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Is secession the only thing that could free Matabeleland?

15 Apr 2021 at 07:37hrs | Views
KALIQUNYE means "cut it" - in this case, cut the country, divide it. It is a demand for independence by the people of Matabeleland or Mthwakazi Republic Party.

what the party is advocating for resonates with many in Matabeleland and I believe that, were it not for its approach, which is militant and at times borders on hate speech, it would have more support.

Unfortunately, it attacks both Shona speakers and the same people it claims to fight for with a similar level of viciousness.

In 2020, I found myself a victim of the party's wrath after publishing articles about Zimbabwe's problems in general. Mthwakazi called me a traitor, a Shona lover, who is prostituting herself to Shonas by writing about them yet they killed our parents.

I was shaken.

But love it or hate it, whenever the marginalisation of people in the region occurs, Mthwakazi is the first to rise up against it.

In October 2019, the Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) petitioned Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo and the Health and Child Care ministry over unfair recruitment of student nurses at training hospitals in Matabeleland.

This was after the hospital recruited 24 trainee nurses - 20 from Mashonaland provinces and only four from Bulawayo and the rest of Matabeleland. It argued that this was a clear case of marginalisation and institutionalised tribalism.

In 2019, the lands, agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Resettlement ministry evicted white farmer Brian Davies from Ntabazinduna and allocated the farm to a local man called Floyd Ambrose. after his eviction, Davies approached the courts which ruled in his favour and gave Ambrose until March 6 2021 to vacate the farm.

Ambrose defied the order and instead removed Davies's belongings from the property and dumped them outside the gate.

On March 8, at the request of Chief Khayisa Ndiweni and the Ntabazinduna community, the MRP, led by its president, Mqondisi Moyo, went to the farm to ask Ambrose why he was defying the court order.

The party said it was acting on behalf of the people of Ntabazinduna who felt there was no justification for evicting Davies because he was an asset to the community and had been allowed to stay there by the chief and the community.

The MRP said the Zanu-PF government defied the Constitution and the Traditional leaders act which say that wherever there is land, traditional leaders must be involved in its distribution. The Davies family had apparently been granted authority by the late chief to build a lodge on the land in question.

When they got to the farm, the MRP alleges that Ambrose refused to entertain them and became violent, firing two gunshots before running away with his aides.

The MRP said after such a response to their negotiation attempt, it had no choice but to remove the invaders' belongings from the property and return Davies's belongings to their rightful place. It said it did this peacefully and some of the activities were broadcast live on Facebook.

The party said Ambrose later returned to the farm with his brother, anti-riot police, the Central Intelligence Organisation, CID law and Order officials and unknown men carrying axes, machetes and guns, in a bid to intimidate MRP officials.

The MRP refused to be intimidated and showed the armed team the High Court order showing that the intruder was in fact Ambrose. The armed gang eventually left.

In an interview with the Centre for Innovation and Technology, Moyo said: "As MRP we have come here to make sure sanity prevails and that Davies is given back his place. we were touched because Davies agreed with our chief to modify this place into a tourist attraction that preserves Ndebele culture and values. we will not allow anyone to destroy Ndebele cultural values. Zanu-PF tried to destroy them for the past 30 years, but as MRP we are saying enough is enough."

On the night of March 9, a team of more than 12 armed State agents raided the homes of MRP leaders Moyo, Nqobani Donga and Mongameli Mlotshwa in an attempt to abduct them.

By morning, nobody had heard from Moyo, so members of the MRP decided to protest in front of a police station, demanding that the police produce their president.

The police fired shots to try to disperse the crowd and arrested nine party members - Sibongile Banda, Tinos Nkomo, Livson Ncube, Maxwell Nkosi, Mongameli Mlotshwa, Welcome Moyo, Nkosilathi Ncube, Akim Ndebele and Busi Moyo.

They told them that they would only release them if their president presented himself. It then emerged that the midnight raid had been fruitless and Moyo had gone into hiding.

The nine appeared in court and were denied bail.

They were still in custody at the time this article was written.

Mbonisi Gumbo, former information secretary of the MRP, explained that the party had been reliably informed that Ambrose's brother is former Vice-President Kembo Mohadi's son-in-law. Mohadi is still a member of the politburo and Ambrose has apparently been using that relationship to intimidate the Davies family and the community of Ntabazinduna.

Thandekile Moyo is a writer and human rights defender. She holds an honours degree in Geography and Environmental Studies from the Midlands State University.

Source - dailymaverick
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