The Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC Alliance is nowhere near a solution for Mthwakazi’s political problems; it is another organised deceit, a repugnant, filthy and grossly hypocritical institution whose only focus is replacing ZANU PF in government; the alliance is nothing but a continuation of a dictatorial political regime that exclusively protects the majority ethnic Shona population while alienating ethnic minorities and Mthwakazi. Continue reading
We recognise that when it comes to Matabeleland, the Zimbabwean state operates in a parallel universe; a universe whose political processes and supporting institutions operate as though Matabeleland did not exist. Harare bypasses Bulawayo as it nonchalantly operates a political system of containment and management of Matabeleland, and not inclusion.
Thanks to the first-past-the-first (FPTP) voting system, we remain far removed from national decisions impacting our lives; we recognise too that we are disproportionately affected by decisions made in Harare. Things cannot continue as they have since April 1980; Zimbabwe’s government system must change; the re-evaluation of the political policies, processes and institutions is long overdue.
Without demonstrable genuine political, systemic, institutional, and operational changes that address power sharing inequalities in Zimbabwe, it is impossible to fathom out a voluntary continuation of the Mashonaland/ Matabeleland union. A shift in the power balance and distribution between the traditional nations of Mashonaland and Matabeleland is no longer just a choice but the only choice.
None of us is born a slave and institutions place chains on us, a baby in Mashonaland is no less or more valuable than a baby born this minute in Matabeleland yet modern Zimbabwe has taught us exactly that. We, the People of Matabeleland, must say enough is enough! We are born free and, are not obligated to perpetuate the state of enslavement imposed upon us by Zimbabwean Mashonaland biased systems and institutions. We have the intellectual ability to step out of the Zimbabwe created and imposed inequality, discrimination, unhappiness and dependency.
Matabeleland needs real autonomy over decisions impacting its people, and if that cannot happen for lack of interest from Harare, a separation of the two traditional nations seems a reasonable and natural conclusion to an otherwise forced, neglectful and abusive marriage. We are however, not blind to the fact that territorial integrity and autonomy is nothing in the absence of freedom and liberty.
This brings us to the big question: What should Matabeleland freedom mean? My perception of freedom is the power to live as I wish yet recognising my responsibilities to society. Clearly, freedom comes with responsibility; we need to understand the responsibilities that come with our freedom to retain our integrity among humanity. Hence, it must not be lost to us that our individual freedoms and liberties are bound together with those of our neighbours and community – we have a duty not only to ourselves but to the whole nation and the world.
We are wary of human fragility especially under stress; the tendency to be driven by nature and instinct and, not law in response to real and/ or perceived injustice, particularly tribalism cannot be ignored. For the benefit of the next generation, we need to protect Matabeleland from toxic nationalism while promoting patriotism. Let us guard against tribalism. Tribalists have no geographic space, they are not confined to specific last names; there are narrow-minded people everywhere.
The cycle of tribalism and hatred will not set anyone free; if unchallenged, we will all be perpetual victims of it. When we all commit to fighting discrimination in all its forms, the horrors of tribally-inspired violence will be part of our history not our present. I denounce tribalism out of inner strength, not weakness, not out of appeasement of any community; standing against discrimination when you are the victim of it yourself is not for the lame but the brave.
Freedom for Matabeleland must be drawn from the concept, ‘all people are created equal’ and mean and lead to equality, equal access to opportunity through merit and not patronage nor tribe nor skin colour nor sex, etc. Power needs to be shared equally in Zimbabwe; a complete power shift is no longer an option but a necessity if the Matabeleland/ Mashonaland union is to be preserved. We need a system and institutions that will constantly call the government to account; Matabeleland is an equal partner and not a surrogate for Mashonaland within Zimbabwe.
We are tired of the Zimbabwean journey of segregation; whether built on racial or tribal bricks, barriers to access to opportunity remain barriers. Abuse is abuse whether committed by Harare or Salisbury. Tribalism is not better than racism; being segregated by a black Zimbabwean government on the basis of one’s ethnicity is no lesser evil or less embarrassing and no less disempowering as being segregated by the Rhodesian government based on one’s skin colour. Continue reading
Gukurahundi illustrates the consequences of unchecked power, prejudice, tribalism and stereotypes; for Matabeleland, it calls out for political reforms and points at the need for confronting political indifference and inaction. Matabeleland has to concede that silence as a negotiation tool has not only failed to chip away at the overbearing authority of Harare but has not empowered the region and its people. Continue reading
Zimbabwean independence has not lived up to the best intentions of the ’60s and ’70s liberation struggle. The ‘independence’ has struggled to keep to the promise of liberty and equality for all; Matabeleland has suffered the brunt of ZANU PF’s tyranny. Harare continues to actively ignore the rights of non-ethnic Shona nationals; everything Mthwakazi has been consigned to the periphery of Zimbabwe’s socio-political space. Continue reading
We are witnesses of the 35 years of Zimbabwe’s tyranny, brutality and abuse of territorial and political independence. Matabeleland is further from independence today than it was before 1980. To be free is not merely a reference to being rid of chains but having the freedom to be ourselves and freely enhancing the freedoms of others. Continue reading
My starting point is to proudly reiterate the fact that Mthwakazi is a diverse socio-cultural space. For that reason we must not aspire to political systems that seek to build a singular national identity; the only progressive political system and one we should all aspire to will be one that recognises, accepts, respects, celebrates diversity and jealously guards against compromising that reality. Continue reading