Mthwakazi needs total political change

The ZANU PF administration has been a disaster for the whole of Zimbabwe but it has been particularly damaging to Mthwakazi citizens’ aspirations; the administration has consistently shown empathy deficit in its handling of all matters Mthwakazi.

We are victims of Gukurahundi but our best revenge is not to be like the murderous ZANU PF regime. We must collectively resist the temptation for our political system to be driven by anger and resentment; we will instead focus on institutional justice, truth, and building safe and secure systems that protect everyone from inhumane treatment.

Those involved in the killing of innocent Mthwakazi people must be brought to justice, the victims must be compensated and the rest of the population protected from consequences of political intolerance. Shona supremacism is damaging, it must be brought to an end. But, anger and resentment of all ethnic Shona people will not change the current supremacist policies, but will only change our values.

Intolerant individuals and groups cannot be trusted with taking an interest and effecting systems and institutions tolerant of different views. These are individuals and groups driven by emotion, fear of anything and anyone different, they will not suddenly wake up comfortable with strangers and any views outside their political comfort zone.

Our signature political policy is social and political inclusivity, we want a system that can handle the complexities of Mthwakazi social space; that is a system in which institutionalised respect for the rights of political minorities to try to become a majority must exist. We want political minorities to be given the right to be heard.

A system with loose connections with discipline and honesty is nothing but a disaster in waiting. One cannot claim an honest investment in change when all they desire is to swap roles with the abuser.

We will not move forward while burdened by the ZANU PF/ MDC baggage in our luggage; let us go through our luggage and remove the inhumane and degrading tribalist and racist policies.

You cannot call the ZANU PF and MDC signature policy abhorrent, only to dust it up and make cosmetic adjustments to it. If you truly believe supremacism is bad, you overhaul the whole system. You cannot replace one supremacist agenda with another and claim justice – injustice is simply that, no matter who the victim or instigator is.

We deserve better – a total political transformation that would see the rights of all citizens protected under the law. It is not in our political interest to create a default pipeline for political hatred.

As the public we need to set boundaries in our partnership with politicians and political parties. A boundary is that line or limit which the public and organisations in a partnership set to protect the partnership, and prevent themselves from exploitation and manipulation. Boundaries enable the public to draw a line between themselves and their political representatives and allocate ownership and responsibility between themselves and their political representatives.

It is every politician’s moral duty to fight for their constituents, but the public want that fight to be for equal access to opportunities, empowering the local population and upholding local norms and values, including the respect for difference. Our parties must align their goals with societal values, not just their desire for public office. We need to ask ourselves the question: where does seeking justice end and seeking vengeance begin?

Things do not cease to exist because we wish them away. Some people may not like it, but migration is a feature of human existence, the change in the demographic fixture of Mthwakazi is a fact. Some ethnic Shona people and white people are now an integral part of Mthwakazi; they are inseparable from the region, their interests in Mthwakazi and their rights are no different from any other Mthwakazi ethnic group.

Does an agenda that targets and deliberately excludes all Mthwakazi citizens with ethnic Shona last names represent justice? Is it what the Mthwakazi public want? There is no evidence that apart from social media outbursts, the public think sanctioning every ethnic Shona person is the solution or such intervention would deliver economic and political prosperity, let alone freedom.

In the face of grave oppression and injustice people will resort to populism, and its accompanying half-baked ‘facts’ will form ‘evidence’ to be used as justification for often extreme and dangerous interventions. We need to separate reality from anger-driven fantasies and delusions. Calls for the expulsion and/ or exclusion of all ethnic Shona people from Mthwakazi are a serious indictment to our political credibility, and do not represent the values that make us a unique nation.

Any attempt to cleanse the region of other human beings owing to their special characteristics such as tribe, race, religion, etc. cannot be justified and is antithetical to the principles that define our nation.

We are tired of politicians who thrive on raising anxieties among communities through reckless rhetoric; they set neighbours against each other and then act as heroes protecting victims they have helped create in the first place. Political parties must come up with genuine policies that empower communities, ensure equal access to opportunities, and ensure safety and security for all citizens regardless of race or tribe. 

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Published by THE OBSERVER

a political and policy research hub with interest in Mthwakazi human rights, safety and security.

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