Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Columnist

The counter-productivity of emotion: The Mthwakazi Question - Mthwakazi Forum with Mzelikahle

19 Jan 2018 at 10:25hrs | Views
One can easily discern and observe expression of emotion when ever the Mthwakazi question is discussed. Matters like the genocide of Gukurawundi (Umbhuqazwe) are right at the centre of the expression of this emotion. For the record, before discussing this matter let me underscore my opinion, Gukurawundi (Umbhuqazwe) was indeed a genocide and must be condemned for what it is. My discussion here must not be construed to imply a reduction of the weight the Gukurawundi (Umbhuqazwe) genocide carries. The discussion here seeks to analyse and recommend the best approach to nation building. The question of concern in this article is: Are emotions and emotional expressions productive as a driving force in regard to resolving critical matters? Let us analyse this.

The human nature is such that we have emotions, and attachment. For the most part this attachment can be used for the good and development of a nation. The call to patriotism, for example, is a call unto emotional attachment to nationalism. Is emotion always positive as a driving force? To observe the impact of emotions, one must realise that the most important factor in human development is the leadership of a society. A society is capable of functioning successfully and profitably with just an informed and well meaning leadership even if the rest of society may be ignorant. In fact, this is the most common structure of young families where the father and mother are informed and well-meaning, and the children are ignorant in varying degrees. Over time the children become informed and they soon establish their own homes. With this observation in mind, it can intuitively be deduced that a society becomes critically impaired owing to only two factors. First, if the leadership of the society is not well-informed, and second if the leadership is not well-meaning. With regards to Mthwakazi, I am confident that both these two factors do not obtain, therefore the Mthwakazi society is saved from critical impairment.

Next, a society is progressive and developmental if two more elements of leadership are met; these are: strategical thought and tactful discharge of strategy. Herein lies the crude reality that draws a line between failure and victory. By definition victory is simply the attainment of planned objectives at an acceptable cost. On the other hand failure is the inability to attain the desired outcome regardless of cost. The world we operate in is presented to us as a balancing scale of intention (objectives) versus cost (in resources or otherwise). At some point, emotions can be categorised as a resource, and yet at other times they are a cost. The determination of which side of the sliding scale to place emotions can be considered as an art in social leadership. In general though, the rule of thumb is that emotions can be harvested for positive outcomes if they are expressed by the masses while the leadership is clear of purpose. At this point, the leadership would deploy tactical moves and use the emotions of the masses as justification. Both the masses and the leadership would here be satisfied. The flip side of this rule of thumb is when both the masses and the leadership are emotional. At this opposite point, clarity of judgement, particularly for the leadership would be dull, hence the commission of silly errors. The obvious excuse after the commission of silly errors is usually vocalised as "Ah, it was in the heat of the moment".

Coming back to the Mthwakazi matter. It is clear that the Gukurawundi (Umbhuqazwe) matter is an emotional issue. I implore the leadership of all Mthwakazi groups and organisations to acknowledge the extent and gravity of this genocide, however not to be emotionally engulfed by it. I encourage all these groups to correctly appropriate the value that could be attained from this matter. It is a fact that the Zimbabwean government, the player that committed this genocide, intends to preside over the resolution of the matter. For example, the government would want to determine the meetings for which the dialogue on Gukurawundi (Umbhuqazwe) would take place. Further, the government would want to play the arbitrator between the victims and some unspecified perpetrator. Likely, some appeasement programme would be outlined. And finally, something for the appeasement would be done, for example a statue in Bhalagwe. You see, at this point the government would have kept calm, had clarity of purpose, and tactifully outsmarted all its contenders.

If Mthwakazi organisations are not engulfed by emotions, then it is time to make coherent demands that advance the Mthwakazi cause. For example, the first point of contention would obviously be that the perpetrator can not be the arbitrator. The fact that the Zimbabwean government was involved in the commission of this genocide, makes it a perpetrator by consent, proxy or otherwise; and this fact must be used to advance the idea that it can not be the judge on the matter. Mthwakazi organisations must then come up with a proposal that only the afflicted can judge the extent of the damage and how much effort is required in arbitration. What does this mean? This means that Midlands and Matabeleland need a platform where they will discuss this matter without infringement, for as long as the process shall be peaceful. This platform would obviously need to have representatives of different communities from many different parts of Midlands and Matabeleland. This platform shall have to be called to session, and at given times it shall adjourn from sessions. Further, by realising that this genocide was not only physical and that it weighs heavily in the psychology of all Mthwakazians, the aforementioned platform shall have to be maintained for a minimum of a hundred years, or in perpetuity. The logic of perpetual existence of the said platform is simply to make sure that it would work to avoid another Gukurawundi (Umbhuqazwe) or anything of such resemblance. Once it has been understood that Mthwakazi needs a platform to discuss its problems, with Gukurawundi (Umbhuqazwe) as one of them, allow me to propose a name for such a platform. I would call it the Mthwakazi Union Assembly. Anyone conversant with the structure of the Kingdom that Mzilikazi established, would be quick to realise that this platform is a resemblance of the lower house of the Mthwakazi parliament called Umphakathi. If the upper house (Ezinkulu) is still desired, I contend that it will grow out of this platform.

I contend, with emotions reigned in, it is obvious that any dialogue presided by the Zimbabwe government in regard to this genocide would only but produce an insulting arrangement similar to the 1987 Unity Accord. It must be clear to anyone worth the adjective analyst that the 1987 Unity Accord was and still is a facade that was meant to conceal the uncomfortable truth of a genocide. Interestingly, the former president is on record describing that period as "a moment of madness", implying that the Unity Accord was a direct product of the "momentary" madness. Whether that madness was indeed momentary or permanent is a subject of discussion for another day, given that relics from the "moment of madness" are still with us today. However, it must consequently be clear to anyone that no product of "momentary" madness can be trusted as a solution. For that reason, the Unity Accord was a "moment of madness" document that must be rejected. 

I extend my argument that if the Zimbabwe government insists on being the arbitrator over the Gukurawundi (Umbhuqazwe) genocide dialogue then the "moment of madness" has been extended for a lifetime. We would be forced to face the grim reality that this has been a lifetime of madness. In any case, the position that all groups interested in this dialogue must take is that only the wounded can account for his pains and losses. By recognition of this fact, a platform has to be set up where Mthwakazian representatives must convene without fear to deliberate on the genocide and its after effects. I make this recommendation because it is the only feasible solution to the problem. If emotions are reigned in by players from both sides of the isle, one will quickly realise that the current dialogue is unlikely to produce anything noteworthy to a Mthwakazian, because the solution would once again be dictated by the powers that be.

Here are some of the advantages obtainable by the establishment of the Mthwakazi Union Assembly. 1. The true views and aspirations of the generality of Mthwakazians will genuinely be taken on board by this Assembly.

2. This Assembly will show civility in Mthwakazi, as most important matters shall be resolved constitutionally and without need to resort to violence.

3. As part of mapping the way forward in affected areas, the Zambezi Water Project shall finally be addressed because it is the most obvious solution to water problems in Mthwakazi.

4. Economic projects and programmes could be handled by this Assembly thereby reducing responsibility and burden of provision on the shoulders of the government.

5. Plurality of methodologies would be espoused in Zimbabwe and therefore create a tolerant society.

6. A major part of the Mthwakazi question would have thus been answered, meaning Zimbabwe would have reduced by a big margin any possibility of destabilisation of peace.

7. The Zimbabwean economy would improve greatly. This is because there will be many more players adding to the national fiscus. The logic is that, due to the bottlenecked environment, Mthwakazi has not been fully participating in the Zimbabwean economy, therefore the establishment of this Assembly would unlock the gates of participation and the economy would boom.

All these developmental arguments can only be harnessed if the leadership of the varied Mthwakazi groups would reign in emotions associated with certain discussions, and begin to use logical, rational and tactical moves. A very good example would be to make efforts towards uniting the many different and varying small groups into one coherent group. This would produce uniformity of thought processes. Let me hasten to say that unification does not equal dissolution of other groups, NO! It simply means that all these groups need a common point where they converge such that a common decision would bind all groups.

On the other side of the coin, a person reading this article without background of the Mthwakazi question would surely be alarmed. Do they now want a parliament in Bulawayo? Are they crazy? Let me quickly put your fears to rest. Yes, a parliament somewhere in Mthwakazi is indeed something that must come to be. This is not to fuel your fears, rather this is to dispel the very fears. The people in Mthwakazi shall continue to be unsettled until they have a point of convergence where they shall be able to make their decisions. This does not necessarily mean breaking up Zimbabwe, NO! If one considers the devolution ideas that were included in the 2013 Constitution, one would realise that the ideas were pointing to decision making powers being cascaded to lower levels of government. Devolution is not sufficent for the Mthwakazi case, and that is a fact. An Assembly, well parliament of sorts if you like, somewhere in Mthwakazi would be the best way to solve all these marginalisation issues that have dogged the Zimbabwean economic dialogue. If my fellow countrymen from the east of the country would also reign in their emotions, they would realise that it is to the benefit of Zimbabwe to establish this Assembly somewhere in Mthwakazi.

In conclusion, I call for actors on both sides of the isle to reign in their emotions and realise the benefit of dialogue. In order to make the gains that have been made thus far, by the dialogue on the 1980s genocide permanent, a perpetual unifying platform in a democratic form must be established somewhere in Mthwakazi. This platform shall deal with old matters and bring reliable solutions to effect, and also deal with the psychological effects of the genocide that tend to stay longer. Finally this platform would deal with inclusion of affected areas into the economic matrix of the country. Going forward, this Assembly would be a pillar for both the stability of the country and its economic development.

Kernan Mzelikahle is an apolitical analyst, and may be contacted by cellphone on 0775195334, or by email on, twitter handle is @Mzelikahle. This article and others like it may be found on Mthwakazi Forum website: sit

Source - Kernan Mzelikahle
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.