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'Zimbabwe is unlikely to have a Ndebele President,' says CCC Spokesperson

by Staff reporter
29 Oct 2023 at 15:07hrs | Views
Promise Mkwananzi, the spokesperson of the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), asserted that the focus on tribalism diminishes the likelihood of having a Ndebele President. He made these remarks in response to Sengezo Tshabangu, the interim Secretary-General of the CCC party. Tshabangu had expressed his mission to ensure that Bulawayo, a city where Ndebele is predominantly spoken, is represented in government by individuals who were born and raised in the city.

Commenting on the same issue, Zimbabwe's former Tourism Minister, Dr. Walter Mzembi, attributed the divisions to the split of ZANU and ZAPU. He stated that Zimbabwean politics got off to a rocky start when these nationalist groups and liberation movements decided to separate rather than form the Patriotic Front in 1980. He described this period as a missed opportunity to unite the nation from the outset of independence, leading to tribal divisions.

Mzembi said, "The starting point was the leadership of the PF and the Government. The decision was made tribally through a demerger, with ethnic demographics being reflected in the 1980 results: Ndebeles for Zapu (20 seats) and Shonas for Zanu (57 seats), with 20 reserved white seats and 3 for Bishop Muzorewa's UANC. It was a tribal struggle that continues to affect us to this day. A cosmetic merger in 1987 (Unity Accord) followed a very dark chapter in our country's history, Gukurahundi. The Unity Accord itself was more about conquest and restitution for the political actors of the time; the people felt betrayed and sought alternative political homes, first in the MDC, and now CCC. Meanwhile, the shaky Unity Accord continues to hold for no one but the remnants. I provide this context in the context of Tshabangu's recalls, in which he seeks to justify his actions as a modern-day Judas Iscariot. Whoever is handling him is also employing divisive tactics, opening the door to tribal and ethnic politics in this region, as seen in his continuous references to "people from Masvingo imposed in Bulawayo" narrative. Matebeleland, not to mention Zimbabwe, is searching for a leader like "Joshua Nkomo," who could have been the First Prime Minister of Zimbabwe without tribal politics. He built a Nationalist Party where tribal politics were difficult to discuss due to deliberate and careful ethnic balancing in deployments and recruitments."

Mkwananzi responded to Mzembi's comments by stating that Bulawayo has evolved into a metropolitan city and should not operate based on tribal divisions.

He added, "In Harare, I always feel that, if someone is skilled at what they do, regardless of where they come from, as long as they are socialized in Harare, speak the language proficiently, there shouldn't be any issues regarding their tribe or tribal history. Here is a group of people led by Sengezo Tshabangu who even delve into an individual's history to disqualify them based on tribe. Yet, paradoxically, a tribal pursuit further reduces the chances of having a Ndebele President. I believe that the wise course of action is to de-tribalize politics and ensure that every citizen has an equal opportunity to attain the highest office in the land, irrespective of their tribe, gender, and so on."

Mkwananzi claims that many elected officials in Bulawayo have strong roots in the city's culture, having adopted its lifestyle and supporting local teams like Highlanders. He explained that this deep connection to the community has developed through factors such as intermarriages and migration. Mkwananzi questioned why someone who fully embraces the culture and language should be excluded from politics based on their surname. He pointed out that Bulawayo's demographics show a diverse population, and tribalizing politics could lead to unintended consequences.

Mkwananzi proposed a diplomatic approach, emphasizing that leaders chosen by the people should be integrated into their communities, and tribal conflicts should be defused. He called for the rejection of tribal connotations in modern politics and the promotion of reconciliation, unity, forgiveness, and restorative justice.

Source - pindula