Do not believe the oppressor’s interpretation of the victim’s behaviour, listen to the oppressed. Becoming conscious of tribalism and confronting it wherever it raises its ugly head does not make one a tribalist. Pro-Mthwakazi groups and individuals who highlight and challenge tribalism in Zimbabwe must not be confused with the real tribalists in government.
Our perception of Zimbabwe
To many of us Zimbabwe’s independence is a garment of brutality. The lived reality of many Mthwakazi communities is that they are cut off from the wider country by a Mashonaland biased political system.
Talking about Zimbabwean politics without mentioning Gukurahundi is misplaced political expediency. That history matters because its narration will help rid demons that torment Mthwakazi victims of oppression, shock the complacent and intransigent within the system into self-reflection, and inspire feats of heroism, perseverance and will in Mthwakazi.
We remind everybody that modern era Zimbabwe is formed of two nations – Mashonaland and Mthwakazi. But the present political system is an intentional perpetuation and imposition of Mashonaland culture and norms upon everyone. Freedom will only be a reality in Mthwakazi when it is us who determine what constitutes freedom to us and the government’s role is only as facilitator, anything else, we are objects of ZANU PF’s control.
There is unquestionable disillusionment among Mthwakazi residents in Zimbabwe’s national politics while at the same time there is considerable interest in the development of a local, Mthwakazi focused, political superstructure.
Why Concentrate on local politics
The phrase goes: Think globally, act locally. Our long-term goal is an independent Mthwakazi, our actions are focused on establishing local interest in local politics. Evidence shows that effective politics is politics with strong local connections; it is a politics that is a true reflection of local needs and desires.
If from the Mthwakazi ruins made possible by years of political and economic neglect by the national government of Zimbabwe, marble buildings, towers, tarred streets, modern shopping centres, etc. are to emerge, forget Zimbabwean politics, we need to focus on revamping local politics.
Strong local politics will make it impossible for national political incompetence to be covered up, and exposed incompetence increases public scrutiny and diminishes government credibility.
Transform local mentality
It is a time to win the struggle ideologically and leave the foundations set up for the next generation. The future of Mthwakazi lies in the pro-Mthwakazi agenda ideology.
A society concerned with justice will care for the most marginalised among them. Our core duty is to transform Mthwakazi consciousness as to what kind of nation we can become, and we will fight for the progress of our nation in this never-ending struggle for justice.
Without legitimacy no movement will push through initiatives; we need trust and public support. We believe the public is willing to consider a different political path but that alternative should be one through which they see themselves.
Basing our politics on tribe is a non-starter in Mthwakazi, it raises wrong emotions in a nation already wrecked by Gukurahundi atrocities. You risk illuminating uncontrollable hatred that makes constructive debate impossible or at worst you risk triggering fear and disengagement. Pro-Mthwakazi movements and organisations need public confidence, commitment, and high quality engagement with stakeholders in order to win trust and control.
Arguably, our perennial problem has been the fact that language and content of political debate is fragmented, and Mthwakazi communities feel powerless to influence their own lives and the political destiny of their territory. Giving greater attention to how we communicate to our communities must be prioritised.
Effective policy is fundamental to the future of Mthwakazi politics; organisations must have clear objectives that are evidence-based, measurable and an understanding of what is feasible. Policy must be aligned with community interests. Our organisations must set clear goals for both themselves and the people (with their consent, of course) with a central objective of reducing ZANU PF/ MDC Alliance political dominance and getting people involved in the local community.
Time to think globally, but act locally
We cannot control our position in the world when we have no control over our immediate political environment. However, patience is key, organisations need to understand that the impact of local change may take a while to effect changes at national government, but it will eventually do. We will gradually deny space to the MDC Alliance and ZANU PF.
Organisations must seek to take a stand locally and stand on issues that concern the Mthwakazi public. Building a strong presence and using the social media and the internet to bring the Mthwakazi politics to every Mthwakazi household and further to a national audience will be a vital spine.
It must not be our role to free people, people must free themselves; if they have legitimate claim of ownership of their freedom, they will jealously guard it. Our central political role is to avail resources, burn (among the Mthwakazi public) the illusion of independence in Zimbabwe and raise their consciousness so they will be unafraid to create or embrace local ambitious political programmes. In the same token people must be alert to repel invasion of their liberty by unscrupulous local leaders; information is essential in protecting political space from the insidious encroachment by men and women of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding. We shall rebuild Mthwakazi one brick at a time; our battle lays the foundation for the next generation. We have a duty as pro-Mthwakazi nationals to unite, stand united, and move forward to defeat the Mashonaland hegemony fronted by ZANU PF/ MDC Alliance, the carriers and shields of the most dangerous political ideology in modern southern African history.