Institutionalised tribalism and political patronage are the pinnacle of Zimbabwean politics. But whether one agrees or disagrees with the assertion, you cannot deny it is illogical for a Mthwakazi city to be run by outsiders. Is it not evidence enough the system is flawed if equally capable locals are overlooked for none professional reasons?
We have no doubt the system should be reformed to protect local interests. Wisdom teaches us that freedom is not bestowed but achieved. Our freedom has never been Zimbabwe’s executive’s priority. We are the authors and beneficiaries of an unchained Mthwakazi; people need to proactively break the shackles.
A misguided sense of loyalty to politicians saw us outsource, to career politicians, solutions to our challenges. Like naive sheep, we faithfully followed the unwise, lost shepherd and found ourselves marooned in a chaotic, confused and worst political system modern society has ever seen.
The 1987 Unity Accord was nothing of a saviour but political vandalism. To protect our right to life, political leaders traded in our other rights, many of our rights in fact – the right to free choice, the right to self-determination, etc.
We can testify that there remains a divisive residue of tribalism, prejudice and oppression in Zimbabwe. Government systems, institutions and policies malign Mthwakazi and all ethnic groups classed as of Mthwakazi origin.
If we are to leave a political legacy for the next generation, we must be realistic about the challenges we face; the existence of internal differences is a reality to be confronted not avoided; ideological differences exist in Mthwakazi, but these must never be reason not to work together.
Internal socio-political discord may be threatening progress but it is in our control to promote or defuse the divisions. The benefits to subdividing, breaking Mthwakazi society into further subsections and steering intolerance, factions and feuds for ideological reasons are questionable in the broader scheme of things.
There are people who, out of self-indulgence, seek comfort in their ethnic groups while creating enemies of other ethnic groups within Mthwakazi. Mthwakazi groups are equal, only different. Let us turn to one another for counsel and deny enemy access.
Lest we forget the lessons of history, including the tragedies of South Sudan, and steer up politically divisive and destructive rhetoric without concern for the consequences. Words are a weapon and must be chosen carefully, remember your responsibility for the safety and security of all.
The right of choice is fundamental for any progressive society; ideological differences developing within Mthwakazi must never be ignored but given due attention and engaged with in an honest and respectful manner; differences must be resolved so we approach our problems as a united front, if we are to survive the onslaught of a committed oppressor.
Zimbabwean systems are not incisive enough to set apart a Sotho, Venda, Nambya, Shangani, Kalanga,Tonga, Nguni etc. So, no matter how you describe and class yourself and attempt to distance your ethnic group from the rest, if you are a Mthwakazi national, the Zimbabwean system treats you the same as the rest of ethnic groups attached to the land.
And truly speaking, our political space is too small for both an ‘Us’ and a ‘Them’. ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ mentality cannot survive in a Mthwakazi birthed from and shaped by diversity; over a century, we have become co-dependent, intertwined and glued to one another. We have no separate fates, but are bound together in one.
Whenever we fail to be tolerant of others, we fail as a society. Our communities must acknowledge that they and those with whom they disagree will spend eternity together and that should encourage us to not allow imported socio-political ideologies to separate us.
The more local political and civil leaders are willing to leave their own comfort zone to defy corrupt practices that form organised national political institutions and be genuinely aligned with people whose mandate they carry, the greater the chances of a political transformation.
Coexistence is Mthwakazi’s foundation and strength, and from that will come our solutions. Let us invest more in areas of agreement than toxic disagreements whose benefits are temporary at best. Diversity has never been a problem for Mthwakazi, the divisive philosophy of Zimbabwe’s major political parties is.
The Zimbabwean system is discriminatory, unreasonable and unduly burdens and restricts Mthwakazi’s independent growth. This is reason to work together to remove these parties from our political environment.
Keeping quiet about things that matter is politically irresponsible; we cannot break an oppressive circle by locating false comfort zones within it. Slavery and all conditions that accompany it must be met with the most ferocious of resistance measures we can deliver. We will never pretend shackles were protective braces around our ankles and necks when in fact they are hindrances defining the limits of what we can achieve.
Detoxifying the political space must be our priority. Our political decisions must be informed not by personality or tribe or ethnicity or race but policy. What needs to be clear in everybody’s mind is that the value of a coin does not change dependent on which side is facing you.
ZANU PF and the MDC are sides of the same coin. Our political future is neither safe nor secure under either of them; their policies are incompatible with the wider Mthwakazi social and political interests.
The measure of Mthwakazi’s political success will not only be making major Zimbabwean political parties obsolete in our political space but the successful creation of systems and institutions great enough to bridge the gulfs between communities, to encompass us all.