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Matabeleland needs to do what is right by Matabeleland to build political capital

We are not oblivious to the fact that within the independent Zimbabwe’s political space we in Matabeleland have to date lost more than a few battles. However, we have the conviction that although we remain captive to the dark forces of evil which have made political capital and careers out of tribal slender and stereotyping, we will still win the war.

You cannot blame the Matabeleland public for thinking mainstream politicians are being deliberately obtuse; political practices obstruct non-ethnic Shona people from achieving real freedom. Independence as overseen by ZANU PF turns out to be a copy, not a departure from colonialism except that racism is conveniently replaced by tribalism; the tribal system subordinates Matabeleland to Mashonaland.

Within the corruptible ZANU PF system all methods for acquiring political capital are brought about at the expense of morality; they distort our social capital and transform society into emotive tribal communes unable to hold decent conversation. Everyday hate-fuelled mainstream Zimbabwe politics subjects Matabeles to tribalism and despotism; all means for the acquisition of political power transform themselves into means of domination over – and exploitation of – Matabeles.

The mainstream politics system mutilates minority ethnic groups into shadows of themselves, degrades them to the level of an appendage of the ethnic Shona culture; they estrange ethnic minorities from their culture and traditions and deny them use of their intellectual abilities to shape local communities, economies and politics in their own image.

Government system and institutions have turned Shona creed into law and Shona language and customs into a default national identity. To try and create one identity by suppressing all others is incendiary and dangerous politics that must be resisted by all means necessary. The solution lies not in fixing ZANU PF’s flawed design but creating humane systems that make bigotry of any kind obsolete in Matabeleland. Our movements need to espouse the diversity that makes Matabeleland unique.

First, get your priorities right and stop courting controversy for its own sake. Attempting to restore a monarchy lost over a century ago fits into an emotion fuelled adventure, nothing more. This website has been steadfast in its reservations over the contextual benefits of restoring a monarchy in Matabeleland; the need for the restoration of such archaic institutions is questionable. Arguably, restoring privilege for a few in the midst of insufferable poverty in society is misplaced priority and the height of insensitivity.

Although we may not agree with the essence of the restoration of a 19th Century institution in the 21st Century, we respect the right for individuals and groups who wish to do so; we will respect that development but hope such an undemocratic institution will not interfere with individual liberties.

We maintain our belief that what Matabeleland truly needs is a political revolution that will bring people together, and that means a system, policies and institutions that will earn the allegiance and respect of all communities of Matabeleland. To achieve that you stop building cult figures, stop creating exclusive and elitist socio-political institutions that resort to imposing their values on the public.

Reverse the pattern of public estrangement from politics by promoting self-governance, start by building social capital, take yourself to communities, not once, not twice but regularly; show real interest in the people and their interests, participate in local community events, be a part of the community, build local links and trust, and from the people learn what their real priorities are. You may be surprised to find out your perceived priorities are not public priorities; from that work with the people to build a system through which they can see themselves and their future.

Nobody gives you freedom, you grab it; there is no golden street to it, and only those brave enough to take on the unwieldy climb of its steep paths stand a chance of reaching its summit. If you are still waiting for an invitation to liberate yourself you are not ready; individual responsibility will have to be at the centre of all that we do as a society because our political movement will only work if people show up and if people play by the rules, and it will only work if people are held accountable for their actions.

It is not a secret, but if we are as devoted to our freedom as ZANU PF and ethnic Shona people are willing to fight to protect their privileges, we surely shall be free. ZANU PF has shown it has no limits and committing reprehensible acts to protect its interests falls well within its acceptable moral codes of behaviour which unfortunately is shared by many in Mashonaland.



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