The problem of the ‘educated’ elite Matabele to Matabeleland politics

Image credit: Tailormade Africa. A display of the beauty of nature in Matobo National Park in Matabeleland South

Key to Matabeleland’s freedom and liberty will be an ideological realignment, and essential to that is the full participation of all citizens. Ubuntu instructs us not look up to the elite and not to look down on the poor; as a philosophy Ubuntu dictates that our political system ought not to be the outcome of the interests of an exclusive club of the elite and wealthy but of amalgamated ideas from across our diverse communities. We must ensure our political systems and institutions are a true reflection of society.

Taking responsibility

The basis of our political systems and institutions should be the right of all people, not just the privileged few, to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government.

We need to recognise that the Matabeleland political space we experience today is the product of our thinking, it cannot change without changing our thinking. Tribal zealots in Harare are treating us as allowed by us. Internal political power dynamics must change; the lived reality is that changes will not happen if we take our eyes off the ordinary men and women in the streets of Matabeleland for these are the people who endure the brunt of an incompetent government and failed Zimbabwean system. The ordinary citizens should be defining their pain in their own words and at the centre of prescribing the treatment.

Public mistrust of the elite

For the sake of progress we can no longer afford to place blind faith on the educated elite and wealthy Matabele whose primary role is to minimise his folk’s suffering, use Harare judgement tools to despise his folk and ridicule his interpretation of his own circumstances.

The Matabele elite is both a liability and an embarrassment to Matabeleland; he is an honest servant of his Harare bosses, not to his community; he is satisfied with cosmetic changes, these are changes that do not substantially interfere with the foundations of the authority of his Harare paymasters and they do nothing to improve the life of the man on the street of Matabeleland.

Be wary of the educated Matabele elite

You stand no chance of changing the social and political narrative when the so-called most educated members of your society and the elite who also happen to be closest to the corridors of power exist not to make laws, not to challenge laws that protect unjust institutions and practices but exist as mere administrators who labour and obey their master in Harare.

The esteemed educated Matabele elite are nothing but glorified slaves, they are themselves victims of an indoctrination programme (sold as education) that emasculates and turns them into vital tools of a system that restricts their thinking, limits their capabilities and oppresses the development of their communities.

Why Zimbabwe’s education system is a problem

Fruit does not fall far from the tree, the Zimbabwean education system is a caricature of ZANU PF philosophy, and it is an inward looking system bent on teaching scholars to obey authority without question.

An education system reflects the power structure of a society and more important its primary role is the preservation of that structure. Basically, an education system serves the interests of those who shape it and those who shape it are protective of their power. Zimbabwean education system serves ZANU PF interests and ZANU PF interests are founded on ethnic Shona supremacism, Shona customs and interests.

Tribalism in Zimbabwe is a fact, and revolution has become Matabeleland’s right. While the youth on the streets of Matabeleland pose the question of inequality, discrimination and debasement of the Ndebele, the educated elite and wealthy are content with playing a bit part in Zimbabwe, and being denied power because of who they are, and they have no problem with the acquired inferiority status as long as their bosses in Harare materially reward them, and they do.

The role of self-confidence to freedom and liberty

Tribalists will always call you a tribalist when you identify their tribalism. We have a situation in the independent Zimbabwe where to love yourself as a Ndebele person has (through decades of miseducation and victimisation) been turned into a form of tribalism. As it stands today, we are the only people in Zimbabwe who are criticised for loving ourselves, and ethnic Shona people think when we love ourselves we hate them yet the reality is that when we genuinely love ourselves they become irrelevant to us.

When you appreciate yourself you do not seek validation of others, you escape their emotional and psychological shackles and in their eyes you pose real threat to their authority as they cannot control you any longer, their self-constructed ideals of superiority over you no longer hold true to you, they no longer have power over you and cannot weigh you down hence you become a real threat to their power and control.

Conclusion

Real education opens minds to learn, but Zimbabwean education is a deterrent that produces graduates with little to no relevant skills to address local challenges. It is unsurprising that the Matabele educated elite are less likely to critique the status quo; they adapt to it and then try and convince the unsuspecting folk to do the same. To progress, revolutionists must not take many of our educated elite serious. The educated Ndebele elite is conditioned to advocate for the tribalist Zimbabwean systems in Matabeleland. He is counter-productive to the revolution because his interpretation of the absence of a chain around his ankles is that he is free, and he has more to lose by challenging the status quo. To protect his interests he misrepresents his Matabeleland base in Harare and minimises people’s suffering. Our freedom will come when men and women on the street learn their worth and start acting in their best interest.

Published by THE RESEARCH HUB

a progressive politics and policy researcher and author with an interest in Matabeleland human rights, liberties, safety and security.

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