To understand what is going wrong for Mthwakazi we have to understand the political system of Zimbabwe: it is a democratic façade that legitimises Shona majoritarian tyranny; the oppressor has – in his mind – created an image of us; with our identity lost, we have become who he wants us to be.
In keeping with their systemic Shonalisation of every other demographically small ethnic group, they have built institutions supposedly with us in mind, but these are in fact a reflection of who they want us to be, not who we are. We have struggled to fit in the system because it was never for us but for the ethnic Shona majority.
Contrary to disingenuous arguments of a lack of formal qualifications being the reason of our poor representation in the elite sciences, economic and political activities in the country, deliberate exclusionary policies are at play to ensure our isolation. One has to look at the feeder higher schools to higher institutions of education to see why there are few Mthwakazi people in the sciences field.
We are fast learning that we cannot change the status quo from within; one real option in our control is to summon enough courage to break free and not partner with the oppressor, and build a power base in Matabeleland. That we need political parties exclusively focused on Mthwakazi interests to achieve that is a no brainer, the question is the motivation of our various movements. We are presently trapped in mutual distrust that the prospect of different organisations working together seems a remote possibility.
Transforming our political approach is essential. Over the years we have operated small pressure groups with a narrow scope of interest and no real public mandate. These organisations remain an integral part of our political field, but we need to step up; we now need a big, broad coalition to unite people. How this coalition would materialise is a task of unimaginable proportion. We have numerous political parties with very different and increasingly irreconcilable ideas about what should constitute a Mthwakazi revolution.
Our dream now is to protect Mthwakazi and its values and that our many organisations start to see the need to sacrifice party and personal interests for broader national interests. When the MDC/ ZANU PF axis of evil decide to attack us, they must find us stood in unison, no infighting and no gaps for them to exploit.
We are treated with equal disdain, the Zimbabwean political system sees no better Mthwakazi citizen, only usable ones. Let us strive to work together for a common goal. We need to stop obsessing over petty differences and turning our backs on each other, in the process sacrificing our future.
Our serious handicap is that of a vague, unfocused dissatisfaction that threatens savage infighting. We have set ourselves up to fail with what appears to be organised chaos – a poorly organised political space in which people spend much of their political existence fighting among themselves over their ideological location, protecting party egos over public interest.
We are fighting over the perceived remit of the struggle, fighting over whether to participate in some or all elections, fighting over whether to participate in elections at all or not, arguing over organisational boundaries, etc. Many organisations are not even clear on what their vision is, so how do they measure progress or lack thereof?
There is a deficit of political courage and wisdom to empower Mthwakazi. We are our biggest enemies, when potential leaders arise, we knock them before even the enemy reacts. We are quick to denounce our own for short-term, often negligible benefits. The criticism of Chief Felix Ndiweni being a good example. People have taken ZANU PF’s propaganda for evidence of the chief’s political allegiances.
Some hypocrisy is astounding, suddenly we are expected to believe that Chief Ndiweni is aligned to the MDC because sources aligned to ZANU PF have said so. The minute the Herald and Chronicle newspapers become your credible sources of information on anything to do with pro-Mthwakazi activities, question your sanity.
When did ZANU PF sources start being credible political sources? Even the honourable Joshua Nkomo, Dumiso Dabengwa, Lookaout Masuku were once labelled dissidents for standing for the truth.
And why are people disputing the chief’s denial of the allegations? Why can he not be innocent until proven guilty? Those calling for the chief’s political quietness need to advise us of its benefits too. When he spoke about Gukurahundi, he was an inspirational leader, but when he attends an MDC congress at the invitation of the party leadership he needs to maintain an apolitical stance!
The fact is that the MDC congress is not the only political contact Chief Ndiweni has had, he has met with other political leaders and has given reasons for such engagements. Why is accepting the MDC invitation of particular concern and a declaration of his membership when meeting leaders of other organisations has not been regarded as a declaration of membership? Nobody called the late Chief Khayisa a ZANU PF member when he was visited by the former ZANU PF leader.
Chief Ndiweni is an irritant to ZANU PF’s local leadership and to expect the party to praise him for his efforts in protecting the interests of his subjects is rather naïve.
To build Mthwakazi power, we must understand ourselves before we learn about our enemy. We are built of contradictions and that is not a cause of weakness but a source of strength. It is those opposing forces that give us strength, like an arch, each block pressing the next.