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Debates on Zapu presidential candidacy: worth commenting

27 Apr 2021 at 05:12hrs | Views
Admittedly some of the debates about the future of Zapu party and its leadership were interesting and how they articulated the future of this party in our political landscape. We cannot escape the fact that Zapu hast lost its glamour of yester year. The 1987 unity accord signed by the First President Dr. Joshua Nkomo was the beginning of the decline of Zapu and since had been going downwards. In retrospect we would wish the unity accord never took place in the first place. However, my thoughts are inward-looking if we consider reasons why Mqabuko Nkomo signed that peace deal with Zanu's Mugabe in the first place.

It was a state of war, of genocide nature that forced Mafukufuku to capitulate. Thousands of lives had been lost for nothing else but inherent tribal hate. To stop the madness, Zapu had to give in, even gave up Zapu party and joined Zanu PF, an act of annihilation of Zapu party. Mugabe wanted his one-party state and it had to be so at the expense of democratic values we fought for in the struggle in the first place. There are people from both sides of the tribes who deem Nkomo a traitor who sold out Matabeleland. But those who were in the hotspots of Fifth Brigade will appreciate what Nkomo did to save lives of the people of Matabeleland.

The presidential debates, listening to them were of great interest because this nostalgia about Zapu is what makes us unrealistic about our aspirations regarding the future. Bernard Magugu's interview was interesting and worth taking home. Notably Magugu is a child who was born in Zapu and was taught those national aspirations of the party: just like me, just like Iphithule Maphosa, just like Sibangilizwe Nkomo, just like Mqondobanzi Magonya.

That Zapu was a national party cannot be disputed, it demonstrated this at all levels at the political and the ZIPRA wing, the ethnic matrix was exemplified. All ethnic groups of Shona and Ndebele made a Zimbabwe nation in Zapu. This is what Joshua Nkomo wished for in his struggle for independence. Having demonstrated his nationalistic aspirations in Zimbabwe, the people of Mashonaland wanted Joshua Nkomo hanged publicly. Joshua Nkomo died 22 years ago but still there is such a burning hatred of Nkomo: they even wish his ghost should be publicly hanged to show, demonstrate the loathing of Nkomo and the Ndebele people.

Bernard Magugu's interview stands out, articulates national appeal in his interview crystal clear. To say Zapu is a national party was the music growing children were fed with if we could remember when we started understanding national politics. About tribal hatred who is a Ndebele and who is Shona was neither here nor there. Gone are those days and let us be realistic about our politics. Bernard Magugu and all of us born in this party yearn for a living together with our Shona people. This is what we know. We shall push for co-existing of nationals in Zimbabwe, what other nations are doing; realistic aspirations, learn to respect and appreciate "the othering."

Nationalism has long lost its sale by date: why force -feed few Zapu members nationalism: they say we are going for election to field 210 candidates in 210 constituencies in 2023! I wonder if such dreams are real in a nation so divided in tribal lines. The hatred of Shona and Ndebele back and forth is tangible. It is a waste of time and a waste of resources to dream about fielding candidates in Mashonaland: nobody will vote for Zapu as it is deemed a tribal, regional party.

The fact on the ground is that tribalism was nationally executed by Shona ethnic group that contribute 80% of the population of Shona tribe. To come out and talk about reviving Zapu to a national level is deceiving people. It has been proven in 2009 when Comrade Dabengwa tried to revive Zapu by removing it from the mainstream Zanu/Zapu unity accord. Zapu failed to garner even council elections to run Bulawayo to the satisfaction of the residents in the region.    

Zapu is a small party now, there are many political parties in Matabeleland: this region is fragmented to the point of madness. We must stop dreaming about what is not there. There are several things that are non-existent in our today's politics and one of them is embrace of the other ethnic groups, has not and has never happened since independence. The Zapu leadership would want us to believe that the glorious days can still be resuscitated. The idea alone is not realistic. Zapu is battling to find a replacement of the Joshua Nkomo to this day. General Dabengwa MHESRIP failed dismally to resuscitate the party. He even failed to give up leadership after a dismal election defeat in 2013. (This is what Magonya failed to say in his interview)

With the crop of presidential candidates we have, so far those who have been interviewed, I am afraid Zapu should forfeit going for elections in 2023 altogether. If anything, Zapu should target council elections in the regions of Matabeleland only. Zapu should cease to aspire for national politics. Mqondobanzi Magonya's interview just skirted around Zapu and its regional focus. He was not sure about his words in most cases. But calling for a regional focus is the game changer in this region. We want Zapu leaders to be glass-clear and precise and say it loud, the region's development should be the central message and not the leadership per se. Leadership in Zapu is not necessary: a board of directors is necessary who will engage with the regional populace to come up with development strategies for Matabeleland.

Until the 2023 Zimbabwe harmonized elections is 2 years away. Leaders in Matabeleland must know that it is not in the interest of the region to support MDCs and all of them. To support Chamisa is a waste of time and a waste of Matabele vote. Nor does it assist us anyhow to make an alliance with Zanu. This is what Magonya suggested in his interview. Such a suggestion is self-defeating: I wonders still if he was anywhere near the genocide atrocities of the early 1983 in Matabeleland. Magonya's interview had hallmarks of street-smartness. To suggest to the people of this region that they make alliance with Zanu is disrespecting the painful past of what this region went through in genocide times. We shall not be told about forgiveness by Magonya. The people of this region want justice from the genocide perpetrators, we shall get it dead or alive.

Zapu should learn to regionalize this party and focus on development only and not politics. We must make Zapu a worker's party and must be known as a party that is busy in rural areas teaching the rural folk by being seen on the ground together with them working on targeted projects. Zapu should learn to start from scratch by learning to live with the rural people and facilitate farming in rural communities to improve food securities in the region.

Talking politics should be a thing of the past. Does it bring food on the table of Ngombane Lupane residents because someone gave an interview in Queens English to impress the voters? Robert Mugabe came back from Ghana speaking English like an English man. The gullible Zanu were so impressed by his English proficiency, they elected, pedestalized him to the presidential material. When he was elected as leader of the party in 1977, he killed them one by one and sent dozens in Mozambique prison. Ask Comrade Rugare Gumbo, he will tell you everything, how he and many others rot in prison at the behest of Robert Mugabe.

Zapu should be proud of the fact that it is the party that articulated devolution in the 2013 constitution. However, it should consolidate the little energy it has and focus on the region of Matabeleland. We must realize too that these sentiments of dividing the nation into two will not bring peace in Zimbabwe. We have good examples of South Sudan that is at war with yet other groups inside the South Sudan region. However, global politics is mainly focusing on silencing guns in the African continent. This brings hope to peace-loving people who will want to see the future generation in a much better and peaceful situation than us.

Source - Nomazulu Thata
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