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Nobuhle Virgie

The game changers in the fight for equality in Zimbabwe will come from this media

As readers, how are we seeking to guide editorial policy that seeks to interrogate news on the questions that arise out of tribal supremacy


By Trust Sibanda

Zimbabwe is a beautiful country which has people who are united in their divisions. The tribal cards seem to be dominating the space of hate in business, politics and social media.

People have ceased to be defined by their identity as Zimbabweans but they now seem to champion tribe and language.

We have reached levels where we isolate each other based on language. To make matters worse our political leaders seem to be playing a major role in pushing people apart because to them unity amongst citizens would mean shortening of days in political offices.

Genuine concerns

Just a reminder most from Matabeleland and Midlands province witnessed firsthand political persecution and hate.

The effects are still felt today where some victims are still in mass graves while others are not accounted for. It is difficult for people who are not victims to understand this injustice.

Gukurahundi was not a tribal war as defined by media and those who carry an agenda of coming between brothers. It was an evil act done by political leaders who seemed clueless on how to exercise authority.

When they butchered people in the areas mentioned they were not executing the mandate of the Shona speaking people. I am yet to come across minutes where Shona people endorsed such evil and brutal attacks on civilians as a clan or a tribe.

The history we must teach our kids is that of a ruling party which suppresses what it perceives as the opposition.

The hunt was on Nkomo as the opposition leader. The whip unleashed on his constituency mainly in Midlands and Matabeleland provinces was just an evil way of getting to him. Just like the 2008 atrocities targeted on Tsvangirai’s constituency show us that the modus operandi of those in power.

They are not ashamed to go for a kill to defend what they think is their birth right. Political violence is embedded in our political space.

Gukurahundi was a political crime not a tribal one though most victims were Ndebeles due to their spatial distribution on this land.

Those people who want to see Zimbabweans divided are the devil’s advocate. Some of those who benefit from divisions went to collect data in Matabeleland to fulfill their own agenda.

The same scenario cited by an economist Ronald Coase when he said: “if you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything”. The moment one looks at the data with a wrong perception it becomes a summary of ethnicity.

What are teaching the children?

What are we teaching the children

It is wrong to teach kids that Shonas killed Ndebeles in the 80s and it is equally wrong not to tell them that after independence brothers turned against brothers for political recognition.

Having narrated all this, the question is where does our solution lie as a country? We need to be tribal blind for us to move on as a nation.

Shona and Ndebele people must speak with one voice against tribal supremacy and discrimination. Shona must understand that the majority of Gukurahundi victims were mainly the Ndebele speaking people.

The Ndebeles on the other side must understand that it is not the Shona people that killed their kind but that was the work of the selfish politician who does not want to be challenged. I think the agreement in the politburo was to send a message to Nkomo by touching his constituency.

Dr Nkomo never represented the Ndebeles but Zimbabweans.

The unrest of 2008 was the same version used to get to Tsvangirai by touching his constituency. This observation clearly shows a political crisis as opposed to a tribal crisis.

The game changers

The game changers in tribal divisions must be the media. We thought politicians will address this especially those that were in control of systems during that time but they seem to be killing time as the distance between them and their graves is getting shorter.

They want to die with our answers on what really came to their brains before they killed people in cold blood.

Media Houses like the Herald, ZBC, and the Chronicles of this world, Fingaz, Standard etc etc among others have a chronic disease of not telling the truth to unite us. You want to see bias, check Zim Press. This is where the Zimbabwe Digital News and The Sunday Express must come in.

This press must unite people through a clear agenda of empowerment for all – through business.

The million dollar question is now that Zimbabwe Digital News and The Sunday Express are in the media space what is it that they can do for our polarised society? Do we have an editorial policy that seeks to interrogate news on the questions that arise out of tribal supremacy?

It is a challenge not for this press only, but for all who operate in the media space.

What do we have that can pull people together regardless of tribe, race, political affiliation, religion, gender etc?

In the absence of this policy we risk indirectly fuelling hate.

Trust me on this, it will be nice to cover a story of how a business Mr/Miss Magutshwa from the Southern region partner with Mr/Miss Zingwena from the North in a business venture which did great work for the communities in the Eastern Highlands.

Such are stories of hope. This fosters unity. Coverage of this nature will make readers find each other and explore ways of working together on one identity as Zimbabweans.

Guide the news, influence the news

Our duty as readers is to guide this newspaper. The organisation has requested countless times to review articles and give our feedback. Engagements at business level are a value addition. Let us direct digital news to the works we are doing bringing people together.

Many thanks to Nobuhle Virgie for the great work she is doing in giving food parcels in Gauteng. I must confess that you have touched the needy without having an eye of nationality or tribe. Such people are the leaders our county is starved of.

We can write your story on the same page we write about selfless leaders like Joshua Nkomo, Simon Muzenda, Strive Masiyiwa, Jairos Jiri among others who never allowed tribal differences to demarcate their philanthropic boundaries.
It is time Zimbabweans combined we do away with names of Provinces that divide us.

Do the Shonas, Ndebeles and Manyika’s have land? The land belongs to Zimbabwe.

The moment we talk of Matabeleland, Mashonaland, Manicaland we are giving other ownership and indirectly telling the other population that they are strangers in a province which is in their own country.

Here is a question that I leave for all who are part and parcel for the Zimbabwe Digital News: “Why do you hate people who are not your tribe” (100marks).

Those who think have answers will be marked wrong or right by society.

I pen off.

Trust Sibanda is a businessman. He is a strategist and news analyst for Zimbabwe Digital News, and The Sunday Express.

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