Functional and competent political systems do not come by accident but conscientious planning. We must choose our counsel and companions wisely; let us not, out of desperation, seek the counsel of fools.
The reservations of some pro-Mthwakazi parties over the benefits of participating in elections can best be understood from the fact Zimbabwe has been conducting elections since 1980 yet it is still not democratic. During the same period, Matabeles have been participating in elections but they are no less oppressed today than they were during the colonial regime.
Political prudence comes in appreciating that the right thing to do and the hard thing to do are often the same. What is right for our politics is to build trust and confidence, and that would require that we take accountability more serious. We therefore welcome a critique of ZAPU’s ideological position and its impact in Matabeleland by leading pro-Mthwakazi members.
No one denies the complexity of our political situation, but that cannot be allowed to overwhelm us. We must, without losing the material value of the situation, simplify it sufficiently enough for the public to appreciate where Mthwakazi stands politically. Only when we start to appreciate the complexity of Mthwakazi’s challenge, will we understand there can never be one solution.
It will not be what we do once in a while that will shape our politics. Rather, it is what we do consistently. Political parties must build a culture of consistency into their system and learn to ignore interesting but trivial sideshows that are inconsistent with their priorities.
A seemingly short life characterised with glorious action, and filled with noble risks is by all intents worth more than double a long but selfish life lived in relative safety avoiding risks and without honour. When we choose not to participate in politics we give free rein to hypocrites and panderers.