A CALL TO ALL MTHWAKAZI ORGANISATIONS TO HAVE UNITY OF PURPOSE
28 April 2021
As I extend my greetings to you all, please note that I write to you as a citizen of Mthwakazi, whose identity, values, beliefs are Mthwakazian and whose allegiance is to Mthwakazi. What a journey it has been! I have been one of those who have continuously and consistently travelled the Mthwakazi journey for an exceptionally long time. Together with many, I have been part of this journey from the mid-1990s right through the establishment of the Mthwakazi Action Group on Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing Against the People of Matebeleland and Midlands (MAGGEMM 2000), whose International Report on the International Crime of Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing Perpetrated by Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF regime was published in January 1998 in London, and distributed to all Heads of Governments of the World, including the Zimbabwean regime, opposition parties across the world, the Vatican, World Council of Churches, various religious organisations of the world, the international press, the International Court of Justice at the Hague, the United Nations and its Security Council, the Organisation of African Unity (AU today), Southern African Development Community (SADC), various Non-Governmental Organisations and many others. This was a time when the word, theme or concept of Mthwakazi was not fashionable.
Before that period, there were many other movements and organisations that served as a precursor to the current Mthwakazi project, such as, just to mention but a few, the Matebeleland Writers Association (MAWA|), Vukani Mahlabezulu (VM), Imbovane Yamahlabezulu (IY), Umhlahlo Wesizwe (UW), Patriotic Union of Matebeleland (PUMA), ZAPU 2000, Liberty Party (LP), Mthwakazi Peoples’ Congress (MPC), Mthwakazi Peoples’ Organisation (MPO), Matebeleland Federal Party (MFP), and others. After all these struggles was born the Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF) in 2010. Since then, there are many others that have come to the fore, including the Mthwakazi Liberation Organisation (MLO), 1893 Mthwakazi Human Rights Restoration Movement (MHRRM), Loyiko, Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP), and many others, including the kingship movements of Stanley Khumalo, Zwide Khumalo and Bulelani Khumalo.
Unity of Purpose
As can be seen from the above, the struggle for the liberation of Mthwakazi has had so many voices all shouting at times as lone voices and at other times as multiple voices but without a proper coordinated purpose. It is precisely because of this lack of synergy that there have been calls for all Mthwakazi organisations and movements to unite for purposes of liberating Mthwakazi. Yet this unity has never been properly defined. There are those who have interpreted it to mean dissolving their movements/organisations and joining others as happened when ZAPU was swallowed by ZANU-PF in 1987. Yet, others would prefer such unity to take place under a new name and identity from their current one.
The Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF) prefers unity of purpose. For a long time, the MLF has celebrated the diversity of Mthwakazi organisations and movements and encourages even more diversity and mushrooming of as many as they can be. This view was confirmed by the MLF at Chitawa Lodge, in Botswana in 2015, when it sought to achieve unity of purpose with such orgnisations as the Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) and other cultural organisations. These organisations refused to sign the declaration for that purpose. Since then, the MLF has continuously called for a leadership interface and conference to achieve unity of purpose among all Mthwakazi organisations and movements.
Since the Draft Chitawa Declaration in 2015, the MLF has been calling for a united voice of all Mthwakazi formations, organisations and movements, and not their dissolution. The MLF strongly believes that the dissolution of any organization is anti-democracy and therefore contrary to its philosophy of recognizing diversity and different voices in Mthwakazi. Rather, the MLF believes that all organisations should remain as diverse as they are, or even to multiply, but must be united for the purpose of liberating Mthwakazi. What all these Mthwakazi organisations and movements must recognize is the simple truth that the people of Zimbabwe are united by the Shona hegemony project, irrespective of whether they are ZANU-PF, MDC or whatever, and are hostile to any project meant to liberate the people of Mthwakazi. What unites the people of Zimbabwe is the desire to continue subjugating, dominating, and humiliating the people of Mthwakazi at all costs. There is absolutely no reason, therefore, why the people of Mthwakazi should not unite against a united people of Zimbabwe regarding the liberation of Mthwakazi.
Vision for Mthwakazi
As the Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF), we have produced a vision that is governed not by any man or woman, but by the rule of law. This rule of law is contained in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Mthwakazi and “is built on solid values of liberty, democracy, independence and peace in solidarity and openness towards the world”. This Constitution further recognizes that “the people of Mthwakazi united in their diversity are determined to live together in equality, independence, mutual respect and recognition”. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Mthwakazi (FREM) also recognizes the diverse linguistic communities of Mthwakazi and guarantees their equal protection. In terms of this Constitution, therefore, no person (man or woman) is above the law.
Clearly, therefore, under this vision, everybody has every right to contest for power in Mthwakazi as all are equal under the law. This is the reason why the MLF not only recognizes the diversity among the mushrooming political formations of Mthwakazi but also encourages many more. As a matter of fact, the MLF has in the past assisted some of these organisations not only with material things but also with ideas. In this regard, some of the MLF ideas and slogans have also been borrowed or used by some of these organisations without its permission. Recently, we have seen others adopting our concept of a Mthwakazi Sovereign Fund (MSF) by renaming it as a Mthwakazi Heritage Fund. But we accept that as it enables others to grow by embracing our ideas. The ultimate beneficiary of all this is the great Mthwakazi project.
There can be no doubt therefore that the contestation of ideas regarding the quest to liberate Mthwakazi will always be infused with a lot of borrowing from the diverse movements. All this, which at times looks like outright beauty contestation, must be embraced for the diversity they yield. The people of Mthwakazi must therefore be allowed and encouraged to practice multi-party democracy long before they attain power, so that they may easily embrace and practice the rule of law and political tolerance once Mthwakazi is liberated. The diversity and divergence of opinions must therefore be encouraged and practiced by all throughout this journey of liberating Mthwakazi.
Strategy for Liberating Mthwakazi
While the MLF embraces the diversity and mushrooming of political organisations and movements, it however differs with the strategies that some are pursuing or intend to pursue. In the MLF, we believe that we shall exhaust all peaceful and legal means possible to achieve the liberation of Mthwakazi; and we have already developed mechanisms for the end game. Some organisations prefer to participate in elections that are organized and administered and continually rigged by the same state of Zimbabwe that we want to part ways with. It is difficult to understand how such organisations hope to achieve the liberation of Mthwakazi by being on the one hand Mthwakazian and on the other hand Zimbabwean.
This is the fundamental difference between these organisations or political parties whose focus is only centered on the mechanisms of accessing limited and superficial political power and not of achieving and holding onto real and meaningful political power. It does appear that those who believe in participating in Zimbabwean elections have still not learned that even if they won a seat or two, there is no way they can change the Shona hegemony system. Neither will they be safe in the corridors of parliament in Zimbabwe. We have for example seen how the ZANU-PF regime was able to harass, detain, kill, and force into exile ZAPU legislators and ministers. We also recognize that there are those who want to revive the monarchy. We shall soon be politely engaging them around the bigger, modern, democratic, and diversity-centered Mthwakazi project. Our view on traditional leadership is clear; and it is that it is an important cultural institution, but that it can only play a cultural role in the diverse linguistic communities of Mthwakazi; and should not play any administrative and judicial roles which should be vested in democratic and transparent civil bureaucratic and judicial bodies.
It is important therefore that all Mthwakazi organisations and movements unite around a bigger goal of liberating Mthwakazi. We in the MLF believe that we can do this by mobilizing our people around building democratic institutions for Mthwakazi and begin doing things for and by ourselves in preparation for the inevitable establishment of the Federal Republic of Mthwakazi (https://www.federalrepublicofmthwakazi.org). That day is coming soon and will catch many people unawares. It is primarily for this reason that as the MLF, we have begun collecting statistics regarding a range of issues in the different sectors of socio-economic environment.
I thank you.
Dr Churchill Mpiyesizwe Guduza