Our problems today are broadly similar to those that undermine most modern African states and that many other past societies also struggled to solve. Zimbabwe’s rocky past offers us a rich database from which we can learn in order that we may build a better political system with equally strong supporting institutions.
We need focus and consistency. We cannot keep pursuing populist measures over the right and influential actions. A system that we seek to build must not just be against ZANU PF or MDC political regimes but one that we will be happy to be governed by. We must not just seek power over the main political parties but over ourselves; we want power so we can draw strength to fairly redistribute it across society to empower all of society.
We run a high risk of failure if we accept to be guided by an extremist approach that instils two ideas: (1) that the Mthwakazi nation is in imminent peril due to the existence of ethnic Shona people, and (2) that only one solution will work. These are questionable formulations that have caused us innumerable challenges in our attempts to build a pro-Mthwakazi political capital.
Evidence from voting patterns and internal public discussions suggest that it is insufficient for any pro-Mthwakazi formation to hold people’s attention purely on selling an anti-Shona narrative while dwelling minimally on the pro-Mthwakazi agenda. An assumption that what the Mthwakazi public learned from their Gukurahundi experience is that all ethnic Shona people are bad people who must be wiped off the face of Mthwakazi and, not that failure to respect and protect diversity was the problem may be a politically costly misjudgement.
Let us not be slave of our own past; we accept that as a generation, Gukurahundi shaped our political perspective but we want to come back with new ideas, take control of the political narrative and with an advanced experience that shall explain and overlook the old.
We do not have an eternity, but we need to use time wisely. First, people must appreciate patience is not an absence of action, rather it is “timing”, it waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in a proportionate way. We are not to respond to our frustrations but take use of time wisely to find the right combination of ideas to solve our challenges. Preparation is key, there will be times when the environment may not adjust to us and we may instead need to adjust ourselves.
The two hardest tests on the political road are the patience to wait to discern the right moment and the courage not to be disappointed with what we encounter. Let us take time to study how our challenges are our challenges; basically, we need the right diagnoses, identify the origin and flow path of our challenges to figure out the correct points to cut off that flow.
We are today engulfed in a political sphere whose ideas and opinions are nothing but hatred speech that has overseen the establishment of an environment of intimidation and exclusion of political opponents of ZANU PF and ethnic communities other than Shona in Zimbabwe. The result is costly political apathy in Mthwakazi. Our people now fear to be different hence are blindly adopting Shona creed that is being conveniently infused into law in Zimbabwe.
Gukurahundi was a part of broad political plan of annihilating Mthwakazi that did not stop on Unity Day but was replaced by soft measures that maintain the hostile political atmosphere described above. One of the saddest outcomes is that a significant number of our people now tend to reject any evidence of the institutional tribalism that discriminates against Ndebele ethnic groups. The ZANU PF and MDC regime has captured them, they dismiss a pro-Mthwakazi agenda as tribalist while ceding power to charlatans.
The behaviour of our people may be a surprise, yet it is typical response of victims of abuse and that is an essential context to consider in our planning. This is where patience would be important. Our political formations must stop being surprised and start working on ways of helping change people’s views of themselves.
It is imperative that the input from all pro-Mthwakazi groups is given fair attention and unnecessary competition is avoided. We know that some groups have been working on the psychological side of things to help build self-esteem and help people see themselves for who they are, identify and embrace their potential.
Looking within for solutions is to be our primary focus, if we insist on kicking the person responsible for most of our troubles, we will be left nursing swollen feet and ankles for some time. The saddest outcome though is that we will still be powerless.
Attacking ZANU PF and the MDC political regime is important, but a good balance is required to support the often emotionally charged rhetoric with scientific data will be crucial in building our political capital and more effective in constricting the influence and eventually making main Zimbabwean parties obsolete in Mthwakazi.
We must equip the public with high quality information and knowledge is crucial in empowering our communities and making them unfit to be subordinated to other citizens. Let us tell people what we want to do with power; even more important, let us include communities in all that we do; let them own the solutions.
Solutions will come through patient and good research that will take away all guesswork and emotions out of addressing our political questions by providing the vital scientific data upon which we will apply logic and appropriate calculations to find better solutions. Awareness and alertness will help us spot dangers, find quick solutions to problems and answer difficult questions with confidence.