Trying to muzzle Gukurahundi victims’ voices is inhumane

Photo courtesy: Nkululeko Sibanda via The Independent. Two Gukurahundi victims, a Tsholotsho couple, exhumed in 2019
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Public influence on policy shows no sign of growing

Core to the functional feature of a political system is who runs things or rather who does the system permit to run things because this determines the shape, capability and responsiveness, that is, the ability of institutions to facilitate desired actions in a timely manner. The consistent feature of the four decades of independent Zimbabwe politics has been its deprivation and marginalisation of Matabeleland communities of power and a homely environment that with a bit of effort the country could make possible. This is a result of the state actively trying to manage rather than empower Matabeleland, and of legislatures becoming less reflective of popular opinion because of the inherent corruption and fear in politics.

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Use silence where it is required and shout where shouting is most relevant

Diepsloot residents demonstrate outside the Police Station against high crime rate in the area allegedly caused by foreign nations before being addressed by the minister of Police, Bheki Cele, 5 April 2022. Picture courtesy: Nigel Sibanda via The Citizen
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The error of surrendering your power because you do not know you have it

If we are to predict the future, we must be prepared to have the power to shape the future. The good thing is that we all have power to transform the political landscape of Matabeleland, the bad thing is not everyone knows they have got it. To use power effectively we first have to know we have it. People must appreciate power is not locked away in state institutions, it is stored in each one of us, and it is only our silence that strengthens authorities to confidently take it away and lock us out via various pieces of legislation that sets up conditions on how power should be used by citizens, at the end of it what we actually see is how restricted access to power is to the ordinary man and woman.

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Matabeleland’s conundrum over Zimbabwe independence celebrations

Image credit: BBC. The remains of Julius Mvulo Nyathi – killed in 1984 at the age of 52.

We shall not dignify mediocrity; we refuse to participate in political hypocrisy. Instead of celebrating the 18th of April this year, we will heed the lessons of the failure of Zimbabwe’s independence. We shall collectively commemorate the loss of independence for our people, degradation of human decency, violation and loss of rights and individual liberties for ethnic minorities. We shall not debase ourselves and join a wealthy elite celebrate state capture. It would be self-deprecating to hold a celebratory party with a group of people who retain the philosophy that holds one tribe superior and others inferior.

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A call for Matabeleland citizens to fight despotism

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.

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Pay attention to who your leaders idolise

You can cut through the tension in Matabeleland’s political environment. What we are facing is the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate political development and the people’s ever-growing need for a better life. This is a critical stage in our political development and we need to find a way to celebrate our diversity and debate our differences without fracturing our communities.

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Gukurahundi: who benefits from ‘moving on’?

Justice for victims of the Gukurahundi atrocities is Matabeleland’s goal, escaping accountability for the Gukurahundi genocide is ZANU PF’s dream. To effectively address the Gukurahundi atrocities, Zimbabwean society needs to come together to restore humanity against the background of ZANU PF sponsored dehumanisation. For years the party has maintained a loosened relationship with, and separated itself from, law and justice. The solution lies in Mashonaland and ethnic Shona people, when ethnic Shona people (Zimbabwe’s largest population group) unaffected by the Gukurahundi atrocities stop making excuses for the murders and are instead as outraged as ethnic minorities who are affected, justice will begin to be served.

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The Matabeleland problem of ethnic Shona elite revanchists

Gaining and asserting ethnic Shona social, economic and political dominance in Matabeleland remains central to ZANU PF’s existence. It is true that regaining historically lost assets – physical territory, social, economic and political authority in what is Matabeleland today is ZANU revanchists’ project; from its inception in 1963, the party set itself the task of reclaiming territory and whatever wealth they believe their ancestors lost during the late 19th Century raids by King Mzilikazi.

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