Building a truly great country requires that correspondingly great men and women acquire political power and use it efficiently for the good of the nation – all people from all tribes and races. The pro-Mthwakazi movement’s sole interest in seeking power must not be for power’s sake but to achieve political goals, power to map out new direction for our nation, and not power because it alone is the Holy Grail to personal privileges, to look after your own, that is, misplaced patronage.
So far what the pro-Mthwakazi movement would have learnt from politics in Zimbabwe is that when power and leadership come to politicians incapable of handling either, the results can be catastrophic to a nation. The ZANU PF and the ethnic Shona majority who have controlled government since 1980 have grown so comfortable with their majority that they have literally lost track of the country. The late President Robert Mugabe and his late opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai sacrificed their revolution to their swollen egos. And now there is Emerson Mnangagwa whose hunger for power has grown so insatiable that it has detached him from the nation’s business and driven him further away from the principles of electoral democracy.
If ZANU PF leadership’s love for corruption is disturbing, their wilful abuse of power is alarming. The party’s hierarchy appears to be confused about boundaries between the party and the state as much as they are confused about the difference between a legislative majority won in an election and total control held indefinitely.
Their protection of each other has not gone unnoticed in Matabeleland and the Midlands. During the Mugabe and Mnangagwa’s presidency government priorities have been vested on the protection of party colleagues and ethnic Shona people while Mthwakazi concerns have been only secondary, if they featured at all.
We have witnessed men and women who were instrumental in the Gukurahundi genocide being rescued, given political accolades or retained into power by ethnic Shona people; this has been the case because deep down ethnic Shona people have never really believed that these monsters had done anything wrong in butchering Mthwakazi citizens. Only political expediency has dictated some should be gotten rid of and they have gone, but they have gone with an arrogant nod and a wink.
We are not remotely surprised by ZANU PF’s overreaching practices, it was clear from its formation in the 1960s that ZANU PF was never going to be content with having an ethnic Shona president and a majority in parliament. The party has always desired to control every aspect of government fully, and to deny non-ethnic Shona, including non-black population groups, any role at all. They are never comfortable with difference or alternative thinking.
The pro-Mthwakazi movement must show itself as willing and prepared to show not only political leadership but honesty in charting a new direction for our great nation. Ethnic division is becoming a prevalent and ugly feature in our society; it has no place amongst a people who have suffered at its hands for decades; we need leaders with the ability to lead to do. 21st century challenges should elicit 21st century responses. The diverse Mthwakazi nation or whatever name people want to call the country must be governed in a manner that fully reflects and embraces that historical, political, economic, social and cultural wealth.
An increasing number of our own people are becoming more comfortable with tribalism; an alarming number of tribalist attacks, albeit in the form of online exchanges, have been met with stony silence and no action from the pro-Mthwakazi movement leadership. There has been no information or public awareness campaign against any form of bigotry despite the fact we love to see ourselves as a tolerant nation.
It is safe to say at times the behaviour the movement is asking its supporters to endorse falls far below that which our people are entitled to expect. Tribalism is not what makes our identity. It is a demeaning, repugnant politics and an insult to our forbearers’ legacy. Organisations must be made aware that those who stand for and front it or are found to be complicit will ultimately pay the price.
A reminder to the pro-Mthwakazi movement and its supporters is that the movement exists to identify, call out and prevent ZANU PF’s excesses, and above all, the movement exists to build a new dawn; that can only be achieved if we devote sufficient resources into research to be aware of today’s challenges and objectively working towards appropriate interventions. We cannot afford to preside over the slow death of our nation, it is thus comforting to see individuals working on practicable state and federal constitutions.
To pro-Mthwakazi leaders, we say when the object of power is power, the nation suffers because those who seek power have no interest in the public wellbeing but only in what they can extract from holding onto power. We cannot lead the people when we are out of touch, when we do not want to be what they want us to be, when we cannot partner with them and when we are so scared of them that we actively side-line them from the corridors of power.