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Open letter to Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF)

22 Feb 2017 at 04:45hrs | Views
22 February 2017.

Open letter to the  leadership of Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF).

Ref: In Defence of Dr Joshua Mqabuko KaNyongolo Nkomo.


Dear Dr Churchill Guduza - Deputy President of MLF and Cde Crispen Nyoni - Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Acting Spokesperson.

Revolutionary greetings comrades!

I hope this letter finds you well comrades. I might say, it has been very difficult for me to write this open letter to yourselves. I have known you for a long time and have high respect for your commitment to the struggle for freedom. While we hold different political views, l still find it refreshing to always engage yourselves on matters that affect our region and our nation.


While l hold the view that , the late Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo was never a saint ,and might have committed political mistakes in his live, l find your characterisation of him shocking.

 In your criticism of the decision by the Mthwakazi Republic Party to participate in the up coming 2018 Zimbabwean election, you seem to blame our late liberation icon for not taking, what you call, political advice from the late Chief Khayisa Ndiweni. You seem to insinuate that, had Dr Nkomo followed the advice of Chief Ndiweni, we would not have found ourselves in this political , economic, social , cultural mess we are in.

In your long article to the MRP, you wrote ;
" It is common and undisputed historical knowledge that Mthwakazi and Mashonaland were separate countries. They existed differently from each other. Never were there elections that included the Mthwakazi peoples to have her bungled together with Mashonaland in the 1920s. The decision was done by the instruments of the colonizer.Understanding of this brief reality is where the leadership of Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo should have begun its formative years. But it did not! Instead it emerged away from the historical context with an alien paradigm shift and focus.

Authoritative information is that, in 1979, the leader of Zapu, Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo was advised by Chief Khayisa Ndiweni to take over the reins of Mthwakazi only, and let Mugabe and his crew to get their side. We have learned that Dr Nkomo refused that offer out rightly and instead accused Chief Khayisa Ndiweni of being a puppet. A puppet, really, when Chief Khayisa Ndiweni had come up with a solution to the Rule by Conquest in Mthwakazi! "

My letter to you does not seek to contest or engage on the construction of African States since the Berlin conference of 1884, which divided Africa into colonies without our input in the construction of new boundaries. It is common cause comrades, that the Berlin conference separated families using rivers as boundaries. Tswana families in Botswana and South Africa (North West) , the Venda families in Beitbridge and Musina, Swati families in Swaziland and South Africa, just to name a few, are victims of the creation of the colonial borders by the imperialists forces and colonialists. A proper study of these boundaries across our continent will show how Africa was partitioned into smaller states to advance the interests of imperialists forces and the resulted family separation.


The destruction of the Ndebele /Mthwakazi Kingdom was as a result of colonialism. While it is correct that , before colonialism , we did not have these boundaries, the construction of our societies was based on  military supremacy and conquest.


The Zulu nation was born through military conquest including the Mthwakazi State itself. I will not bore you with historical background on  the construction of States before and after colonialism. What is of interest to me is how revolutionaries in Africa reacted to this partitioning of Africa , the looting of our resources, slavery , colonialism. You will know comrades, that wars of resistance against the colonisers were fought using spears against the Maxim gun. The colonialists had far superior weapons than us , this led to our defeat. Our defeat did not mean surrender, we had to develop new strategies and tactics in fighting the colonialists. One of the key strategies we developed ,was the mobilisation of the masses under the banner of what is called, revolutionary liberation movements.


The revolutionary liberation movements understood clearly that , only unity of the African people across tribes  , was key in the fight against colonialism and imperialism. Our forefathers acknowledged the partitioning of Africa and the threat it had in uniting black people across the continent in the fight against colonialism. It was thus resolved that, the liberation movement would respect the new colonial boundaries without any changes to them. This basically meant that, in our case, we had to wage the struggle from Zambezi to Limpopo, Ramaquabane to the boundary with Mozambique. This as we all know, constituted what was latter known as Southern Rhodesia.

The OAU at  its founding summit resolved to support the then Southern Rhodesia and other African States that were still under colonial occupation.

On Southern Rhodesia, the OAU in 1963 resolved among others, " ......Reaffirms its support of African nationalists of Southern Rhodesia and solemnly declares that if power in Southern Rhodesia were to be usurped by a racial white minority government, State members of the conference would lend their effective moral and practical support to any legitimate measures which the African nationalists leaders may devise for the purpose of recovering such power and restoring it to the African majority ; the Conference also UNDERTAKES henceforth to concert the efforts of its Members to such members to take such measures as the situation demands against  any State according to recognition to minority government".


Indeed ,Africa supported the liberation movement in the then Southern Rhodesia. The OAU resolution was adopted before Robert Mugabe became leader of ZANU and before the Unilateral  Declaration of Independence by Ian Douglas  Smith on 11 November 1965. What is critical to state comrades is that, when the OAU made this resolution, Dr Nkomo was the leader of the liberation movement.


Dr Nkomo as a leader of a Pan Africanist, Marxist - Leninist liberation movement , ZAPU, understood the importance of unifying the African people around a common agenda for liberating the oppressed African people and the need of building international support in  engaging in the struggle against colonialism.


Comrades, in your article  to MRP, you argue that Dr Nkomo did not take advice from Chief Khayisa Ndiweni in 1979 at the Lancaster House talks in London. Unfortunately, you elected to tell us about the advice to Dr Nkomo by Chief Ndiweni without telling is who Chief Ndiweni was or the role he played (if any) in liberating black people from the yoke of colonialism.



It should be noted that , Chief Khayisa Ndiweni was the Deputy President of Zimbabwe United Peoples Organisation( ZUPO) whose President was Chief Jeremiah Chirau. This party was established in 1976.



 The Zimbabwe United Peoples Organisation (ZUPO) advocated for a peaceful and negotiated transition from white minority rule to black majority rule. It further advocated for an increase in power to the traditional Chiefs , removal of racial discrimination and opposed the nationalisation of the industries ( means of production).

In other words, if the white minority regime granted powers to the Chiefs without changing the material conditions of the working class and the poor, Chief Ndiweni was going to be a happy man. Chief Ndiweni also saved in the colonial parliament ,occupying benches which were reserved for black people who agreed to be co-opted into the colonial system.

In 1978, Chief Ndiweni left ZUPO to form United National Federal Party (UNFP).

 In April 1979, Chief Ndiweni's party contested the Zimbabwe Rhodesia elections.The internal settlement was opposed by the liberation movements and the entire progressive forces across the globe. In those elections, Chief Ndiweni's party  won 9 seats , while the United African National Congress (UANC) of Bishop Abel Muzorewa won 51 seats, Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) of Rev Ndabaningi Sithole won 12 seats and the Rhodesian Front (RF) of Ian Smith  won 28 seats reserved for whites.

You will know comrades that , any  black person who participated in the 1979 elections was betraying the struggle for independence. After the Lancaster House agreement, Chief Ndiweni's party participated in the 1980 elections and got zero seats.


 Surely what advice would Dr Nkomo , the leader of a Pan Africanist , Marxist - Leninist liberation movement would have taken from Chief Ndiweni, a man who only fought for the increase of the Chiefs perks by the white  minority regime not the liberation of black people? The truth is, Dr Nkomo was a victim of imperialists forces who supported ZANU in 1980.

 I have already given evidence on how ZANU was created by the imperialists in 1963 and how Britain helped Mugabe to win elections in 1980, in my open letter to President Mugabe dated 15 February 2017.

 I will not repeat that in your letter comrades, only to say, Chief Ndiweni did not understand the nature of our liberation struggle and the class character of ZAPU as a revolutionary liberation movement.


We know comrades that, Chief Ndiweni was not the only traditional leader who collaborated with our colonisers. During apartheid in South Africa, the regime created homelands to confine black people in their tribal land as a means of  defeating black unity and black consciousness.  


Historically,  the white minority regime used traditional leaders to divide the people. This is the strategy that the Mugabe regime has perfected over the years. Our traditional leaders are used as political commissars by ZANU (PF). They are paid allowances, compete with elected ward councillors in doing community work.

 In wards where ZANU (PF) lost elections, the regime uses the Chiefs to advance its agenda. Food  , farm inputs distribution and other developmental projects are channeled through a local Chief. This programme is planned and supervised by the office of the district administrator which falls under the Ministry of Local government . The traditional leadership in Zimbabwe has been coopted into the ZANU(PF) commissariat department as was the case during the white minority rule.



It might help comrades to understand why the political project of Chief Ndiweni failed ,by drawing parallels with that of Prince Mangosuthi Buthelezi of South Africa.


As you will know comrades, Prince Buthelezi is the traditional Prime Minister of the Zulu nation. He used Zulu nationalism to rally the Zulus behind his political project. He took advantage, by becoming a key advisor to  his then young nephew who was installed as the Zulu King at the age of 23 years of age in December 6 1971, His Majesty the Zulu King.


He used his family ties to the Zulu King to his advantage and mobilised the entire Zulu speaking around his political project , something that Chief Ndiweni did not have access to .When the Kingdom of King Lobengula fell in 1893, the Khumalo clan  did not  install his successor up to this day. This meant that, as a paramount Chief, Chief Ndiweni did not have the kind of access to the Ndebele /Mthwakazi people as was Prince Buthelezi within the Zulu nation.


While Chief Buthelezi joined the ANC as a young man, a liberation movement led by  Chief Luthuli at the time, Chief Ndiweni never joined ZAPU to offer support to the leadership of Dr Nkomo. When Prince Buthelezi founded Inkatha as a cultural organisation in 1975, Chief Ndiweni chose to be a Deputy President to Chief Chirau.



By the time Prince Buthelezi transformed his Inkatha to a political movement, he had built political base within the Zulu nation, he had so much influence in the governing of South Africa post 1994.


The introduction of Provincial Governments in South Africa was a political compromise to get the IFP to participate in the 1994 elections. You will recall that, the IFP pushed for federalism while the ANC was opposed to it. The compromise was the creation of the provinces as we know them today. Prince Buthelezi , whether one agrees with him or not, managed to create his own political space and he is still a member of the South African democratic parliament, something that Chief Ndiweni did not achieve. Why then do you blame Dr Nkomo for the political misfortunes of Chief Ndiweni?


In your article to MRP, you question why MRP is proposing a Republic as opposed to a Kingdom , in the process calling them , Zimbabwe Republic Party.

I do not elect to speak on behalf of the MRP since am not their member and l do not believe in their politics, my interest  is on the insistence of the restoration of a Kingdom.

The two remaining Kingdoms in the SADC region , Swaziland and Lesotho , are known for political oppression (with respect to Swaziland) , instability, corruption and all the ills you can think of. The assumption to believe that, the defeat of what you call shonalism will result in the building of a better society, is a myth to say the least. If Kingdoms were the way to go,Swaziland and Lesotho would be an inspiration to all of us. The biggest challenge we have , is the looting of our wealth by the greedy thieves in Harare.

It does not matter if one is Mnangagwa or Obert Mpofu. They are the looters and they must be defeated together with their fascist regime ZANU (PF).

The restoration of Mthwakazi does not mean , wealth will be fairly distributed amongst the working class and the poor. It is only when the working class control the decisive means of production for to drive back the frontiers of  poverty in our society.


I have had the misfortune of assisting victims of xenophobia attacks in South Africa ,both Ndebele  and Shona speaking. In 2008, we assisted in the repatriation of the bodies of the victims of xenophobia attacks ,some who came from my own home district in Umzingwane (Nswazi village).

Xenophobia does not discriminate in terms of ethnicity, it attacks everyone who is said to be a foreign national in South Africa. As l write to you, we are getting xenophobia attacks threats in Mamelodi, Deepsloot and in other areas. When we poor people compete for resources in communities, we elect not to confront the capitalist nature of our society but blame other poor Africans for taking other peoples jobs.


 What we need comrades, though l know you will not agree with me, is to preserve the political legacy Dr Joshua Nkomo, of uniting black people against imperialism and defeating the colonial legacy which still exist in our society. We must fight the fascist regime in Harare as led by Robert Mugabe and his political thugs, only then can we begin to ask ourselves this critical question; how do we distribute wealth to everyone? I believe in the creation of a Socialist Zimbabwe while you believe in the Restoration agenda. We can continue to engage than seeking to undermine the revolutionary role played by Umdala Wethu during the struggle against colonialism and imperialism.

Let us remember the words of Steve Biko, when he said ,""Black Consciousness is in essence the realization by the black man of the need to rally together with his brothers around the cause of their oppression."



Yours Comradely

Cde Ngqabutho Nicholas Mabhena
A political activist  and a student of Marxism and Leninism.

Source - Byo24News
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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