Injustices of the colonial era merger of Matabeleland and Mashonaland continue to stare Mthwakazi (Matabeleland and parts of Midlands) right in the eye. The forced changes of that period undermined internal socioeconomics and weakened local politics.
Unfortunate as it sounds, lack of direction and confusion characterises Mthwakazi politics today. But, as we see this hopeless situation, we retain the ability to change things for the betterment not only of this generation but of generations to come.
A word of warning, we need to cut off relationships with negative people within our political space; let these people move on. We have the responsibility to stop exposing ourselves to the wrong people whose only purpose seems to be knocking back the Mthwakazi agenda.
These are alarmists who are unrelenting in their demand for absolute power to dominate, transform and control every aspect of our political life. Given time and space these people will ultimately shape our ‘reality’ in ways that are not necessarily conducive to achieving our political goals.
As we face the modern era, it is evident that ineffective local political institutions are diminishing the prospects for Mthwakazi’s political structural recovery from the failing Zimbabwean state. We are divided and increasingly unable to coordinate an effective fight against the Zimbabwean system and its institutions.
Until we have better oversight of the practices of the pro-Mthwakazi political organisations and movements, our fate will not change; we will remain politically weak and our fight will be woefully lacking in strategy and focus.
There is no question on the importance of political organisations in Mthwakazi. They are a fundamental entity of Mthwakazi politics and act as a vehicle through which individuals gain access to public office.
The biggest challenge facing Mthwakazi is of organisations whose ideals are often incompatible with societal needs and organisations espousing external democratic goals but built on undemocratic internal structures. The public only gets to see the resultant product, a stagnation in political growth but is never aware of the real causes.
In a democracy, even activities challenging the way a society is currently organised should be tolerated, provided they do not seek to harm democracy itself. However, the Mthwakazi problem is not just radical ideology but misdirection and lack of internal political accountability.
Organisations are running amok with no measure of control. This leads us to the important question: are political organisations private or semi-public entities? Given they make their own rules which determine members’ conduct and funding, we do recognise their privacy, but are they entirely private when their source of authority is the public and their goal is to run public office?
We argue here that the private value of political organisations is only relative and subject to these organisations not infringing legitimate standing public laws on democratic practice, political party funding human rights and public safety and security.
In an attempt to evade public scrutiny, some of our organisations act as holly private entities yet incessantly courting public mandate for them to carry out certain public duties and responsibilities on our behalf.
Seeing the huge public responsibilities extended to political parties, should they open the integrity of their internal processes to the same level of public scrutiny as typical public institutions? They certainly cannot be accountable to themselves when their behaviour risks public security.
We believe these organisations owe their existence to the public and are thus more public than they are private. We respect the right for organisations to set their internal rules of operation but we expect them to take their responsibilities to the public seriously and their operational rules not to be far removed from society.
No political entity should expect blind faith from us because we are past that and we will not offer any. For instance, we want to know how they choose their leaders who go on to represent us. Accountability is no longer an option but a public and private expectation.
It cannot be emphasised enough that our political institutions need to appreciate that there is a huge and legitimate public interest in their activities, conduct and standard of behaviour of their members. After all these institutions are the route to public office; they are tasked by the public to choose candidates for public office.
That interest extends not merely to the political parties’ public conduct, but to their leadership’s personal and family relationships because those are integral to the proper functioning of the politics in our country; we expect our leaders to uphold high moral standards, they must therefore be seen to be behaving in ways that are in harmony with our societal norms and values.
Many of our organisations are struggling because they are pursuing objectives that are clearly incompatible with a multicultural and tolerant Mthwakazi nation. A case in point is the continued attacks on some ethnic and tribal groups despite a lack of political capital from such an approach.
In conclusion we posit the argument that while we respect the existence of political organisations as private entities in Mthwakazi, in cases where a political programme does not respect or is clearly at odds with our legitimate socioeconomic and political needs, we – the public, through the state – have a right to take steps, including party dissolution, to protect the existence of Mthwakazi from intentions that would undermine its existence as a diverse, multicultural and tolerant nation.