Growth of the Matabeleland political movement also referred simply as ‘the movement’ is arguably victim to Matabele conformity. It is a largely held view of the present time that the movement is experiencing a series of pushbacks from Matabele nationals. There are many reasons for these costly pushbacks, but fear of the repercussions of upsetting mainstream politics is the major factor; although there is awareness and resentment of the marginalisation of our people by the exclusive, oppressive Zimbabwean system in place, the courage to set up direct challenge is simply not there.
Understanding and rising to the political challenges of our time will build a better foundation for the next generation. Politics of the independent Zimbabwe is built exclusively on Shona creed, and it does not serve the needs of the Matabeleland constituency. The movement is taking steps to build a political model that serves Matabeleland needs but more needs to be done. Real progress will demand that the movement deviates from the norm – mainstream politics. We need courageous, skilful men and women to seize the opportunity to change things for the better.
Far from rejecting what the Matabeleland movement stands for, the public is held back by real and imagined risks of rejecting mainstream politics. Gukurahundi atrocities form a disarming reference point for people of Matabeleland, and Shona people are not afraid to remind them; the public is afraid to stand out and be seen opposing mainstream politics. There is consensus that out of fear of reprisals the average person in Matabeleland has been trying to adapt to mainstream politics in Zimbabwe in the illusion of comfort and safety.
We appreciate that to the threatened and fearful average voter with vivid memories of Gukurahundi atrocities adapting to the mainstream politics is a safe option and trying to adapt mainstream politics to our nation represents lunacy, but it must be reaffirmed to our people that mainstream politics in Zimbabwe holds no hope and progress will only come from deviating from the norm.
We have reached a stage where opinionated social media political declarations need to be matched with facts on the ground, and where the movement’s performance needs to be objectively reviewed to inform the future of our political operations. How effective is the movement’s performance and what changes are required for progress? What counts as progress and how do we objectively measure that?
To grow, the movement must welcome change and challenge to avoid establishing a controlling political environment and developing a costly sense of comfort and security; we need to push ourselves and strengthen intelligence within the movement, and that can only be attained through open debate.
Now what we need is to separate opinion from fact so that we can measure the effectiveness of the movement and action in our space. Is the Matabeleland political movement argument a valid one and is the movement progressing?
Change and progress are rarely gifts from above but rewards of struggles from down under. We need brave men and women to push our boundaries beyond the ordinary; this generation must be that “extra” in “extraordinary”. And that means a deliberate deviation from mainstream politics in Zimbabwe which is Shona creed turned into law. This kind of politics must be the past, not the future.
Doing politics on one’s knees is not a good sign, and it is never our intention to fight for scraps; our ambition is to rule ourselves. We must not be seen to be begging for a spot within mainstream politics; allocated roles within mainstream politics are a smokescreen responsibility for the longevity of our subordination to Harare norms and values. Opposition within mainstream politics is not the right vehicle to Matabeleland freedom because it is an argument about power not of change of political fundamentals.
We need to build a progressive movement that will protect the interests of our people, protect liberty and freedoms for this and generations to come from unwanted policies, and that cannot happen within the present mainstream politics in Zimbabwe.
Fixing mainstream Zimbabwe politics is not in the movement’s agenda and never will because there is no benefit to such action, and if attempted, it will fail, and even more important, it does not represent progress. We need to develop new models that make mainstream politics in Zimbabwe obsolete in Matabeleland. As such, progress in the movement would be measured by how irrelevant mainstream politics becomes in Matabeleland.
The only genuine pathway to the future we want for all who call Matabeleland home and all our visitors will be a Matabeleland movement. The movement must offer a framework to generate economic growth, achieve social justice, exercise environmental stewardship and strengthen governance. We reject mainstream politics in Zimbabwe for its design to marginalise and oppress Matabeleland and its people; we argue that mainstream politics has designated Matabeleland a threat that needs to be managed not empowered. The core argument between major parties in the mainstream politics is not change to politics in the country but access to power, the stewardship of what is essentially Shona creed turned into law.