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Mthwakazi politicians ignore the value of numbers at a cost

We can see our forests vanishing, our culture trampled upon, our political influence disappearing, our human confidence dissipating, our water and electricity supplies dwindling, our soil being swept away by floods and winds into the rivers, and the end of our coal and our gold reserves is in sight.

Time to take hold of our territory is now; we will not do that by the might of our fist but by consent of the governed. The pro-Mthwakazi movement and organisations have made sporadic successes in raising issues important to Matabeleland but they have the responsibility to maintain visible political capital. It is morally unpalatable that our people are represented in parliament by parties that have shown no loyalty to them. 

If you are a political party leader, and you are not learning, not being inspired or not networking and not winning hearts and minds, then you are not using your political leadership platform correctly. Great ideas alone are of no value if they cannot be broken down to actionable constituents; great ideas alone, without sufficient numbers behind them, do not lead to political influence.

‘Numbers do matter in politics’ is the message that should be drilled into every pro-Mthwakazi organisation psyching; for Mthwakazi political organisations to gain political traction (within and outside) and for our politics to be self-sustaining it has to be taken far and wide, attract people in numbers and cover a broader social strata and geographic territory.

Few brave men and women have stood up for Mthwakazi interests but going forward we need numbers, for it will take millions of Mthwakazi citizens to turn what is now effectively a Mashonaland colony into a Mthwakazi-relevant political territory.

Barring Zimbabwe’s tribally controlled institutions and a lack of democracy, numbers will aid Mthwakazi political influence. We have seen how since Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980 Mthwakazi has lost authority while it interacts with Mashonaland.

Our experience suggests that numbers – and group procedures – have shaped norms that have advanced or hindered Mthwakazi’s authority. In turn Mthwakazi’s authority or lack thereof has impacted decisions about socioeconomic and political power redistribution; we believe, the higher the Mthwakazi’s authority, the kinder would be socioeconomic and political investment in the region.   

We believe too, Zimbabwe policy responsiveness towards excluded Mthwakazi minority societies will only improve through the presence of pro-Mthwakazi group members in parliament because they will bring forward different perspectives during parliamentary debates.

Rights of citizens to participate in the political life of our great nation must not be compromised. Indeed, if every talented politically minded Mthwakazi citizen with great ideas wants to form their own movement or political organisation or even join the MDC/ ZANU PF, let them go ahead; after all that is the beauty of democracy. But each one of them has a responsibility to the public; the question is, ‘Do we need many political movements or organisations duplicating roles?’ As for the MDC/ ZANU PF sphere of evil, we reserve comment.

A divided Mthwakazi faces decades of political wilderness and further socioeconomic degradation. When people are turned against each other, they cannot turn towards those responsible. Cooperation within and between Mthwakazi communities and between political movements and/ or organisations is necessary if we are to limit and eventually make the ZANU PF/ MDC political influence obsolete in Mthwakazi.

Building our political power is aligned with building a real support base with good numbers on the ground, and that elicits more feet on the ground than fingers on the keyboards. There can never be middle ground where moral choice and political decision is concerned because by being on a safe side or being indecisive you choose to be on the side of the aggressor.

The choice is stark for our gifted young men and women. Be part of the creators of Mthwakazi’s political future or be architects of its destruction. Making safe and easy choices when people should be standing up and fighting Zimbabwe’s oppressive system and its institutions to ensure it never raises its ugly head in our communities is ‘notional surrender’.

Responsible politics is important if we are to defeat an organised aggressor. We need to cut out duplicitous approaches. Duplicity of activities and organisations is a damaging offshoot of political arrogance and negligence, internal diversionary tactics, division, external interference, internal insecurities, poor and misplaced priorities.

The damaging result is that communities, movements and organisations that should be working together are fragmented, jostling for control when what is required is all talent being infused in a boiling political pot of purpose. The first consideration must be to identify if one’s great talent can be put to better and bigger use in the existing groups.  

In today’s Mthwakazi, we can see and feel the waste of human talent. We are witnesses to inefficient or ill-directed movements of highly talented men and women within our political space, and all they leave is invisible to the nation, we remain a powerless nation without direction, controlled and deprived of decency by the Harare politics.

The growth of Mthwakazi focused politics, and ripping apart ZANU PF/ MDC influence in the region, should always be part of our long-term strategy, not a quick fix to an immediate problem. We want an increase in national political unity and an increase in political participation. Our goal is thus, to achieve maximum value optimisation where foolish risk is balanced against excessive caution.

By RESEARCH HUB

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

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