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The Future of the 10 South Western Nations of Matebeleland: The Way Forward Part I

23 May 2016 at 06:04hrs | Views
The following article is part of a series meant to provoke the People of Matebeleland to think deeply about their place in Zimbabwe and their future in or out of it. The article begins by laying the stage of the series by looking at the historical context since 1980, in which matters such as the Gukurahundi Genocide are briefly dealt with, the bad electoral choices of Shona people referenced, and how those bad electoral choices made them accomplices in the Genocide and the destruction of the economy of Zimbabwe and democracy in the country. Continued and unjust Shonalization of Zimbabwe is also briefly discussed. The series shall conclude with a look at the options that the South Western Nations have: Devolution of Power, Restoration/Secession and Federalism (the last idea focused around questions on formation of a Matebeleland Regional Party).    

The Historical Context: 1980 - 2016

The year 1980 - after decades of struggle for freedom, justice, self-government and self-determination, non-racialism, land rights, access to economic opportunity for all and democracy - saw a new dawn ushered in what became Zimbabwe. The expectation of all citizens, most of who had lost loved ones in the Liberation Struggle, was that finally, we shall all come to the table of brotherhood and sisterhood as equals, and enjoy the benefits of citizenship. The expectation was that all shall be free, all shall have access to jobs and other economic opportunities, superior education and health-care, well-developed infrastructure, and above all, land and food security.

Unfortunately, no sooner had independence been realized that a new breed of colonialists arose. This time, they were fellow country-men. They were of the same skin color as other Africans. They had also been in the trenches (at least some of them) during the Liberation Struggle, denouncing like almost everyone else the injustices and excess of the European colonialists. They had promised that if they came to power, there will be a better life for all. Well, I don't need to enumerate what happened thereafter. 36 years after independence, Zimbabwe is worse off than it was in 1980.

The new colonialists, by hook or crook, are still in power, threatening the very freedoms and values for which the Liberation Struggle was executed. These colonialists, to call them by their proper name, are called Zanu PF (PF is even a misnomer here, there is nothing patriotic about them). They are led by one Robert Mugabe, a man whose liberation war credentials, although trumpeted on a daily basis, are certainly in question.   

The Gukurahundi Genocide, One Party State and Shonalization

To ensure their rise to, stay in and stranglehold on power, the new colonialists, having split the liberation movement before independence along ethnic lines, immediately set out to create a one-party state after 1980. However, there was a major stumbling block to this their diabolical agenda. That was the original liberation movement, ZAPU, with its largest support base and votes in the 1980s coming from Matebeleland, what I call, I believe justifiably, the South Western Nations Territory (SWNT). (Later series installments shall explain why).

To ensure the success of their diabolic and hell-engineered one-party state ideology, the Zanu colonialists employed largely two things: the Gukurahundi Genocide and Shonalization of the country.

For the sake of those who may not understand the meaning of these terms, let me explain briefly what they mean. Gukurahundi was a genocidal campaign of terror, murder, torture, rape and starvation employed by Zanu and its solely Shona-speaking militia called the 5th Brigade from 1982-1987. The militia raped women across Matebeland allegedly for giving birth to dissidents, murdered thousands (the official number of people murdered is unknown, but way more than the usually named 20000, it can be anything between 20001 and 100,000), starved people from food in the midst of a drought, buried our people alive, burned down whole villages, and buried people in shallow graves, forcing relatives to dance on those graves singing Shona songs praising Mugabe and Zanu.

The official reason for the Genocide is that it was meant to put down a dissident insurrection, but 36 years later, no dissident has ever been arrested, let alone tried and convicted of insurrection or any other crime. ZIPRA (the Liberation Struggle military wing of ZAPU) leaders such as Dr. Dumiso Dabengwa and General Lookout Masuku (MHDSRIP) were arrested, set before a court of law, acquitted by the courts of any wrong-doing, but still detained by the Zanu government without charge, with General Masuku dying in chains.

The venerated ZAPU leader, Dr. Joshua Nkomo (MHDSRIP), was driven into exile after several attempts on his life, with, unfortunately, Shona leaders and citizens baying for his blood, calling for his hanging, assassination, expulsion from the country, etc. Again, no charges held up against him, except that he stood for the very values and objectives for which the Liberation Struggle had been fought: restoration of land to the African people, equality, access to job and other economic opportunities, non-discrimination on the basis of race or ethnicity, multi-party democracy, etc.

From the Gukurahundi Genocide to Shonalization

As already stated in the preceding paragraphs, Zanu rode on Shona ethnic majority to come to power, but not only so, to stay in power. It sold the Shona people the lie that Dr. Nkomo, ZAPU and ZIPRA were a threat to the new state in the 1980s. Recently released, previously classified documents, archives from The Chronicle newspaper, books such as former Senator David Coltart's recently published book, The Struggle Continues, Doctoral dissertations by various students and researches papers by various academics, and most importantly, video footage from Television channels such as the BBC, show Zanu leaders going into bed with the Shona people and calling for Dr. Nkomo's head (such video footage is now available on Youtube and is circulating in Social Networks).

Unfortunately, Shona people bought into the Genocide and all the evil associated with it. Not only did MPs from the Mashonaland Provinces actively support the Mugabe government during the Genocide, none, as far as any records are concerned, actively challenged the evils and excesses of the Genocide. Shona people, unfortunately, also joined in the evil, becoming accomplices in the Genocide!

Shonas are Accomplices in the Gukurahundi Genocide and the Destruction of Zimbabwe!

Contrary to claims by dubious news sites such as ZimEye, the Honorable Moses Mzila-Ndlovu never accused Shonas of being "all guilty" for the Gukurahundi Genocide. He said they were accomplices, which of course is true. (An accomplice is "a person who helps another commit a crime.") By actively supporting Mugabe and Zanu throughout the Genocide and beyond, Shona people made themselves accomplices in Genocide. Whether they are "all guilty" is another matter for justices and moral philosophers to decide.  

Video footage from that time shows that the claims of ignorance of what was happening during the Gukurahundi Genocide used by some Shonas today just can't be sustained, for many are seen at Zanu rallies making the following statements: "Nkomo must be arrested", "he must be hanged", "he must die in exile, we don't want him in Zimbabwe anymore", and "Nkomo must die forever". Asked by a BBC journalist why they were making these statements, they claimed: "we are Zanu PF, Nkomo is ZAPU. We want a one-party state", Of course, the democrat that he was, Dr Nkomo and his supporters were seen as an obstruction.              

Among other pieces of evidence, the clearest evidence that Shonas knew just as their leaders what was happening in Matebeleland during the Genocide, are the banners carried at Zanu rallies, one of the biggest which read: "Pamberi na President RG. Pamberi ne 5th Brigade. We wish you well." (Forward with President Mugabe. Forward with the 5th Brigade). Surely, these can't be the actions of people who were ignorant of the Gukurahundi Genocide and what was happening in Matebeleland. They knew and they actively supported it, which makes them accomplices in the Genocide.)   

Shonas, Preferring a One-Party State and Shonalization, are Guilty of Destroying Zimbabwe!

Right from 1980, the Peoples of the South Western Nations – AmaNdebele, AmaXhosa, BaChewa, BaKalanga, BaNambya, BaSotho, BaTonga, BaTshwao, BaTswana and VhaVenda – made it clear by their vote that Mugabe and Zanu were wrong, were a threat to democracy and prosperity, unity in diversity, jobs, food security, access to land and other economic opportunities, but unfortunately, people from Mashonaland, Manicaland and Maswingo refused to believe us. They chose to believe the new Zanu colonialists. In fact, it can be said that, by their continuously voting for Zanu, they are not only accomplices in the Gukurahundi Genocide, but are accomplices in the destruction of the Zimbabwean economy.

Because they were, early on, beneficiaries of Zanu's evil polices, which saw nearly all public service jobs – including nearly all in South Western Nations Territory (SWNT) – parceled out to them, land taken away from BaKalanga, BaNambya, BaTonga, AmaNdebele, etc in the early 2000s and given to them, their language imposed upon the South Western Nations, they have also become complicit in the Shonalization of this country, in the process threatening the unity and territorial integrity of Zimbabwe (as evidenced by calls for secession by some in Matebeleland).

By their ill-advised desire for a one-party state in the early years of independence, they have destroyed democracy, ravaged any chances at successful nation-building as long as the present order of governance continues, destroyed lives and livelihoods (including their own), forced capital flight and poverty upon everyone else, led to the largest number of refugees in the world of a country not officially at war, evaporated the country's currency, obliterated the country's once sophisticated infrastructure, etc.

In one line, Shona people, together with Mugabe and Zanu, not only stand as accomplices in the Gukurahundi Genocide, but stand guilty of destroying the Zimbabwean economy, democracy in Zimbabwe, exiling of millions, dividing the country along ethnic lines, and even leading to calls for secession!  

The Way Forward for the South Western Nations

In the midst of all this, what then is the way forward for the Peoples of the 10 South Western Nations (that is Matebeleland), who have borne the brunt of Zanu and Shona misrule and bad judgment? That will be the subject of Part II of our installment, when we shall interrogate touted options such as Secession/Restoration, Devolution of Power and the formation of Regional Party/Alliance for Federalism. For now, let's be thinking, talking, debating, discussing and considering our future.

Amandla. Matla. Masimba. Maanda. Manguzu.     

Source - Ndzimu-unami Emmanuel Moyo
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