Our region and its people continue to suffer in Zimbabwe because we have been too cowardly to do what we knew to be right, as we had been too cowardly to avoid doing what we knew to be wrong. We have known that national government in Zimbabwe is synonymous to the subjugation of Matabeleland by Mashonaland; instead of challenging, we have embraced the illusion that we have no choice just to relieve ourselves of responsibility.
What we are confronted with in Mthwakazi today is no accident but the cost of years of ignoring Zimbabwe national government’s injustice against us. We cannot continue to ignore wrongdoers because they happen to be old, the damage of their actions is not age-selective. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are complicit in ripping off the foundations of justice from underneath the feet of future generations.
This is the time, as pointed by Chief Felix Nhlanhla Ndiweni, for all to acknowledge that local communities and politics are in a crisis and that we are responsible for the solution. It must be made clear to those individuals and groups who choose to ignore evil practice, opt to bury it so deep within society that no sign of it appears on the surface that they are in fact implanting it, and it will rise up several fold in the future.
We must not allow ourselves to be on the side of the oppressor by default through silence. We must be prepared to challenge false pretences at protecting justice, let us understand that there is no greater tyranny than that which is perpetrated by Zimbabwe’s government under the cover of the law and in the name of justice.
Do not be fooled people of Mthwakazi, do not be fooled into rejecting your gallant fighters. Chief Felix Nhlanhla Ndiweni has been turned into a rogue leader who has robbed his way to the echelons of Ntabazinduna chieftaincy. Forget the politicised views and actions that unfairly raise questions on Nhlanhla’s legitimacy to succeed his father as the chief of Ntabazinduna. We all know how a chief is chosen in our tradition. Here we go by what the Ndiweni family say, and they chose Nhlanhla.
We all know how ZANU PF’s politics works, each time a man stands up for an ideal other than theirs, or acts to improve others, or strikes out against government injustice, the party adopts illicit methods to bring him down.
Chief Ndiweni’s ‘crime’ centres around his ideals that openly confront the ZANU PF-led government’s ineptitude and lack of accountability; he is causing frustration within ZANU PF and its beneficiaries and sends forth tiny ripples of hope across Zimbabwe and Mthwakazi in particular; he needs all of our support right now.
Local democracy is in a crisis because ZANU PF wants to centralise power, meddle in anything and everything leaving local communities estranged from their local resources and rights. We want to understand how our communities are represented in government. This is what Chief Ndiweni has been keen to point at from day one of taking his role as chief.
Chief Ndiweni is a victim for advocating for the strengthening of democracy and calling for the empowerment of local authorities and in the process challenging the role of centralised government in local matters. ZANU PF has never been kind to questions about its power and lack of accountability which is exactly what Chief Ndiweni has been doing.
In the Mthwakazi of today, democracy has become the legitimate demand of all local communities, we are seeing an increase in the local calls for implementation of political and administrative reforms that are aimed at decentralisation and the strengthening of local governance. Chief Ndiweni is among the high profile personalities to make those calls and it is unsurprising that ZANU PF and its associates will go all the way in trying to delegitimise him.
We are in no doubt that effective local democracy is the pillar for a healthy and strong national democracy. After all, the local level is where citizens first get acquainted with the political system of which they are a part. Local political authority is public’s primary entry point for political participation and representation. Informed, strong and active public engagement in local politics is essential in helping elected local authorities and professional municipal administrators formulate strategies for tackling social problems and economic fundamentals.
Chief Ndiweni is simply raising public awareness that the role of citizens in building sustainable democracy in an inclusive manner at the local level is crucial; he is against the current domineering nature of the state and calling instead for local authorities and civil society organisations (CSOs) to provide the framework for local engagement.
For Mthwakazi progress, locals must not shy away from actions intent on empowering the region, and we must not make the mistake of thinking that we have to agree with people and their beliefs to defend them from injustice. Let us fight for Chief Ndiweni’s right to speak up for his people. We are all agreed that granting local communities the democratic power to oversee their own political and financial affairs is fundamental to local politics, it promotes accountability and creativity while increasing participation.