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We risk becoming a symbol of cowardice to the next generation

Image courtesy: Zimbabwe Field Guide. Imbizo warriors from The Graphic 1893

Decades of repeated errors of judgement by Matabeleland politicians have left us staring at the real demise of the once great nation of Matabele. We are on the brink of incapacitation and unable to protect our social, cultural, economic and political space. Unwillingness to protect one’s nation must rank as the worst form of cowardice. This Matabele generation’s abstinence from all action aimed at rebuilding our nation is heart-breaking. Even worse, we have become willing supporters and protectors of the very systems causing harm in our communities. In our desperation for relevance, we are making fools of ourselves supporting despotic Russia and by default, its brutality in Ukraine.

We have become a joke of a nation that will not fight for its freedom for the fear of provoking our abuser; we have become comfortable in the companionship of liars, cowards and sociopaths. It is little surprise, but still disturbing, that many from our region have become unintended Russian spokespersons and have not resisted the chance to demean and criticise Ukrainians for their resolute defence of their sovereignty.  

No self-respecting nation with an ounce of pride in its history, culture and traditions would take advice from us; we are just but cowards going down a slippery slope to self-destruction and succumbing to the will of our abuser. The Matabele nation was established by brave men and women of the last generations and cowards will not preserve it. Accusing Ukraine of naivety for defending its sovereignty and having the audacity to advise them to negotiate with their bully is a typical coward’s manual of ‘reasoning and acting safe practice’.

Negotiating with a bully is called appeasement and it never works to the victim’s favour. Matabeles should know better and stop the unsolicited, foolish advice to the brave Ukrainians. Who has bewitched us? Have we not learnt from our own experience of negotiating with an immoral and an unethical political despot? We negotiated with ZANU to stop raping, torturing, starving, maiming and killing our people, and signed the 1987 Unity Accord. Do we honestly believe we are now empowered after years of adopting a state of appeasing ZANU PF bullies?

Those who believe Matabeleland is stronger today for kneeling down to ZANU in the 1980s should list all the benefits from that Unity Agreement for the scrutiny of the next generation. From the list, will they have anything to look at us in adoration? Facts are stubborn, that unity agreement was a document of surrender; we are nothing today but a fractured, weakened, hopeless nation drained of its fighting spirit. Before we advise Ukraine against defending itself against a despotic aggressor let us take a long good look in the mirror for what cowardice looks like.

It is the height of hypocrisy for a people who only three decades ago suffered from a staggering violation of rights from a fanatical despotic regime for nothing but their identity and what they represented to the regime to find pleasure and excuse for gruesome violations of rights and international law that bear resemblance to their personal experiences.

Yes, people are free to choose their company but with every decision there is accountability. Anyone who chooses Russian company and condones its brutality in Ukraine cannot in all honesty expect his/ her tears over Gukurahundi atrocities to be taken serious.  

If we continue on this path of self-destruction which sees us making light of crime, making excuses for it and trying to find relevance by associating with whomever we think is powerful, not necessarily right, we are primed to be the worst generation of Matabeles in the historical existence of the nation.

We are already seeing evidence of a fractured nation misled by a wealthy elite that openly display its loyalty to Zimbabwe’s mainstream politics. Your leaders are meant to reflect your interests yet we have leaders who represent ZANU PF, CCC and other mainstream organisations’ interests but are unwilling and even afraid to present our interests to their organisations.

Self-jeopardising decisions and infighting have found home in Matabeleland, and have become the definition of what our nation is about. Those who try and fight for Matabeleland-relevant systems are pummelled from pillar to post by their own. We fully understand the distinction between constructive criticism and deliberate derailment and diversion, there will always be place for the former.  

Recovery remains possible, but without intentional, swift internally driven socioeconomic and political reforms strictly focused on our recovery and preservation, Matabeles will find themselves suffocating and struggling for a voice in Matabeleland in the next 50 years, and that would be a serious indictment to this generation.

Before it is too late, let us cast away all the cowards from our embraces; these people will continue to give us only cowardice for advice, invite chameleons for companions, and market surrender policies from their masters as some form of economic and political reform. We are a nation born of noble and brave men and women, the next generation depends on us for the survival of Matabeleland.

You can support Russia all you want, but it is the height of cowardice and irresponsibility to go on to excuse its perpetuation of senseless acts of violence in Ukraine and have the guts to blame Ukraine for defending itself. We cannot give the appeasement advice to Ukraine when it failed us. Something is fundamentally wrong with the psyching of any nation that sees nothing wrong with attending celebratory functions of its abusers in their celebration of the killing, raping, maiming, and starving of its people. ZANU PF chose the 22nd of December to celebrate the accomplishment of its broader mission which includes the dehumanisation of Matabeles and reducing us to second class citizens, and we the Matabele wilfully take part in that celebration!

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