Toxic intellectualisation: An addiction to overthinking risks sabotaging the Matabeleland liberation movement

For at least four decades, Matabele liberals have been pandering to Shona extremists. Instead of pointing at the obvious state failings, they are turning simple facts into complex academic accounts; they demand statistical evidence from our movements to prove the foundation of mainstream Zimbabwe politics is tribalism, but do not make similar demands so mainstream politics insurers prove its inclusiveness. They minimise the inhumanity of mainstream politics to Matabeles.

It is not in the public interest for liberals to seek to intellectualise our situation and minimise tribalism’s role in Matabeleland’s problems. It is also immoral for people to try and convince the public that our allegations of state tribalism are a mere stereotype evolving from a palpable lack of education and tribalism.

It is possible to transform the situation and once again walk with our heads held high. To improve living standards for all our people, we need to be unapologetic about building and growing our political influence. Ignoring sympathisers of mainstream Zimbabwe politics is crucial to this.

Pay no attention and stop engaging with liberals infatuated with intellectualisation who try and intellectualise every experience; let us not engage with these people who try hard to explain away our concerns of tribalism in mainstream politics and have the nerve to accuse any victims who dare to object to their biased viewpoint of being tribalists.

Recalibration of the Matabeleland liberation movement is now our priority. We will adopt measures to promote political growth and maintain real progress on the ground. First, our movement needs not be complicated and turned into an academic research project, it must be simplified for all to act.

We do accept academics and planning are legitimate needs for a successful movement, but not the baggage of toxic over-intellectualisation, the tendency to complicate things and deepen self-doubt that in turn weakens internal collaboration leading to risk aversion and avoidance of action.

If you are from Matabeleland and you require statistical evidence to be convinced that Zimbabwean state systems and institutions are a construct of tribalism and a true reflection of Shona creed, and that Matabeleland is a victim of that, we most certainly do not need your services in the Matabeleland fight for liberation. You may as well continue with the research to be convinced Gukurahundi targeted Matabeles, we will continue with our efforts to liberate our nation.

We must not kill the Matabeleland movement by overthinking; let us be realistic, we will not be taking a spreadsheet to a knife war; we will confront tribalism with all practicable means available to us. We cannot be held hostage to spreadsheets, academics are important but they do not have a monopoly on knowledge and/ or solutions.

We have reached a stage in our socio-political journey where people have to be bold to act or get out of the way. We will change Matabeleland if our social and political movements collectively focus on these areas:

  • Make mainstream politics obsolete in Matabeleland
  • Get more Matabeles elected into office
  • Eliminate voter suppression and ensure marginalised communities are able to vote
  • Remove the influence of mainstream politics tainted traditional leadership
  • Confront ethnocentrism head on so our social and political space focuses on Matabeleland empowerment
  • Change public perceptions to align with Matabeleland creed

We maintain that mainstream politics in Zimbabwe bears nothing Matabeleland; we stress too that the embedded structural discrimination is deliberate ZANU PF policy driven by tribalism, the perceived threat of Matabeles thus the perceived need to control instead of empowering Matabeleland. This kind of politics must not be given room in our region. Voting locals is not just a matter of choice but survival; our very existence is under threat; it is imperative to our survival that we withdraw engagement from traditional leaders who turn their role to mainstream politics marketers.

Declining voter participation is a concern to our future, but the solution is no secret. Historically, our communities have been active and highly organised, we need to talk to people’s guts to engage with our project. Local non-profit organisations and philanthropy should facilitate an education programme to bring awareness to the electorate of the benefits of actively voting local parties and breaking away from the yoke of mainstream politics.

Let us address threats of ethnocentrism with honesty, localise politics and ensure fair power representation at all levels of governance. People must be encouraged to stand up to bad laws and for their rights; we will not apologise for standing up against tribalism and associated discrimination.

To conclude, it is insensitive for liberals to intellectualise tribalism. It is wrong that some people from Matabeleland would seek to appease Harare by minimising our feelings of being victims of tribalism; no one should be telling us how to feel or how to express our personal experiences; these ‘spokespersons’ present a greater risk to our society; the downplaying and dismissal of our experiences has been a significant contributor to systemic tribalism. It is time to come out and collectively express our resentment of the arrogant remarks of liberals who talk of how internal division is the birth place of Matabeleland’s problems and ignore mainstream politics’ structural discrimination borne of tribalism.

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