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Dangers of Ndebele and Shona radicalism and extremism in Zimbabwe

17 Oct 2018 at 09:34hrs | Views
After reading my article published by published on the 15th of October 2018 titled "Lobengula was King of both Matebeleland and Mashonaland" a Mr Ndlovu a Zimbabwean living in SA gave me a phone call. What I learnt from Ndlovu is that both Ndebele and Shona radicals and extremists were a danger to unity in Zimbabwe.

A radical according to an online definition is a person who advocates thorough or complete political or social reform; a member of a political party pursuing such aims. While on the other hand, an extremist is a person who holds extreme political or religious views, especially one who advocates illegal, violent extreme action.

In Zimbabwe, we are facing challenges from Ndebele and Shona extremists groups. I wouldn't want to call these groups radical because there is nothing wrong with radicalism as long as change management principles are applied. Zimbabwe's unity and stability is threatened by small groups of people who are not tolerant of other tribes.

We witnessed or read about the Shona gukurahundists who went to the extremes and stereotyped every Ndebele as a dissident and killed many innocent civilians in the 80s. However, I must point it out that not all Shonas are gukurahundists but it was only a small group called 5th Brigade, which went to the extremes - got excited and thought Zimbabwe will be peaceful minus all Ndebeles.

Today we are witnessing another extremists group calling itself MRP based in Matebeleland regions. Not all Ndebeles sympathise with this extremist group, but if this group is not checked another genocide is around the corner. They have threatened a civil war if their demands for dividing Zimbabwe into two is not considered. The MRP hates Shona people. They envision a state with no Shonas there. A state which is anti-Shona yet we know Lobengula included Shonas in his Kingdom, which means we have a lot of Shonas today who were born and raised in Matebeleland. Shona teachers are begin harassed in Schools by MRP. Do you still remember the Pick n Pay incident?

According to Rita Baumer (2015) tribalism is the act of judging and condemning someone solely because they are from a certain tribe or social group. According to Ndebele extremists, all Shonas are rat eaters while all Ndebele women are loose and promiscuous according to Shona extremists. Tribal extremists stereotype people on tribal lines which is actually wrong.

Stereotyping, judging and condemning people of other tribes results in hatred, civil wars and genocides such as that of Rwanda and gukurahundi of Zimbabwe.

Rita Baumer (2015) lists some of the disadvantages of tribalism. She says tribalism determines whether deals go through or burn to the ground. Matebeleland extremists groups want only people from Matebeleland to be employed in Matebeleland the same with Mashonaland extremists groups. This idea sounds noble but at the end, you lock out better suited and more experienced individuals who could have a better fit for a company. Tribalism is, therefore, a hindrance to development.

When a society majors on tribalism, it spends much of its time majoring on the minors. We have heard about the 1989 Shona grand plan but who have ever seen the original 1979 Shona grand plan document? I have been searching for this document but I have never seen it. Its just petty theories repeated again and again yet it's a lie. The issue of Shona teachers in Matebeleland is petty because teachers are experts who must work anywhere in the world. There are a lot of Zimbabwean teachers teaching in Namibia, and they are loved much here. The issue of Ndebele spellings is a petty issue but extremists make it a very big issue.

The website says tribalism is the beginning of our downfall, the beginning of our hatred for one another. Indeed it is the Genesis of all sorts of corruption you can imagine. Nepotism, tribalism, discrimination and unjustified practices can all be birthed once we cherish our tribe over state.

I can't imagine a political party formed solely for the hatred of Shona speaking people. A party formed by people who feel they can't share the same country boundary with a people of a particular tribe? What's the difference between MRP and 5th Brigade?

I think Zimbabwe must be free from aimless radicalism and tribal extremists like gukurahundists and MRP of today. I would like to end by quoting Consolate Akinyi's words when she said "Finally, we must encourage unity in diversity. The strength of every nation is on how United people are. Our diversity must not be used as a tool to bring about adversities in a country."

Etiwel Mutero is an archivist and a political commentator

Source - Etiwel Mutero
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