Restoration is a word frequently used in the pro-Mthwakazi political vocabulary, but we have yet to fully understand its meaning within the contemporary politics. What restoration would mean in practice should be at the core of its proponents’ discussions.
History is important but our contemporary needs must guide our expectation of government role. Tribal affiliation, family ties, racial background and sex composition of government is not our primary concern but how it executes its role or even how it shows its understanding of its duties through its behaviour are essential values.
There is no doubt Mthwakazi liberty has contracted and we have suffered immeasurably as what is quite frankly a Mashonaland government has deepened and expanded. It was never our dream to be afraid of our government, but for our government to be afraid of the people. But here we are, petrified of the State.
We can argue that in Zimbabwean independence, a tsunami was created with the hope the waves would be managed. The independent Zimbabwe has effectively become a world where ethnic Shona majority government officials do not carry out the law, but create it; the protection of ethnic minorities is in theory, never in practice.
It is an irony that in the Rhodesian racist government Mthwakazi had more control of its internal affairs, but ever since Zimbabwe achieved political independence, its government has overseen Mthwakazi’s loss of control over the tone, message and approach in managing its affairs in what is an increasingly tribally polarised state.
In Zimbabwe, private interests circumvent government officials for their own gain, not the public good. Such behaviour is contraindicated for good governance; let it not be lost to all that the oldest and simplest justification for government is as protector of citizens from violence.
Government as protector
In the modern-day Zimbabwe, Mthwakazi finds itself in a political territory of unrelenting insecurity without a government to provide the safety of law and order, protecting citizens from each other and from the State.
All we demand is a government that secures safety and justice for all citizens, not some. People must be protected from poverty and excesses of other citizens and the State.
The horrors of little or no government to provide that function are in full display in Zimbabwe be it the genocidal activities of the 1980s where Mthwakazi nationals were butchered by the state or citizens disappearing without trace for exercising their right to question government behaviour.
The unfortunate political reality as evidenced in Mthwakazi rural communities, is that this political chaos, insecurity and disorder has driven citizens even closer to the despotic and fanatic government of ZANU PF. This in part explains the failure of a genuine local breakthrough by pro-Mthwakazi movements. We can no longer accept such governance.
Separation of powers is an essential element in ensuring accountability and that citizens are protected from different parts of government attempting to overstep their power limits. We are witnesses to a presidency doing whatever suited its interests and those of its immediate family, close friends and tribe, we have seen what happens when the military wanders off its barracks to play a political role.
Government as Provider
We need government to help communities to bridge the gap between ideation and implementation, and be at the centre of the provision of goods and services that individuals cannot provide individually for themselves.
Here we are looking at the provision of basic economic infrastructure of human connectivity, i.e. the means of physical travel, such as roads, bridges and rail network, and increasingly the means of virtual travel, such as broadband.
It is essential to the Mthwakazi population that there is a social welfare state in which the government protects citizens from the harsh realities of capitalism, cushions our inability to provide for ourselves, particularly in the vulnerable conditions of youth, old age, sickness, disability and unemployment due to economic forces beyond their control. Government should provide a social security that enables citizens to create their own economic security.
Government as Investor in talent
Locked talent is nothing but a waste to individuals and society. Government has a responsibility to invest in citizen capabilities to enable them to provide for themselves.
We expect government to work in consultation with local leadership to analyse needs and evaluate solutions, and to heavily fund such activities as education, encourage more active citizenship participation.
To form a Mthwakazi needs conscious government will require our political movements to pay undivided attention to detail; for if the foundation is badly laid, the superstructure will crumble. What we stress to our political movements herein is that they will never know what we need and for them to listen to what we perceive and expect of a good government; we want of our political leaders and government to be there to support our journey, not for them to force theirs upon us.