Matabeleland Collective is a by-product of pro-Mthwakazi’s political shortcomings. Our politics is stumbling not because of ignorance but the illusion of knowledge. We have organisations modelled on arrogance who will not consult the public they claim to represent. We expect organisations to work closely with society to identify mutual problems and solutions.
We may never know the intentions of the Matabeleland Collective, but it is apparent we are paying a heavy price for years of political negligence. The Collective’s judgement and actions are evidence of what happens when the public abdicates its socio-political responsibilities. If citizens do not exercise the powers conferred by their legitimacy, others will do so.
It is a political affront that we have left our legitimate position vacant and left ourselves vulnerable; it is that empty space that the Matabeleland Collective has occupied, and it is from that position that this collective is dictating the tune and dance to us, yet when it comes to who the beneficiary of those choices and actions is, we are none the wiser.
We have been careless with detail in basic matters; now, how can we be trusted with tackling the specific threats posed by such groups as the Matabeleland Collective? We do not have comprehensive information to assess the Collective’s intentions, but the truth of Matabeleland Collective’s actions lies in the detail, we have a responsibility to establish that detail.
We maybe desperate for solutions to our problems, however, we do not advocate for any solution, but the right solution. Our desperation must never be allowed to circumvent principle; no individual or organisation has a divine right to represent us without a legitimate mandate.
It is presumptuous for any organisation or a collection of organisations and individuals to impose their agenda upon the public without due diligence. Nothing about us without us.
We make it clear herein that private or public socio-political organisations must not habitually deny the public information on matters of national interest and go on to negotiate non-representative arrangements with senior politicians from the region and the head of state. It is not too much to ask organisations not to engage in discussions on matters of political and policy significance without a legitimate mandate.
The real focus now must be to remove the sense of entitlement that some of our privileged brothers and sisters have bestowed upon themselves to assume a position of guardianship over our fate. We do not need guardians but partners in our fight for liberty, freedom, safety and security.
Any organisation that desires to represent us must work with us within a framework that addresses our legitimate requests consistent with our needs that are themselves a function of our values and norms and shaped by our past. Groups must adhere to ethical norms of practice and long-recognised Mthwakazi principles.
The appropriate mode of operation would be that the public mandates organisations. It must be an expectation that we determine the modus operandi and our partners respect them or they leave us be.
Organisations and individuals with a genuine desire to work with Mthwakazi must adjust to that modus operandi, their internal systems must adjust to that, their processes must adjust to the social and political signals that reverberate back to them from the public.
There is no better way of describing the Matabeleland Collective’s actions than to say it is arrogance that amounts to a severe misappropriation of the suffering of our people at the hands of the 5th Brigade; it is also a serious breach of public trust that threatens to create a crisis of faith in socio-political leadership. It threatens future cooperation between the public and socio-political institutions in the region.
For purposes of transparency, serious questions need to be asked of this Collective. We have so far seen none of the actual evidence that the Collective was mandated by ordinary citizens of Mthwakazi to act the way it did.
Who are the brains behind the Collective and how long has it been in operation? Who is funding the Collective’s activities? Whose idea was it to hold a meeting with the Zimbabwean president?
How was this Collective assembled? Equally important to our inquiries will be the criteria used to invite groups and individuals to form the Collective. Who decided on the list of invitees to join the Collective? Just as important, which groups or individuals were left out of the invitation list and why?
Did any invitees decline the invitation to join? If yes, what were their reasons? How did the Collective develop the case they presented to Mnangagwa and his crew?
It is not a secret that Mnangagwa who was the secretary of state for security in the 1980s, was a central figure in the Gukurahundi planning and execution. The well-researched and documented findings of that evil operation confirm not only his closeness to Mugabe, but also that he was fully aware of the 5th Brigade operation.
We also know that ZANU PF leadership materially impaired the publication of the findings from two commissions of enquiry, one headed by Chief justice Enoch Dumbutshena and the other by judge Simplisius Chihambakwe. Yet, the Matabeleland Collective thinks Mnangagwa can lead the investigation into the operation. Surely, he cannot represent both the victims of the operation and the authors of the operation.
The door remains open to the right partners but closed to opportunists as we work to achieve freedom, liberty, safety and security. Civic and political organisations who want to save us must start behaving like servants not bosses. They must understand that we know what we need; we expect them to seek a legitimate mandate before they make any representations on our behalf. We want to write our own history and shall never be dictated to.