By Kernan Mzelikahle
Every now and again; we get articles either on Facebook, on WhatsApp, or on some website online, that threaten the use of violence in order to settle the Mthwakazi question. Clearly, such rants are in the minority of cases given the overall peaceful nature of the people in Mthwakazi.
However, such rants must not be let to go unanswered. In fact, silence may later be misconstrued by these people as being in agreement or acquiescence with the idea.
For this reason, the Mthwakazi position needs to be clearly spelt out, stating both the objectives and the acceptable methods envisaged to achieve the said objectives.
It is clear that Mthwakazi as a diverse nation has been marginalised for a long period of time.
The list of what has gone wrong is endless, and all these problems may easily be explained by a simple fact that Mthwakazi has over the years been stripped and dispossessed of the right to economic self-determination.
What we have come to witness in the independent Zimbabwe for the past forty years has been a systematic dispossession of a people through various tactics.
While the efforts of Dr Joshua Nkomo are commendable and revered in many respects, the reality is that by entering into the 1987 “Unity Accord”, Dr Nkomo turned his back to the people of Mthwakazi, with whom he had travelled the journey to independence.
Dr Joshua Nkomo had a vision of a united nation State that celebrated diversity and not weaponise it.
Unfortunately, the realities on the ground turned out starkly different to a point where he had to run for his life in independent Zimbabwe. Certainly, by the time of his death Dr Nkomo had lived to regret the decision to give up the struggle for true emancipation of the people.
Many organisations have used this unfortunate demise of Dr Nkomo’s vision as a catalyst to radicalism.
They have sought to pronounce radical movements based on these developments.
Such pronouncements have been courted with utter disregard for the realities on the ground.
The realities on the ground are that:- (a) violence is not the best way to settle political differences, particularly in the 21st century, (b) violence begets violence, hence the cycle of violence once it has been initiated may be difficult to break, (c) violence is retrogressive because it overshadows meaningful solutions, and (d) no one really knows the outcome of violent revolutions, the Syrian case is a good case study for it.
These realities are glaring and clearly demand that anyone dealing with the Mthwakazi case, either as an activist or as a leader, be cognisant of them and seek out alternative non-violent and constitutional methods.
Many people may underrate the effectiveness of well organised peaceful and constitutional methods.
To the doubting Thomas(es), I invite them to study the non-violent methods used in India by Gandhi during their struggle for independence from Britain.
In fact, if ever the Mthwakazi question is to gain traction and respect in the regional and international circles of influence, the organisations and leadership of such organisations need to take oaths of peaceability and constitutionalism.
Using constitutionalism to address political questions communicate to the whole world that no matter how difficult the problems are, the Mthwakazi people are committed to peaceful coexistence with other people while attending to the problems at hand.
On the contrary, choosing non-constitutional methods, and perhaps seeking to topple a constitutionally elected government, would only communicate to the world that the Mthwakazi people are a loose cannon that is impatient and possibly dangerous to the world.
This means that Mthwakazi would lose regional and international support due to such brute-force methods.
The value of regional and international support must not be underestimated, because in many struggles, the weight of international geopolitical manoeuvrings has decided the outcomes of those struggles.
The Armed insurrection
The Lancaster House negotiations are a pristine example in this case. Reverend Abel Muzorewa had been elected Prime Minister of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia in 1979, but due to international pressure, he was not recognised and had to step down hardly six months into his elected office.
This clearly means that if ever the Mthwakazi question is to be discussed in corridors of power within Zimbabwe, regionally and internationally, one thing must be clear: that is; the struggle must carry with it the respect that comes from constitutionalism and peaceability.
Southern Africa is no stranger to armed insurrection that has caused civil wars. In Mozambique, the problems are still on-going and there is no end in sight.
It is no longer clear what RENAMO is fighting for. I do not seek to judge the morality of their struggle, however, the question that stands before them is whether their militancy has gained them political success, recognition and economic advances for their people.
Further, if one looks to the west, Angola is an interesting case. After all that fighting, killing and maiming, what was the end to Jonas Savimbi? After Savimbi, what became of UNITA, Savimbi’s party?
It is clear that both parties RENAMO and UNITA did not achieve their objectives militarily, and in the case of UNITA, a full time electoral political struggle was adopted. This confirms that the outcomes of armed violence cannot be predicted.
In the case of RENAMO, they are moving in and out of full time electoral political processes. The lesson here is that: In post-independence African States, military insurrection is not the best course of action, because its results are unknown and not guaranteed.
On this point, Dr Nkomo was correct.
In conclusion, all Mthwakazi activists and formations need to learn from Dr Nkomo that peaceful and constitutional methods are the only paths left in post-colonial Africa. Violence and armed insurrection are retrogressive.
Kernan Mzelikahle is an apolitical analyst, and may be contacted by cellphone on +263775195334, email on email@example.com, twitter handle is @Mzelikahle. This article and others like it may be found on Mthwakazi Forum website: sites.google.com/view/mthwakaziforum
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