Functional and competent political systems do not come by accident but conscientious planning. We must choose our counsel and companions wisely; let us not, out of desperation, seek the counsel of fools.
Those warning us that political freedom for Mthwakazi is a wild dream are the same pessimists who have repeatedly shown an unwillingness to work for our freedom.
Zimbabwe is not working for Mthwakazi
Looking at our lives today, it is clear political apathy cannot be the right strategy to avoid heading to political abyss. People have to understand it is a patriotic act to incite intense dislike of a political regime whose conduct contravenes our every right.
How a government treats marginalised communities defines its priorities. The Zimbabwean government is an inept despotic regime; it is a repressive system whose only focus is ruling; it is prepared to silence dissenting voices from Mthwakazi to achieve that.
ZANU PF has never made secret its dislike of anything Ndebele; shonawashing and the management, as opposed to the empowerment of Mthwakazi, is normalised. We are second class citizens, degraded through systematic stripping of our dignity, we are denied justice, access to opportunity is restricted, and poverty and ignorance are enforced upon us.
Taking an active role and changing minds
On that 1980 Independence Day, our fathers and mothers had their political authority over Mthwakazi taken. Subsequent years have overseen our people willingly giving away authority.
The ultimate test of our generation will be our willingness to make corporate sacrifice today to collaborate with the last generation, combine their wisdom and our strength to build a healthy political foundation for future generations whose words of gratitude we will never hear.
This is a time to call upon all Mthwakazi citizens to act and not wait for a saviour from a far land. Instead of trying to escape responsibility, people must be prepared to judge and assume positions. Those Mthwakazi citizens opting to stay as neutral observers must know they are, in reality, responsible for the social, economic and political conundrum Mthwakazi finds itself in.
Transparency is vital, our political groups must consult far and wide; the needs of our nation must not be the whims of only a few privileged and powerful among us, but the needs of the masses.
Are there merits to the restoration argument?
We are neither naïve nor in denial of the overwhelming power of a political reality that has overseen the decimation of Mthwakazi’s political space, but we believe in the optimal usage of all options available to restore a semblance of political and economic order within our borders, no matter how limited. It is our desire to keep track of all the options out there and we need to be proactive in that respect.
Nobody should be deceived any longer, it is clear to everybody by now that nobody will give us freedom. You cannot expect authors of your repression to give you equality or justice when their own survival depends on your vulnerability. No one, not even the opposition, in the current political system will give us equality or justice. If we truly believe we are worthy of equality or justice, we must be prepared to take it.
We are not making unreasonable demands but seeking legitimate recognition of our basic rights. Our right to choice, equal access to health, and control of formal education delivered in institutions within our borders, access to work, food, security and safety, culture and identity and wellbeing must never be compromised. After all these are the same rights that were proclaimed when the liberation struggle against colonialism started.
Political compromise essential
How we handle the unexpected is fundamental for progress. As in any other relationship, be it economic or political business, there are times when one has to settle in its realities and submit to its necessities.
Only the ignorant will ignore the importance of the art of negotiation in politics – often, you give in to take out. Things are not always black and white, there are times when you will trod on grey patches, and this is the time your abilities will be tested the most.
All responsible politicians must be prepared to create space for healthy compromise, and not fear to negotiate when there is credible opportunity to do so; the only rule is that we must never negotiate out of fear.
You must not go to a negotiation round with an empty head, it will soon be overflowing with foreign dump, and you will leave the negotiation table worse than when you came in – confused with no solution to your challenges. We need to be clear about what we want and demand it. Our rivals must know we will not settle for less, we will not sacrifice our principles to make friends out of bullies who can only be friends with those people who agree with their every word.
We have as many options to change the course of our political journey as we give ourselves. All options are on the table, nothing is ruled in, nothing is ruled out but it would be reasonable to give nonviolent resistance as much chance as possible. Below are the options that need to be explored:
- Devolution of power
- Total independence of Mthwakazi
We can no longer be a weeping nation, we have the means, so we have the responsibility to put them to use. The most fundamental decision we will ever make today is to accept we have the responsibility to remove ourselves from the Zimbabwean political mess. The choices we make, whether bad or good, will follow this generation forever and affect the next.