As part of our contribution to the Matabeleland political movement, our last article delivered a message to all Matabeleland leaders, in it we made plain our aversion to real or perceived support of despotic governments or leaders. Such behaviour would be frowned upon for its obvious detrimental effects on Matabeleland public aspirations and betrayal of the people who have suffered from ZANU PF absolutism. We will reject and withhold our support for any leader or organisation excusing absolute regimes. Our Zimbabwean experience teaches us that ethics and oversight are what you eliminate when you want absolute power.
The partnerships our leaders or organisations seek and/ or build say a lot about their priorities. We do not believe embracing dictatorship and despotism will be change or progress. Alliances with despots are never safe for open society. If the Matabeleland movement wants to create a little Russia in Southern Africa, then its demonization of ZANU PF – a prime despot – is driven by jealous not a desire for genuine change that will install humane high moral standards in government.
We highlight the fact that what threatens to doom the Matabeleland political movement is its adoption of rabid policies from some groups that leave the movement politically aloof within its constituency. There is a conflict of interest that sees some groups preaching democracy by day yet maintaining open despotic aspirations and relations by night.
Deception damages the image of any cause, when senior members in the Matabeleland movement appear uncertain of what position to assume in relation to despots of this World, when they openly support President Putin, it would be impossible to believe a word the movement utters about democracy, and it would even be harder to convince the public that its aims are in pursuit for democracy not just power for its own sake. In that scenario, we can as well embrace ZANU PF which makes no pretence of loving liberty, where despotism can be taken pure without hypocrisy.
Silence can be regarded as a form of deception, while groups within the Matabeleland movement are officially silent on their positions on despots, a full-blown, but ill-advised, ill-informed, unjustified anti-Western rhetoric and a full embrace of despotic regimes is being portrayed by individual members. Without official reprimand, we can only assume the groups embrace that position, and unfortunately that position goes against the grain of reality. Consorting with despots will never be a solution to Matabeleland’s problems, and it is certain to present devastating outcomes for the movement at large.
We are responsible for our politics; the reality is that embracing or attacking other communities will not change the facts. Our people are in this quagmire because, owing to an emotionally charged politics, a lack of political education and information, we elected clueless despots who in turn have presided over the worst economic and political failures in the history of the country. Our people are not terrorised by the West, instead they are running away from the brutality of a despotic government in Zimbabwe and scattered around Western democracies, not Russia, etc., seeking refuge and economic survival.
Another falsehood that we must strongly challenge and dismiss is the typically despotic, disingenuous and harshly insensitive theory that posits our political challenges can only be fixed through the exclusion of certain population groups. Collective judgement of communities is not only wrong but dangerous as our Gukurahundi experience will testify. Hatred of people on the basis of tribe is wrong, no matter who does the hating. When you want change you revamp systems and supporting institutions, not replace one tribe with another to oversee the same rotten system and institutions that have turned a country into a crime scene.
We must move away from despotism, and with that away from a politics that protects hatred and haters. It is our assessment that an illiberal world order dominated by despots will not meet Matabeleland’s democratic aspirations; those who want to play a leading role in our political liberation need to understand that a better Matabeleland will be one that respects life, protects human rights, creates opportunities for ALL its citizens, promotes accountability and embraces oversight of all its institutions.
Change is everybody’s responsibility; this is the time for the public to demonstrate collective strength; pick and move mountains for real change, and that is a change of systems and institutions. Despots create a sense of helplessness among the public; so first thing, let us reject the sense that we are helpless and ineffectual and thus need despots as saviours. We cannot afford to think of ourselves as helpless and ineffectual for that will only create and/ or embolden a despotic government to be our master. Matabeleland public must collectively deny space to despotic regimes, irrespective of the leader. We believe in democracy and in that a good constitution is superior to the best despot. Granting despotism anything short of defeat reinforces the notion for tyrants that they can behave any how and get whatever they desire as long as they are willing to sacrifice the lives of their own oppressed masses.