with equally strong supporting institutions not for purposes of dominating or suppressing other communities but to protect our norms and values from invasion or pollution. Our systems must be built as a response to our needs not as retaliatory measures influenced by other communities’ choices.
We are responsible for our choices and others are responsible for theirs. ZANU PF chose to use Gukurahundi to establish a delusional oneness; we do not need to follow the same route. Divisive policies are for incompetent operators. Our political success will not be judged by how many ethnic Shona citizens are disadvantaged or killed or excluded or expelled but on how free, safe and secure all citizens of Mthwakazi are.
Our freedom will not come through fighting the MDC and ZANU PF; we will never beat them at their own game without soiling ourselves. Trying to bring tribalism to the table and legitimise it as a viable political tool or option to free us will be foolishness that risks ripping apart the social fabric of our nation and cutting us off our constituency.
Mthwakazi has always been a safe space for diversity; we have never had fears about being different, but that has been our source of social and cultural wealth. Attempts to alter that will risk the demise of Mthwakazi as we know her today. Our unity and sense of safety and security are based on our unique respect of difference, any indication of intolerance will trigger unintended instability due to perceived vulnerability among most communities in the region.
Instead of fighting the existing model, we must build a new model that renders the MDC and ZANU PF models obsolete within Mthwakazi. We will never be bystanders in the face of evil, but peaceful means must be our intervention of choice. Should peaceful means be impossible and violence or anarchy become inevitable, it must never be because of us.
If in the 1960s to the 1970s we successfully stood up against racism without the use of racism as a tool, we can stand up against and fight tribalism without invoking tribalism as a tool for peace. If we use tribalism to fight tribalism we will not count as revolutionaries but wilful accomplices.
Sad as it sounds, it can be argued that employing tribalism is the route that both the MDC and ZANU PF will prefer we adopted so they can excuse their own oppressive actions against Mthwakazi as of public interest.
Interventions that deprive some communities of justice are not peace drivers but threats to it. Tribalism is a faulty foundation upon which to build peace. We will not start mimicking the MDC and ZANU PF’s divisive, tribally inspired policies to rid our space of the tribally construed systems these organisations continue to sow. Matching conflict with fire and fury is incompetence; good leaders are those capable of handling conflict and threats to peace with peaceful means. Our target will not be fighting tribalism by tribalism or uncontrolled aggression but through tough yet just means.