The company you keep determines how the world views you. If we keep company of thugs, we will be seen as social misfits. Collaboration of convenience can be costly in real terms if questionable characters are taken aboard; it leaves your credibility and reputation in tatters. Choose alliances wisely or you will be condemned for someone else’s awful conduct.
Mthwakazi’s lived reality is that the more things change in Zimbabwe the more they remain the same thus, we find ourselves politically conflicted yet again when calls for nationwide demonstrations are made. Caution is advised, while desperate times need desperate measures, that is not to justify failure to use reason to make wise choices on who become our allies.
Emotions are an essential instant natural human response mechanism, but they must never be the primary and only trigger of our responses to situations. Unless caught unaware, it is never too late to plan; failing to plan is planning to fail! Use reason, examine what is at hand; double check what you are meant to be fighting for. Are your interests being covered? If unsure, keep a safe distance. If you are not behind the planning, who is? If unsure, stay away.
As pointed in the introduction, the company you keep determines how others view you. If you identify with mediocrity, you will be labelled mediocre. We need to distance ourselves from questionable associates that hurt our reputation; appreciating this fact will be key for developing effective collaborations.
Draw from past experience as you choose who to align yourself with. We will rise or fall by the alliances we forge; presently, Harare is not the right ally. Informed choices are essential as we try and identify feasible alliances. Inherent partisan identification (PID) within the Zimbabwean citizens’ behaviour and political cognition must never be shoved under the carpet for political expediency. We have to come to learn that in any given political situation our Mashonaland cousins may fight with us but will not fight for us.
We need reassurances that position has shifted before we consider active political collaboration. Our Harare cousins must show a genuine desire for collaboration, and that means a wilful compromise. They must embrace the need for a review of power transaction, first return all the power to the table for fairer redistribution across society.
We do not enjoy reminding our people of unpleasant details but forgetting them makes our lives appear chaotic and exposed. That state of vulnerability sets us up to being valuable guests to cannibals and forming dysfunctional partnerships that save the enemy’s interests, and not ours.
Zimbabwe’s political cognition is influenced by an ethnic Shona biased public media that shapes the organisation of political beliefs, the perception of political candidates, political judgement and decision making, stereotypes, prejudices and other socio-political attitudes, political group identity, public opinion and the mental processes involved in political understanding and interaction.
Know when to talk and when to be loudest in your silence; do not fight for the sake of fighting. Freeing Zimbabwe is not our business, we need not be enthusiastic about taking that mantle but leave it to Mashonaland. Remember sheep can be friends with a hungry wolf but only briefly. This is political reality. Matabeleland and Mashonaland have never fought for the same thing, even when fighting the same war.
Our past experience of working with our Mashonaland cousins to address Zimbabwean political systems and institutional problems saves as a reminder that collaboration is a non-starter; working with Mashonaland politicians is nothing but a compilation of several previously failed initiatives, each of which was disingenuous and unacceptable and in total did not represent good faith and good political will to restore certainty to Mthwakazi socio-politics and people’s lives.
The persistent feature of our interaction with Mashonaland is that all previous efforts did not comprise compromise manoeuvres but further hostage taking of Matabeleland by Mashonaland. We look back to the 1987 Unity Accord where PF ZAPU supposedly united with ZANU to create ZANU PF to the MDC splinter of 2005 that birthed the MDC-T and to the splinter of the MDC-T in 2017 right down to the current MDC Alliance era; it has been Mthwakazi shedding power while Mashonaland has been strengthening and widening its focal point.
Our best bet for the future is making objective decisions about our allies; our choices will shape how we are perceived. We will need to stop punching into dark alleys. Our biggest challenge is the internal political dysfunction. We will need to address current internal political disparities which see a Mthwakazi population being led by a Zimbabwean Parliament. We will not build political capital when our representatives belong in the MDC Alliance and/ or ZANU PF. When we start voting in pro-Mthwakazi Parliamentarians, we will be able to truly stand up for what we believe in.