In 2019, Mthwakazi cannot, in all conscience, be arguing on whether a change in our politics is or is not required. We need to break free, we must stand together to protect our socio-political space from sinking into irretrievable social and political impoverishment.
Courage is the pivot of all virtues, without it one loses self-identity and cannot practice any other virtue consistently. It is disturbing that the majority of our people are still giving Zimbabwe’s main political parties implied approval while rejecting Mthwakazi focused organisations. As a society, we need to be courageous enough to think independently and remain who we are no matter the difficulties we face.
We need to break off the chains of Zimbabwean slavery. The beginning of that journey will be an effective alliance of our socio-culturally diverse groups. Key to embarking on the ambitious project of getting Mthwakazi’s ideologically different political groups to work together for the common good will be courage from individuals and courage from groups themselves.
Until we gather enough courage to lose sight of the shore, our dreams of swimming to new horizons will remain dreams imprisoned in us on the shore. We want a Mthwakazi in which every community is respected and loved for what it is, not what it should be. Where there is objective evidence that for the collective betterment of our nation, changes may be required at local level, honest discussions should be held with local leadership.
It will take great courage to stand up and be ourselves, and not a satellite image of our experience of gross abuse under the ZANU PF regime. We do not want our politics to draw its identity from our experiences of ZANU PF’s tyrannical rule but from our interests, culture, norms and values. We have always defined our nation not by skin colour or tribe or ethnicity but its wealth of socio-cultural diversity, its tolerance and its comfort with difference.
We have a responsibility to ensure our Mthwakazi focused agenda is not hijacked and used as leverage to frustrate some communities rather than a legitimate call for local empowerment. That calls for a strong local Mthwakazi legislative agenda that would ensure our empowerment is not motivated by the improper purpose of frustrating the liberties and freedom of individuals and groups based on skin colour, tribe, ethnic group, sex, gender, religion, etc.
Be wary of the populist ideals that seek to convince you that your prosperity and security will be assured by deliberate policies that cause poverty and insecurity of other communities. Support for nationalistic ideals that justify and acutely promote the abuse and expulsion of some ethnic groups from Mthwakazi only result from the excited ignorance of a misinformed public. When your neighbour is unsafe because of their tribe, skin colour or political views your own safety and security are temporary at best.
What we see in ZANU PF, an emotionally dysregulated leadership cannot be trusted to deliver principled politics that provides a balanced and right scope of scrutiny. We cannot justify the expulsion of ethnic Shona families resident in Mthwakazi because of what we might regard as the noble end of stopping ethnic Shona economic and political dominance in Matabeleland just as we cannot possibly excuse looting businesses on the basis that the items stolen would be donated to a charitable cause immediately afterwards.
The security and safety of citizens is too important to be left to politicians or a public majority vote, these two provisions need to be enshrined in law so that being a minority is not of itself a source of social agitation and political insecurity. For the safety of all, the judiciary must be independent of politicians and political meddling.
Courage is taking active steps to reject the divisive rhetoric of fascists. Mthwakazi is a diverse nation of immigrants and we must remain open to courteous immigrants. That demands additional procedural creativity in order to protect our nation today and in the future against political opportunism.
It took migration, political creativity and inclusion to build Mthwakazi. It will take tolerance and principled politics to maintain this socio-cultural and political oasis; targeting and ostracising some ethnic groups and tribes cannot be justified.
Excusing hate crime and inciting violence against tribes deemed foreign betrays the very foundation upon which Mthwakazi is built. Migration is the least of our problems, often it is bigoted views, ill-preparation and poor response to migration that is the problem.
Moving our many nations in one forward, there tough questions to consider: What comes first to you? Your political organisation or national interests? Where the two – your political organisation and national interests – clash where will your allegiance be and how would you arrive at that decision? Finally, Mthwakazi must work collectively to build a united, but diverse nation. If migration is a problem, we need creative solutions that would make migration safe and secure for both immigrants and locals.