2012 has been a journey full of challenges as well as many accomplishments. It was said of the wise that the way forward requires that one take stock of the past to measure accomplishments made, weigh in on failures made and make the necessary corrections, so as to pave a better path in order to make progress. This article serves to do just that.
One area I want to specifically focus on is our Pursuit of Unity within Mthwakazi. You will recall early in 2012 I sent a plea to all of us to declare 2012 As a Year of UNITY: http://harare24.com/index-id-Opinion-zk-11873.html. Please allow me say a big Thank You to many of you who took this challenge seriously and made tangible strides towards the accomplishment of this goal. There are a few chapters that were written this year about this initiative and the purpose of this write up is to unfold some of these developments as a lot has since transpired. A lot has been happening behind the scenes and we had to wait until the appropriate moment to share with you the details of these developments. Besingafuni ukupheka imbhoza, neither did we want to give anyone an opportunity to sabotage these efforts although we do realize that some still made an effort.
In the beginning of the year Youth Leaders from various political parties and organizations formed what they called the Mthwakazi Youth Leaders Joint Resolution. This group is comprised of the following Youth Wings of Mthwakazi’s Political Parties and Organizations:
1. Mthwakazi Youth Assembly – Imbovane (U-Mhlahlo)
2. ZAPU Youth Front (ZAPU)
3. ZUPA Youth (Youth)
4. Ibhetshu Likazulu
5. PUMA Youth Assembly (PUMA)
6. Generation Mthwakazi (MNP)
7. Mthwakazi Student’s Congress (MASCO)
8. Abatsha Development Association (ADA)
As expected, some Youth Leaders who belong to political parties not listed here faced resistance from their own Parties which caused them to drop off for fear of retribution from their parties and have chosen to remain on the sidelines although they were convinced this was the right direction for the preservation of the future as well as for the sustenance of Mthwakazi at large. On a brighter note, the work ethic that has been displayed by the Mthwakazi Youth Leaders Joint Resolution has been quite impressive to say the least. They clearly displayed hope in a hopeless situation. They became a breath of fresh air in the midst of chaos, confusion and apathy, hence my reason for sending this article: http://bulawayo24.com/index-id-opinion-sc-columnist-byo-20918-article-the+role+of+our+youth+in+the+restoration+of+Mthwakazi.html
In August, those of us in the Diaspora formed what we called Abahanqi a group of individuals representing Mthwakazi from various political groups and well as independents. We decided to draft the following letter to the political leaders of Mthwakazi, and I am pleased to say, quite a number of our leaders responded positively:
To All Mthwakazi Political Leaders:
We, the concerned citizens of Mthwakazi would like to take this opportunity to commend your hard-working efforts to reach political solutions for Mthwakazi people. We would like to make it clear that we are not a new organization (political, civic or otherwise), but in fact, we subscribe to various Mthwakazi organizations that exist at home, online and abroad. We know and understand the challenges that you face working in an environment that suppresses all effort and leaves all vulnerable to persecution and prosecution. We are, however, concerned at the ever-increasing number of political organizations within our hotly-contested and politically astute region. This ever-increasing number of Mthwakazi organizations and parties is an indicator of a vibrant civil and political society within our people. However, our lack of timely cognizance of the need to work collaboratively as we strive for our self-respect and self-determination, might work against us by fragmenting our support base. Mthwakazi does not intend nor expect the various political parties to merge, but to work collaboratively towards the much needed political solution.
We are acutely aware that there may be some differences among our different groupings and parties, but we are able to clearly identify duplication and to recognize compelling commonality of agenda among the various Mthwakazi based organizations. All of our respective Mthwakazi organizations are fighting for Mthwakazi’s self-respect and self-determination; it is therefore imperative that we collaborate. We hear it from all constituencies and all our people, whether they belong to specific organizations or unaffiliated that we were and are, ALL together, affected by the same brutality and insensitivity. Our suffering at the hands of the Zimbabwean people and government has not healed and is one of the worst genocides by man; only ours was not publicized for the world to see.
We do not proclaim to have any superior capabilities to any existing organization, but the onus is on ALL of us. In all of our Mthwakazi communities, we hear the people lament and cry for unity of purpose. We note that our fate lays together inexorably and our purpose and goals demand that we pull together in unison. Our people do not expect the various political parties to form a perfect merger, but the expectation is to fill the dire need to work collaboratively towards the much needed political solution for our people. There is strength in numbers and more than ever, we need to pull together because we are currently in a weak position. Those who are opposed to our existence are able to pick us off and oppress us one-by-one, but in unity, we could be formidable. It is sad to see our leaders and personalities being subjected to inhumane treatment. Our hotly contested areas are the ones that would be the game changers, it is therefore quintessentially imperative that our people have good leadership so we can realize and use the political capital that we possess, lest we miss the opportunity.
Our current situation has our Mthwakazi people disillusioned and lacking trust in the political process. Besides this disillusionment, we see, read and watch daily as story after story pours out on the suffering and subjugation of our people. We read about the multiple Njelele invasions, we read about Mr. Ncube in court in Victoria Falls, we read about Mr. Fletcher Dulini-Ncube, we read about Honorable Moses Mzila-Ndlovu, we read about Mr. Paul Siwela, we read about our children being snubbed at NUST and we also read and admire the tremendous work of Abammeli to represent and stand with our people. The multiple Mthwakazi parties are evidence of the ample room and appetite for our leaders in the political process, but they leave our people with too many choices and only ONE ballot paper; who then, should we push our people to elect, when we agree with all our groupings? Why then, don’t our groupings come together unselfishly, for our people? There is a strong sentiment among our people to boycott the vote as we would be voting against ourselves.
We have an opportunity to stand together and we should seize it. Let us mimic Abammeli who have come together and as the nation’s foremost legal minds, they have recognized and vocalized the fact that the cake is not being shared equally and they have taken the task to represent our people under the umbrella of Abammeli, though they too, belong to different legal houses. We therefore, also, as different political groupings, can come together to serve our people, otherwise we may all be too ineffective by our individual-self parties.
Our plight will remain, so long as we fail to unite in our purpose. At all internet social fora, at all our social gatherings and everywhere else our people are clamoring for unity, asking why we are not united in the face of such an onslaught. After many a discussion and many a consultation, our people suggested that we come together and approach our Mthwakazi leadership to seriously explore how our Mthwakazi parties can come together and address these inequities; because, together we stand, divided we fall. These overwhelming calls for unity of purpose have resulted in the creation of an Exploratory/Steering Committee to examine ways Mthwakazian organizations can work together for the greater good of Mthwakazi. We are writing this letter to convey to you our leaders the message from Mthwakazi; that Mthwakazi stands ready to contribute to the struggle in every way possible, that Mthwakazi needs the political leadership to come together and to aim to unite in purpose. Our Steering/Exploratory Committee stands ready to facilitate dialogue between the political parties and organizations. Most importantly, Mthwakazi Herself has the personnel to help in order to provide well-researched approaches to connecting the political leadership and the international community.
This is an effort to invite all and sundry Mthwakazi, to strategize on how to practically build the necessary bridges that will bring the family of Mthwakazi to a place of unity. We strongly believe that we can work together and in partnership with you and all our people, to facilitate this journey towards our unification. Uniting in purpose for the greater good of Mthwakazi will provide us with the critical mass needed to address the international community. The international community must hear one Mthwakazi voice. Our call is to focus on the harnessing of our massive political clout as it is being eroded by being separate. We believe our success will be achieved by our various organizations’ ability to work together in partnership.
A proposed starting point would be for each organization or party to advice on whom, from each respective organization should be contacted for preliminary discussions. This letter serves to explain who we are, our aspirations and most importantly to encourage ALL of our organizations to engage in this dialogue which ALL our people want and which our people need. We would have a more united and effective response to the repression that we currently suffer. There is power in numbers and our people are clamoring for this unity.
Abahanqi (On Behalf of the Mthwakazi Community at Home and Abroad)
|Dr. Ernest Simela
Mr. Ngwana Maseko
Mr. Sindiso Mazibisa
Mr. Mduduzi Khanye
Dr. Brilliant Mhlanga
Dr. Jabulani Nyathi
|Mr. Mpho Ncube
Mr. Mkhululi Ndabambi
Mr. Busani Sibindi
Mr.. Canaan Ncube
Rev. Raphael Mthombeni
Mr. Khumbulani Ngwenya
Ms. Thokozile Mkwanazi
This led to the coordination of a Skype Conference call, and the following Political Parties and Organizations were represented on this particular call:
1. uMhlahlo Wesizwe SikaMthwakazi
2. PUMA youth
5. Mthwakazi Youth Leaders Joint Resolution
6. Representatives of Abahanqi
Abahanqi were given a mandate and an assignment to continue working with the various parties to see to the accomplishment of our goal towards unity. It was further resolved that it was best for Abahanqi to work with the Mthwakazi Youth Leaders Joint Resolution, who through their tenacity and determination have continued to steer matters from the ground. It has been the desire of most to ensure that efforts pertaining to the issues of Mthwakazi be spearheaded from the ground. As some would accurately say, it is very easy for those of us who are out of the country to quickly find ourselves out of touch with the realities on the ground. I applaud the Joint Resolution for taking matters into their hands, a process which resulted in the coordination of 5 meetings to date. The outcome of these meetings finally yielded the formation of the Asikhumbule Ekhaya Alliance (AKE). The Joint Resolution issued the attached Press Release on December 22, 2012 on behalf of the AKE. The objectives of the AKE are clearly spelled out in the document, however please allow me to re emphasize following critical objectives that are worth noting and stressing:
- Ensuring that all electable seats within Matabeleland are occupied by individuals representing Mthwakazi in one form or another. For once we should not be concerned which Political Party occupies these seats as long as those representatives belong to Mthwakazi. I cannot stress this any further. These include those occupied by our City of Bulawayo Councilors, MP’s and Senators. We must for once realize that in order for us to preserve that which is ours, will require that we place in office our own people. That should be first and foremost on our agenda. We have been robbed in broad daylight to our own demise and unless we act quickly in this regard, it may be too late for us to react. We continue to mourn that our City has been hijacked, and yet we refuse to realize there are some strategies that can be implemented NOW to regain our City. None of the posts mentioned should be occupied by non-Mthwakazians. We must do whatever we can to fight for these seats to be restored back to Mthwakazi.
- The AKE in collaboration with the Joint Resolution will coordinate the efforts required to work at the grassroots level to implement a structure to facilitate an organized election process. Yes we understand what our long-term goals are, however we must act now within the existing system to ensure the interests of Mthwakazi are preserved at all costs. We must learn to take advantage and utilize existing systems to our advantage. They have to work for us and we will find ways if we think and pray hard enough.
The following political parties and organizations have since resolved to be a part of the Asikhumbule Ekhaya Alliance (AKE):
2. uMhlahlo Wesizwe SikaMthwakazi
3. Isijula Trust
We regret that the announcement of the AKE was somehow made pre-maturely and incorrectly in the following article:
This resulted in the following responses from some of the Political Parties who chose not to be a part of the AKE:
- 1. MLF IS NOT PART OF THE AKE UNITY (By David Magagula):MLF clarifies its position regarding the Alliance Khumbula Ekhaya recently. MLF is not party to and has no alliance(s) with any political, civic or non governmental organisation or party that takes part in Zimbabwe elections. MLF’s position is not changed. MLF has nothing, and will have nothing to do with Zimbabwe, let alone elections that serve no purpose. All MLF wants from Zimbabwe is Mthwakazi Independence. As MLF we believe Mthwakazi Independence will not be achieved through elections. We have said it before and we repeat that MLF will use and exhaust all peaceful means possible to gain our Independence excluding engaging in elections. We reiterate that MLF is a liberation front and as such will go the route of all other liberation movements should all peaceful means yield no positive result-a situation MLF believes are avoidable should Zimbabwe take our calls for Independence with the seriousness they deserve. While MLF supports Mthwakazi Unity efforts being made, we know for certain that elections will not lead to our Independence. MLF hopes that those involved in AKE consider working together with MDC as MDC is a formidable force to re corn with and cannot be ignored if proper analysis of those Mthwakazians interested in elections is anything to no purpose. All MLF wants from Zimbabwe is Mthwakazi Independence. As MLF we believe Mthwakazi Independence will not be achieved through elections. We have said it before and we repeat that MLF will use and exhaust all peaceful means possible to gain our Independence excluding engaging in elections. We reiterate that MLF is a liberation front and as such will go the route of all other liberation movements should all peaceful means yield no positive result-a situation MLF believes are avoidable should Zimbabwe take our calls for Independence with the seriousness they deserve. While MLF supports Mthwakazi Unity efforts being made, we know for certain that elections will not lead to our Independence. MLF hopes that those involved in AKE consider working together with MDC as MDC is a formidable force to re corn with and cannot be ignored if proper analysis of those Mthwakazians interested in elections is anything to go by. MLF can only sympathize with AKE but certainly is and will not be party to the so called united front.MLF wishes AKE all the best in their en devours to form a formidable alliance.
2. Brian Ndwane on behalf of MLO led by Paul Siwela:
The entire leadership and membership to all viewers, supporters, sympathizers and listeners, allow me to state it categorical that as MLO we distance ourselves from this so called Alliance Khumbula Ekhaya (AKE). As an organisation with values, we are extremely shocked by the article on Newsday brought by MNP to News wall citing us as part of AKE. We would like everyone to know and understand that MLO is not part of this newly formed alliance as we do not subscribe to participation in any Zimbabwean elections of any kind or level for now or in future. Our position is clear to all our fellow Mthwakazians, LET US BOYCOTT ALL Zimbabwean ELECTIONS .This will send a clear picture and strong message to the outside world that Matabeleland (Mthwakazi) is not part of Zimbabwe but a separate entity that deserves sovereignty status like any other nations of this world. Lastly I am appealing to those who mentioned MLO as part of AKE to reconsider their statement amicable.
The objectives of the AKE are very clear and concise and it behooves us as Mthwakazi at large to look at the opportunities we continue to lose due to our disunity. If we are serious about our plight, may I challenge all of us that we take this matter to heart and do whatever is necessary to support the efforts of the AKE. Whilst we work towards Mthwakazi’s long term self-determination, we must not forget there are many short-term initiatives that we must pursue to preserve those institutions that belong to Mthwakazi. Preservation must start here and now. We can no longer afford to live in the by and by. We must learn to utilize every resource and tool that is at our disposal now. We must now realize there are many roads that lead to Rome and every single one of them must be utilized, explored and paved. Every single one. We should not leave any stone un-turned. We must level every mountain that can be leveled. We must create a bridge on every stream that we come across. Every method that is at our disposal must be used. This calls for ingenuity, flexibility, creativity, versatility, thinking outside the box, you name it. Mthwakazi we must learn to do things differently. We must learn to work smart and working smart, we will. This is our time and the time is now and not tomorrow.
I applaud the efforts of the Mthwakazi Youth Leaders Joint Resolution for spearheading these efforts. I applaud the efforts of the Asikhumbule Ekhaya Alliance (AKE). We are counting on you to work tirelessly towards the preservation of Mthwakazi’s self-determination, preservation, and protection of our socio-economic and political space. You are about to embark into unchartered territory that is going to be filled with challenges and setbacks. May God continue to direct your footsteps. May the cause of Mthwakazi remain your priority and please resist unwarranted distractions.
Silifisela Umyaka Omutsha Omuhle.