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Political Empowerment a necessity for Mthwakazi Citizens

Agent policy and institutional reforms are needed to ensure the pro-Mthwakazi politics attains ideological congruence, and more important to ensure the movement does not become a version of ZANU PF. What is required is the creation, promotion and protection of a pro-citizens politics; this is an approach that will create structures that enable genuine political participation by ordinary men and women and bridge the wedge between the movement and the public’s ideological location.

It has long become apparent that we cannot achieve internal political equilibrium by targeting specific population groups for isolation and abuse. While an anti-Shona rhetoric may sound fashionable or even deemed justifiable by some pro-Mthwakazi political groups or individuals, it is neither constructive nor liberating nor empowering. Such an approach is dangerous political opportunism and not an empowerment tool for our citizens.  

Increasing political and economic dominance of ethnic Shona people is a genuine cause for concern in Mthwakazi and a source of disempowerment for Mthwakazi people. The current circumstance is a by-product of opportunistic politics that replaced colonial political structures founded on racism, resource extraction, military control and marginalisation of the poor from executive power with tribalism, elitism, extraction, exclusion of the poor and it embraced militarism. It is a politics that promotes Shona supremacy and nurses Shona privilege, and a regime not averse to using force to achieve its goals.

We realise too that this ZANU PF fronted politics is hostile and aggressive to Mthwakazi nationals and their interests, it also shields the political elite from accountability, but it marginalises all poor people, regardless of tribe, from executive power.

The frustration to Zimbabwean politics by Matabeleland people is both evident and understandable; the public is fed up with both Shona dominance and being on the margins of corridors of power and is demanding to play a greater role in how they are governed, but we must not be deceived into believing that getting rid of ethnic Shona people from Matabeleland will somehow translate into public empowerment. Just as decolonisation did not bring the poor closer to executive power, the expulsion of ethnic Shona people (some of whom Matabeleland has become home) from Matabeleland will not necessarily give the public unhindered access to real power.

Shona bashing is not political creativity but populism or opportunism that does not even begin to solve our present and long-term political problems. Quite clearly, tribal-baiting will not be the right tool hence we are strongly opposed to targeting any population group for hatred; pro-Mthwakazi reform will instead require changes to the current internal political settlement between the diverse interests of different Mthwakazi communities.

In a diverse region like Mthwakazi/ Matabeleland, real change in the power structure is required to enhance equity so that the various groups with their vested interests will not feel the need to undermine the authority of the broader movement in pursuit of their own goals. The last thing we want is for the greater political power of different interest groups within our nations to compromise the growth of the pro-electorate/ citizens politics.

Greater focus must be on creating government structures that alter power dynamics in society, change the relationship between government and the people by empowering the electorate and thus alter the responsiveness of the state to people’s interests. The general view is that federalism will better reflect Mthwakazi citizens’ needs.

The pro-Mthwakazi movement has to bear in mind that a well-functioning state is essential for responding to the interests of the citizens. The vast majority of Mthwakazi political actors have expressed their belief in the desirability of devolution of power, now it is time to put words into practice; we need leaders who will be prepared to sacrifice their egos for the benefit of the nation.

Our idea of the devolution of powers will be the adoption of the Principle of subsidiarity in which powers are allocated to the Federal, the provinces and the municipalities/ cities/ towns/ districts/ villages. We expect that all activities that can be done by local governments and communities are performed only by them with the Federal only undertaking tasks that the provinces and municipalities are unable to perform or which require uniform regulation by the Federation.

It is important that the movement provides genuine opportunity for the representatives of the citizens to influence policy making processes and make policy makers more accountable to the electorate.

Diversity of culture and interests is at the core of Mthwakazi/ Matabeleland politics. Centralised, autocratic decision-making processes must be discredited and abandoned so as to promote a pro-electorate political process. The electorate need to participate in and influence the policy reform process that goes with the public empowerment strategies. Approaches are needed to increase the voice and influence of the ordinary women and men in order that policy making is accountable to the actual needs of the citizens.  


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