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Patriotic Union of MaNdebeleland

by PUMA
21 May 2019 | 3878 Views
While I was going through my archives I came across the Election Manifesto below. Quite interesting.

PATRIOTIC UNION OF MANDEBELELAND (PUMA)
ELECTION MANIFESTO
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
MaNdebeleland was the culmination of the pilgrimage and nation-building genius of King Mzilikazi, the first monarch and leader of the MaNdebele nation. Because of the outstanding leader he was, he had made friends with white hunters like John Moffat, in South Africa while he was settled at Mpumalanga. When they realized that there was now continual conflict between the King and the Afrikaners trekkers, they suggested to the King that he traveled north until he comes to a land where there are balancing rocks (referring to the Matobos), and within the same land belt there will be a flat mountain (referring to Intaba YeziNduna). That is exactly what the king did. This is the reason why later on, the King gave to the London Missionary Society (Rev. Helm to be particular) the land on which was built Hope Fountain Mission.

AmaNdebele is not a tribal term. AmaNdebele designates a nation built through a combination of military prowess, negotiation skills and nation building ingenuity of King Mzilikazi, which in these modern and post-modern times would have won him a Nobel Prize for Nation Building. Such a category does not exist because no one politician of such a caliber exists in the world today.

Another man of old who deserves mention, because together with King Mzilikazi he helped carve out the MaNdebele nation is King Mambo of the Kalanga/Rozvi Empire. Chief Zimuto displaced King Mambo from the northeastern section of his kingdom. He moved to the area near Nyathi Mission called Intaba ZikaMambo. This was his capital city when he and King Mzilikazi met. They made an agreement to live together and govern their people in peace. To show the genuineness of both man, they married women from each other's close family ties thereby becoming brothers indeed.

The kingdom stretched from the Tate River in modern Botswana to the Munyati River just beyond Kwaduma (now called Kadoma). All in all, the people who became incorporated into the nation included the Kalanga/Rozvi, the Sotho, the Nambya, the Dhombe, the Tonga, the Xhosa, the Shangani, the Lembe, the Hlengwes and the Venda.

To the north and east there were a number of loose chieftainships/headsmanships of different ethnic groups, dialects and clans (the remnants of the once powerful Mwenemotapa Empire). They later came to be called MaShona by a white anthropologist who had interviewed AmaNdebele about naming them in 1830s. A significant number of families fled from the disorganization that prevailed there and came and settled in MaNdebeleland because there was order and proper governance under King Mzilikazi. The reason for that level of disorganization was that there was no state because each chief and headman was a king unto himself.

As a matter of fact, until 1958 there was no one Shona language. Students at school were taught: ChiKorekore, ChiZezuru, ChiKaranga and ChiManyika through out the area that is generally referred to as Mashonaland. And in Matabeleland there we similar things: Students were taught Venda and Sotho with books from South Africa and Tonga with books from Zambia. It was the Education Act of 1958 during the period when Sir Garfield Todd was Prime Minister that something called Unified Shona (standard Shona) was developed and began to be taught. There are of course people especially from among the Karanga who would prefer their children to be still learning ChiKaranga.

In 1893 information came to King Lobhengula, that the British South African Police (BSAP) was launching an offensive in response to action by the kings man of punish the Shona herdsmen who were stealing the cattle from umlaga weNkosi in the Chivi area to give them to the white settlers. The BSAP used this pretext not only to start a war but to attempt to capture King Lobengula alive. This objective no doubt failed because the king ‘disappeared' and ensured that the capital city of KwaBulawayo was burnt behind him. The kingdom suffered a major setback as the nation lost its King and leader and thus began our colonization. There are no recorded conflicts between the Shona and the white settlers prior to this date.

However, because of the negative feelings that arise from being controlled and ruled by another, the two groups (Shona and AmaNdebele) were involved in resistance movements from there on. The one outstanding one was the resistance of 1897. But because of superior weaponry this resistance was thwarted but not without casualties on the part of the colonizers as well.

Beyond the uprisings in the late 1890s the next major move in MaNdebeleland was the formation of the Matabeleland Home Society during the First World War by Nyamande Khumalo the Crown Prince (son of King Lobhengula). After the war the organization was not very active. It resurfaced strong in the 1950s through the 1970s. This organization published a paper called the Home News whose editor was a Mr. Ngcebetsha. This organization was the avenue for lobbying the settler administrators to ensure that the critical needs of the people were respected in the black suburbs of Bulawayo. Two successful examples of this organization's lobbying abilities, amongst many, was stopping the teaching of Shona in the elementary schools in Bulawayo and rejecting the idea of naming the current Njube Township, Rufaro Township!

DAYS OF ZIMBABWEAN NATIONALISM

Prior to the active days of the Matabeleland Home Society, a political party called the ANC was formed in Bulawayo in 1934. In Harare the City Youth League was also formed through the activism of people like James Chikerema, and others around 1955.

On the 12th of September 1957 the ANC now with a more national face voted, the late Vice-President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Dr. Joshua M Nkomo as its president. The movement at the time was truly national with all people from Zimbabwe working together to end colonialism. The people's movement went through a period of being banned only to emerge, not only with a new name but a greater level of commitment to the course of freedom. The last name for the people's movement that stuck was the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU, despite the banning), and the leader was still late Joshua M Nkomo.

A SPLIT ON TRIBAL LINES

In the early 1960s there was a contingency of people that moved to form ZANU. ZANU was formed in the house of Mr. Enos Nkala. The other people in attendance were Ndabaningi Sithole, Leopold T akawira, Eddison Zvobgo, Solomon Tavengwa and others. Emmerson Munangagwa and Rugare Gumbo were also there but as youth. Robert Mugabe was away on a trip but was elected secretary- general in absentia. Other than Mr. Enos Nkala and Rev Ndabaningi Sithole, this was a coalition of Shona speakers who wanted to form a separate party, largely on tribal lines. Obviously, since this was politics, there were other issues that led to formation of ZANU that are not the focus on this manifesto.

That it was on tribal lines is not a figment of our imagination as Zimbabweans from MaNdebeleland. The late Vice President of Zimbabwe, Dr. Joshua M Nkomo, in his book: The Story of My Life, reports that the current Vice-President of Zimbabwe Joseph Msika read a circular in the hands of Washington Malianga, at an OAU meeting in East Africa. This meeting had been called to help Zimbabweans with their war of liberation amongst other things.

The circular that Mr. Malianga carried was urging ZAPU members to get rid of Zimundebere: The Ndebele (a reference to Joshua Nkomo), and let the majority tribes lead! According to the late Joshua Nkomo, this same Malianga and his brother, under the influence of Leopold Takawira, were at the forefront of this tribal split of ZAPU and the formation of ZANU. Not withstanding the split, the leaders of both parties were arrested and a number of them served very long jail sentences in Rhodesian prisons, (although in different prison), because of their commitment to fight for justice and freedom.

THE ARMED STRUGGLE

Repeated attempts to negotiate with the settler administration were not taken seriously until it was decided that we were going to get our power and freedom back by any means necessary. In 1962 the armed struggle began after a few man had received Soviet Union style of guerrilla warfare training.

The split between ZAPU and ZANU obviously affected the efficiency of the war effort. This was due in part to the unnecessary inter-movement and intra-movement clashes and unnecessary deaths and assassinations of outstanding minds and leaders like Dr. H. Chitepo, J Z Moyo, N.

Mangena and Josiah Tongogara and many others less known personalities.

Nonetheless, a very effective struggle was waged at the two war fronts (Zambia and Mozambique) until the Rhodesia Front government appreciated the need for serious negotiations that were to usher black majority rule by elections on a common voters role.

ATTEMPTS AT UNITY

Some attempts were made to unite the political and military wings with the formation of ZIPA and later with the formation of the Patriotic Front. These attempts did not produce the fruits they were expected to. The only significant thing these attempts produced was the prefixing and suffixing of the two party names with the words Patriotic Front (PF). But there was no tangible evidence of patriotism between the two political groups or their two military wings: ZIPRA and ZANLA.

PEACE TALKS AT LANCASTER HOUSE and THEN INDEPENDENCE

An honest review of the attitude of our leaders at those talks shows that overall will to work together was missing. It is not surprising therefore that when the two parties: PF ZAPU and ZANU PF arrived back home after the breakthrough peace agreement, the latter announced that it will context the elections, not as the Patriotic Front, but as ZANU PF.

Rumour has it though, that General Josiah Tongogara was liquidated by forces within ZANU on his way to Zimbabwe because he and other top ranking ZANLA leaders (Karangas) had made agreements with top ZIPRA commanders, and Rhodesia Front elements to side-step Robert Mugabe. The plan was that the two liberation movements would contest the elections as the Patriotic Front, where in late Joshua Nkomo would lead for a short time. The plan was that the late Josiah Tongogara would then succeed him.

POST INDEPENDENCE

Elections in 1980 were conducted in an atmosphere that was not conducive for free and fair elections. Lord Soames, the representative from the British Government who had been sent to manage the transfer of power from Britain to a democratically elected government, declared that the atmosphere in Eastern Zimbabwe was not conducive for free and fair elections. He reported that the ZANLA combatants were not in their assembly points and they were widespread reports of intimidation and beating of the people there. The reason being that until then, the people of Zimbabwe were part of ZAPU political structures that had been effectively set up and maintained through the operations of ZIPRA cadres.

Nonetheless, black majority rule was achieved. ZANUPF had won the majority of the seats and received the mandate to rule Zimbabwe. All Zimbabweans, especially black Zimbabweans celebrated and were excited. An added reason for this euphoria was the announcement by the new Prime Minister Mr. Robert Mugabe that his government would pursue a policy of reconciliation towards all the people in Zimbabwe. Further, he invited his PF ZAPU compatriots into the formation of a government of national unity. At this point it looked like the future of the country was bright!

However, this was short lived. Because the ZANUPF controlled government subsequently accused their PF ZAPU compatriots of planning to topple a democratically elected government after arms caches were found in two private properties of former ZIPRA cadres. ZAPU's crime and involvement stemmed from the fact that the leadership had facilitated the pooling of resources by these cadres to form cooperatives that purchased these properties. This was after it was clear that the new government could not induct all former ZIPRA cadres into the army, the police force or any other service corps.

The other reason this matter deserves mention, is the method or approach used to publicize the finding of these arms caches: The spirit with which these findings were publicized was neither in good faith nor transparent. One would have thought that the government of national unity would meet through the Ministry Of Home Affairs to discuss the development, and if criminal activity was found, use government organs to arrest the culprits. Rather than fire almost all ZAPU ministers in government for what were arms found in two farms? After all, at that time ZIPRA had been disbanded and these man and women were now the responsibility of government and not ZAPU!

That is why the then leader of ZAPU, the late Joshua M. Nkomo challenged the then Prime Minister of Zimbabwe Robert G Mugabe in a very long and poignant letter on the authenticity of the find of arms caches. The letter also challenges the Prime Minister for using inflammatory and divisive language at such a crucial stage in the history of the young state. By the way, this letter was written during Joshua Nkomo's brief sojourn in England in 1983. A sojourn by the ZAPU leader undertaken to save his life, which had been put in grave danger by government operatives, probably with full knowledge of top government officials.

In retrospect, it seems ZANU PF wanted to entrench itself and its power on the Zimbabwean political landscape by marginalizing PF ZAPU, within Zimbabwe, in the SADC region, the entire continent of Africa and indeed the world, using trumped up false charges. This it did first, by accusing PF ZAPU of caching arms for subversive purposes without any objective evidence of intent. Secondly, following these accusations, it fired almost all PF ZAPU ministers from the government of national unity. The facts show that the ZAPU leadership has shown its intent for peace and development by stopping the clashes at Ntumbane and other places between ZIPRAs and ZANLAs as well as disarming all its combatants in assembly points and turning in their artillery to the new government.

THE DISSIDENTS AND THE GUKURAHUNDI ERA

As if this young nation had not had enough trauma, accusations and sackings were followed by a period during which ZANUPF unleashed acts so barbaric, venomous and cruel on Zimbabwean citizens in MaNdebeleland in a bid, as it were to break their souls and spirits. First, it was the matter of dissidents who roamed, raped and maimed civilians including tourists to the country.

One wondered then and still wonders now why these dissidents would harass, beat, and kill the people from their own home base? There was and is no record of dissident activities anywhere in MaShonaland. The question that remains unanswered is: Whose dissidents were they? This problem was immediately followed by the 5th Brigade (Gukurahundi) that killed between 30 000 to 50 000 citizens of this country in MaNdebeleland in cold blood, under the guise of crashing the dissidents menace

In the recent past, President Robert Mugabe reflecting on this era calls it a "moment of madness". We, the peoples of MaNdebeleland, who were the victims of this fury, call the activities of the Fifth Brigade unprovoked acts of genocide. For us, this was neither a moment nor madness. For us these were nerve-racking, fear-packed, shame-filled, dehumanizing death-stinking seven gruelingly painful years (1980 – 1987). These were seven years of cold-blooded murder by misguided tribalists operating at the behest of a national government.

This was the result of a carefully planned exercise to cold- bloodedly kill a nation of people in order to instill a spirit of fear and compliance. This was behavior that belongs to days bereft of civilization and controlled by unbridled barbarism. During this time there were dusk to dawn curfews. These curfews were imposed so that no media would cover this entire horror movie, as it were. The plan was to do this ensure that no one would ever know that it happened. Fortunately for us and unfortunately for those who sought to exterminate us, there were some courageous journalist who saw it. But above all that, some of us survived to tell and retell the stories of our genocide, sometimes with tears of pain and anger. If you are asking why all this was done? We will tell you the answer: to marginalize the people of MaNdebeleland.

Zimbabweans must be grateful for the maturity and gracefulness of the late Joshua M. Nkomo, who called for a path of peace when all human instincts would drive one to call for war. Because of his commitment to this path, the historic Unity Accord was signed in 1987. Subsequently, all the violence and barbarism in the MaNdebeleland region of Zimbabwe ended.

What most Zimbabweans may underestimate role that the late leader of ZAPU played in the current peace we enjoy although we misuse it. Had the late leader of ZAPU called for war, this country would be a different place today; maybe another Rwanda. The sad part of our country's history is that the late Joshua Nkomo has a superficial song used for fundraising at Galas (none of which has been done in Bulawayo and other cities in MaNdebeleland except for Biet Bridge). He is also used as a cover to hide behind when regional inequality issues are raised in open forums. The statesmanship of late Joshua Nkomo seems to have been interpreted by the ZANUPF loyalist as defeat and capitulation because there has never been any serous attempt to implement the provisions of the Unity Accord in MaNdebeleland as far as the development of both people and infrastructure is concerned.

Even our current Amai Mujuru, who stated that she is ready to be the president if people choose her, openly insulted the intellectual integrity of the late Joshua Nkomo simply because he thought and verbalized that denying Econet a license to operate a cell phone company was wrong and that the matter of the Zambezi Water Project needed speedy attention. If you can insult someone who is old enough to be your grandfather, do you have ubuntu to our president and our mother?

THE REAL CURRENT ISSUES: MARGINALIZATION.

Just as the entire non-white population of the then Rhodesia suffered for many years under colonialism, the people of MaNdebeleland have been colonized the people of MaShonaland since independence. While people from all other parts of Zimbabwe often claim that initially ZANU PF and Mr. Robert Mugabe did good things for the country, people from MaNdebeleland do not have such recollections! We cannot honestly say that to the world or to ourselves. And now as the country of Zimbabwe has been plunged into gross political and economic mismanagement, the people of MaNdebeleland are suffering twice. First and foremost, they suffer from having been marginalized for twenty-five years and then secondly with everyone else, they suffer the effects of living in a failed state.

Political Marginalization

The ZANU PF government has since its inception not taken the democratic expressions of the peoples of this region seriously.

Initially it thought to use violence to repress their views. Lately, it seems to relish the idea of appointing as the people's representatives, the very individuals the people reject in the polls. This action suggests that the ZANUPF government is not interested in the processes of democracy where the people of MaNdebeleland are concerned, (assuming it is interested in democracy anywhere else).

Although the ZANUPF controlled government signed The Unity Accord of 1987 in order to bring unity and development to the entire country, there has not been much done to foster unity or development especially in MaNdebeleland. For the ZANU PF controlled government it seems the Unity Accord exists to give token rewards to senior and middle level former PF ZAPU leaders for having come into the new ZANU PF. The rest of the population simply does not exist nor count for much.

Over 90% of all appointments, especially supervisory and management level appointments in all the governmental organs in MaNdebeleland region exclude people from MaNdebeleland. There is just an over representation of people from outside MaNdebeleland in employment across the board. An unrepresentative large number of clerical workers, police officers, nurses, teachers, prison wardens, to mention some functions that are the in eyes of the public are occupied by labourers imported from else where, while potential occupants of these jobs in the region remain jobless. These servants of the people then arrogantly insist on speaking in Shona, at the workplace even to villagers who have never been in MaShonaland!

As for development is concerned, many areas of MaNdebeleland remain in a state in which they were at , at independence or worse because of lack of maintenance services. Where development occurred, the labour used was non-local people and when the infrastructure is in place, skilled and unskilled labour from else where is brought to work in MaNdebeleland, at the expense of the people from this region. This is not acceptable.

Is not the whole point of a people's government, especially one that wants to safe guard the gains of unity at all costs, to make choices that are people friendly? Shona speaking government officers will go to the heart of MaNdebeleland and address rallies in Shona. This is done insensitively, in the ears of people who still vividly remember the Gukurahundi operatives who killed, and raped and humiliated these people, also arrogantly speaking in Shona!! People who seek to heal those historical "moments of madness" that President Robert Mugabe alluded to can not do this. The operative concept here seems to be to provoke and marginalize the people of MaNdebeleland.

Educational Marginalization

Most primary school children in MaNdebeleland are victims of schools that are poorly equipped, taught by untrained teachers, untrained because they went to ill-equipped high schools where they were also taught by untrained teachers without adequate teaching aids (e.g. books, especially in the areas of science and mathematics).

As a result, the colleges and universities in this region train students from other regions who graduate and generally return to their home regions after benefiting from training in MaNdebeleland but with no obligation or burden to do anything for this part of the country.

The fact that the majority of all students in all colleges and universities in MaNdebeleland do not hold ID numbers with their home districts being anyway in MaNdebeleland, is ample proof that from primary school, through secondary school and through high school (if the later is even there), there is systemic marginalization of the peoples of MaNdebeleland by denying them access to quality education.

Those primary school children, who have qualified teachers, have imposed upon them, Shona speaking individuals who neither know nor desire to learn the pupils' mother tongue. Now that, my countrymen is marginalization of diabolic proportions! No! that is more that marginalization: that is cultural murder. This system is creating dissonance between the child, his language and culture. The child looses touch with his or her roots! The consequences of such action are unfathomable for that person's sense of cultural perpetuity and integrity!

Marginalization From Business & Employment Opportunities

A fair estimate of who owns business in Bulawayo and other surrounding business centers in MaNdebeleland, currently, will show that one in three is someone from outside MaNdebeleland. If one were to look for the top managers in commerce and industry in Bulawayo it would also emerge that the majority of all Managing Directors and CEO of companies in Bulawayo, with the exception of the Bulawayo City Council and its auxiliary organization, is someone from outside MaNdebeleland.

As properties exchange hands from the former owners (mostly whites and Asians in the central business district of the city), it will also emerge that the new owners are not people from MaNdebeleland. There is no magic to this matter really. The bottom line is: Who has access to capital to make such large capital investments? Some of these investors were only small children when Zimbabwe got its independence in 1980! One then wonders what legitimate sources of income earned them such a huge nest egg?

Further, one wonders how come this ability could be absent from all the sons and daughters of MaNdebeleland? Again there is no need to speculate. This is another clear indication of the effects of marginalization of the people, of this region by the financial sector. The doors to large investment loans are closed to the people of MaNdebeleland but PUMA is preparing to open them.

The heinousness of the process strikes one when one observes that when you get into places of employment, beginning with the security guard at the entrance, to the one sweeping and making tea, to the receptions or front office clerical or secretarial employee all the way up to management, there is a saddening absence of the children of this region of Zimbabwe within their own region! Marginalization!!!

So one is forced to ask: where the people's government expects these people to live and work? One is forced to ponder, what was crueler: the Gukurahundi massacres or this form of economic massacre?

Marginalization In The Banking And Financial Sector

Banks that operate in the region have managers who cannot make decisions on loans and investments. These managers are mere ‘children' who are exported here but do not know any stakeholders in the region. The real players, who have a strong marginalization agenda, make all the important decisions in Harare. Maybe, these organizations are set up to provide financial support for those people who have come from outside the region to do business here. Such institutions are of no value to us. This also is marginalization! Indeed, the doors to large investment loans are closed to the people of MaNdebeleland and PUMA is going to open them!

When Dr. Gideon Gono was addressing a meeting in Masvingo a year ago or so, where the local business people were complaining that they see tenders being given to people from Harare at the expense of local players. He told the people of Masvingo to remember that God made the resources in Masvingo for the people of Masvingo. Therefore they must demand that their companies be given first preferences when tenders are made for projects in Masvingo. That is what we demand as well as peace loving Zimbabweans. We are able to do these things for ourselves.

At a graduation ceremony in private university here in MaNdebeleland, Dr. Gideon Gono stated that as far his assessment had shown him, the region of MaNdebeleland has produced some of the most ethical and effective human resource capital this country has and that more of such human capital needs to be developed. How can that come true in a system that is so skewed against MaNdebeleland?

Marginalization in Media

Whether it is on radio or TV, one is left with the impression that only people from MaShonaland are able to produce sitcoms and anchor all programs in this country. That only people from MaShonaland are able to sing and dance to all kinds of music: whether modern or traditional. That, the only culture that exists in Zimbabwe is Shona culture. In fact one is left with the impression that only people from MaShonaland live in this country!!! Then once in a while there is a program or song in SiNdebele or English Generally on TV, the other languages are not used.

In radio there is an entire station dedicated to languages spoken in Zimbabwe other than Shona and SiNdebele. But the bulk of air time is given to those languages spoken in MaNdebeleland. MaShonaland is then projected as a homogenous territory where only standard Shona is spoken, which as we all know is a serious fallacy. But then, this is being done with the goal of dividing and marginalizing the people of MaNdebeleland. Sikhangle Madoda! We can see!

Non-Shona speakers are expected to sit and watch Shona speaking citizens do everything until they believe that only Shona speaking citizens are able to do anything. Some of them (i.e. Non-Shona speakers) chose to operate and function as if they were Shona speaking Zimbabweans! When the Smith regime used to do things like that during the liberations struggle we called it brainwashing! What are we to call this monster that is rearing its ugly head at us now? Is this what we all fought and some of our brothers and sisters died for? We shout a resounding No!!

It was Margaret Thatcher the former Prime Minister of Great Britain, commenting on the idea of having a common language for the European Union, who declared that such a move would be "immoral". She was merely responding to an idea. We speak looking at the results of 25 years of immorality. And what a ghastly sight! A TV system that is bereft of ideas, quality programming which currently maintains a false monopoly. The majority of people from MaShonaland are not even watching it! Why all this sacrifice in quality and competitive programming? Just to ensure that the peoples of MaNdebeleland are controlled and marginalized!

There are many artists in MaNdebeleland who have recorded outstanding music and music videos, but they are not given any airplay at all. The ZANU PF controlled government lets its employees play music videos from all over Africa and the world, before they play anything by an artist from MaNdebeleland. With out a doubt there is Kalanga, T onga V enda and/or Xhosa art, but the Shona art and culture is given undue prominence in the media! Comrades, the English say: "Charity begins at home."

For an example, The ZANUPF controlled government allows that during a program called Ezomgido (a Ndebele concept), a presenter week after week starts and ends the program without playing a single video by an artist from MaNdebeleland! The only TV news program anchored by someone from MaNdebeleland is one called This Morning. But even this host is now completely crowded by helpers from MaShonaland and sometimes she is not on set!




The most curious of all examples of marginalization in our media system is the programming implication that there is no one from MaNdebeleland who can even sing Christian gospel music! Have you watched the Prime Gospel Show lately? There are generally no Christian songs from this part of the country? When in fact South African, Ndebele Christians as well as white missionaries brought Christianity to MaShonaland! What irony!

That is the level to which the ZANU PF controlled government has marginalized the peoples from MaNdebeleland: They cannot even use the media to speak to God in their own language! There is a Shona popular artist who sings a song that suggests that the reason that all the blessings are going to white people is that preachers and those who pray do so in English. One wonders whether there is an attempt to get all the blessings to go to Shona speaking Zimbabweans because even God is being forced to hear Zimbabweans speaks to Him only in Shona in the media!

Marginalization in Land Allocation

In the eyes of the international community the forced land acquisition and distribution exercise from the former white farmers to the so-called landless blacks was the most contentious program ever done by the ZANU PF controlled government. We say so-called because most landless blacks in Zimbabwe are still landless after the land reform exercise. One of the major problems for us is that the land that really matters in MaNdebeleland (e.g. Nyamayendlovu aquifer) has been given to people from outside MaNdebeleland. Further, most of the best game ranches between Bulawayo and Hwange (over 600 000 hectares of land) have also been given to people from outside MaNdebeleland. These outsiders boast of the millions of United State dollars they have made from safari trips and how they have used the money to develop clinics and schools in Mashonaland!!

Whereas we as the people of MaNdebeleland know upstanding national citizens who were asked to vacate land they had been allocated by the land distribution exercise in Mashonaland. They were told to go to their home region in MaNdebeleland area to get land and there was no recourse for them. Recently the National Chairman of ZANUPF lost a bid through the courts to get a ranch in MaNdebeleland in favour of an individual from outside MaNdebeleland that he claimed was his because he holds an offer letter for it, Would anyone argue when we say: were are being marginalized. Even such a high-ranking party official is not exempt from being marginalized.


Marginalization in Mining:

Our region is the richest region in mines and mineral resources. But which mines are managed and operated by individuals from our region? From the coal mines of Hwange; the gold mines in Nkayi, Kwekwe, Filabusi through to Belingwe; the tin mines of Shangani Mine; and the asbestos mines and emerald mines of Shabani (Zvishavane), the iron ore in Kwekwe, there is none from the region who manages those resources. Neither are the bulk of the employees local. Those resources are sold and those areas remain under-developed because the proceeds from those recourses, (if they are not stolen by these people who know that these things do not belong to them anyway), proceed to develop areas far and removed from their place of origin.

Even in the case of natural gas that is yet to be exploited, in Lupane, none of the people from Lupane sit on the board that is working with those doing feasibility studies on how it can be accessed and used. That, Bantu be Nkosi yo Nhlanga is what we call marginalization!!

Marginalization In Transport And Road Networks

Other than the main highways that connect Zimbabwe with neighbouring countries, the road networks in MaNdebeleland that are decent, owe their state to the colonial government.

The only roads in MaNdebeleland that were developed by the ZANUPF controlled government since independence 25 years ago are: one that joins Gwayi River and Solusi University (off the Khami Prison Road); a small distance out of Tsholotsho to Sipepa Centre; the stretch from Kwekwe to Nkayi and from Gwelo to Lower Gwelo. What is painfully intriguing is that between centers like Kezi, Nkayi, NyamayeNdlovu, Tsholotsho and Bulawayo, which is the industrial capital of the entire region of MaNdebeleland, the roads are in a horrible state of disrepair!! Some of these roads see a little developmental activity during electioneering and then they are abandoned in a state that is worse than the one they were in had they been left alone.

Whereas during colonial days there were bus operators who were indigenous to MaNdebeleland plying the roads in the region, most of those permits are now in the hands of people from outside the region. That is marginalization and we can no longer allow it to happen.

THE CUMULATIVE EFFECT OF MARGINALIZATION

We could go on an on. There is marginalization in every conceivable aspect of our lives as people from MaNdebeleland by the ZANUPF controlled government.

Unfortunately in a bid to sound national, in spite of the political mandate we gave it, MDC failed to enunciate this aspect of our life. So six years later after we have consistently voted for MDC our situation continues to worsen. We can no longer just write it on walls and signposts that "Sekwanele, Its Enough". We now have to stand on rooftops and fly above the ground and write on the blue skies of Bulawayo and declare without any equivocation that we are not going to take this marginalization anymore! PUMA MTHWAKAZI!

The ZANUPF controlled government thought they could exterminate us with Gukurahundi and they failed. Why did they fail? The reason is that we were and are strong, indeed stronger. Now for twenty-five years they have pursued the path of marginalization (an indirect from of genocide) to break our souls and spirits but again they have failed and even if they seek to continue this process, they will fail. One wishes they could learn and pursue instead a path of honest and transparent coexistence. That is why we have come together to form PUMA to call them to an honest transparent course of co-existence.

Unfortunately for them, because they do not employ professional people to marginalize MaNdebeleland, what has been effectively accomplished is the marginalization of Zimbabwe in the global village, as well as the destruction of one of soundest economies in Africa. In the process the ZANUPF government has earned itself a reputation as an outpost of tyranny that needs to be punished, according to the Secretary of State and the President of Unites States of America! The wages of evil strategies do backfire, do they not?

We want to declare to the ZANUPF controlled government and all the people of Zimbabwe that all the people who have chosen to live in Zimbabwe are Zimbabweans, whether they are white or black or brown or yellow! Whether they were the next emigrants after AbaTwa, like some of the ethnic groups in Mashonaland and MaNdebeleland or they were those who came to this country in the 19th Century like some of the peoples in MaNdebeleland or indeed later than that. The ZANUPF government cannot sit somewhere and wish those people away. Now they may wish they could, but truly the do not have the power to do so. It does not matter how many chimurengas and operations they conceive!!

The ZANUPF controlled government cannot in 21st century successfully set up a tribal hegemony. That belongs to bygone days! These are days of setting up effective and working coalitions and partnerships both locally, regionally and globally.

The ZANUPF controlled government's marginalization of MaNdebeleland has become a form of oppression. Paulo Friere the South American adult educator and political activist, writing in the book, "The Pedagogy of the Oppressed", states that the process of oppressing, oppresses the oppressor. He cannot free himself from this process. The only person who can free the oppressor from this situation is the oppressed.

We want to free the ZANUPF controlled government from the burden of controlling and marginalizing us as the people of MaNdebeleland. We are more than capable to manage our own regional affairs just like they largely manage their own regional affairs.

We do not need to have all kinds of professional labour imported from elsewhere to come and manage us. Neither do we need school leavers to come and sweep our office nor do other manual and menial tasks for us. We do not need Shona speaking doctors or nurses or police officers to manage law and order for us. Law and order courses in our very arteries and veins. We have our own who end up, in frustration, being eaten by crocodiles or drowning as they try to cross the Limpopo River looking for options and opportunities elsewhere.

We do not need for people to come from other regions to teach us, to run banks for us, to operate businesses for us, to do manufacturing for us, to do construction for us, or paint for us. We have very ethical, capable and hard working professional and tradesmen of all ethnicities who can do that here.

And if ever we will need such people we will choose them for yourselves: We do not need the ZANUPF controlled government to impose them on us or to use their emissaries to do so.

We are sons and daughters of warriors. We are not afraid of the fear mongering tactics of the ZANUPF controlled government. We have heard the frequent insults that the former vice-president of PF ZAPU and now Vice-President of Zimbabwe, Dr. J Msika hurls at us, calling us dogs, in SiNdebele "Imgodoyi" for what he may perceive as our mistakes or faults.

We wonder if maybe the ZANU PF controlled government thinks we are dogs too. That could explain the dog treatment that we have received in the last twenty-five years. A dog hunts and catches the prey, and then the hunter comes and chases it away from the prey shouting "futsek!" If that is the perception, we want the ZANUPF controlled government to know that PUMA has been born to raise the children of Mthwakazi from dogs to lions whose prey cannot be taken away like you would do from a loyal dog.


What Does PUMA want to do about this?

1. Governance:
􏰁 We call for a government that will devolve power to the provincial levels

􏰁 There must be elected provincial premiers with executive powers to manage the affairs and resources of their provinces with out any interference from central government.

􏰁 These premiers will preside over provincial assemblies with cabinets composed of MPs elected by registered voters.

􏰁 We want a central government that will only control the vital ministries like the Ministry of Defence and Foreign affairs and National Finance.

􏰁 The Central government will also have parliamentarians that fairly and equitably represent the provincial governmental interest in the country

􏰁 We call for the demilitarization of all services corps: The prison services must become correctional services and be fully managed under Ministry of Home Affairs. The police service must be provincially and municipally managed with a minimal national force. The traffic police must fall under the Ministry of Transport and Roads.

􏰁 The Ministry of Justice also needs to be depoliticized so that the judiciary is free to monitor both legislative and executive wings of government.

􏰁 The Ministry of Justice needs to set up a Commission that will hear and resolve the simmering issues that are related to the Gukurahundi era, not for punitive purposes but for national healing and progress

2. The Economy

• The place where in any national resource is sourced must benefit the most from that resource. Trusts companies must be set up to ensure that funds are set aside to give back to these communities. So that for instance, Hwange benefits from the proceeds of coal more than any other part of the country. Kwekwe and Nkayi for instance benefits from the proceeds of iron ore and the gold in its surroundings more than any other part of the country.

• There has to be a deliberate policy that ensures that local people are employed at all levels in any economic undertaking done in their area. If by any chance there is no one from an area to manage a company that depends on the critical raw materials from an area for its profits, then the company must set up a staff development plan that will ensure that within the shortest period of time a local person is given the training and expertise to take over the management of those resources.

• The Zambezi Water Project and the Gwayi-Tshangane Dam project must be depoliticized and given into capable hands and properly funded so that they maybe completed timeously.

• The down stream industries that will arise from those projects must benefit the many villages and small growth points that currently dot the distance that will be traversed by the project on its way to Bulawayo and beyond in MaNdebeleland South. No big sharks from outside the region must be allowed to come and take over the opportunities that rightly belong to the peoples of MaNdebeleland, unless they come to be partners with local people.

• PUMA will work with other ethical and honest players to ensure that we have a government that manages the country's economy well so that we may begin to repatriate skilled and trained Zimbabwean labour to come and benefit our economic growth and turn-around program.

• PUMA wants a deliberate affirmative action program to be set up by central government in order to correct the twenty-five years of unfair business practice that has arrested development in MaNdebeleland.

3. Housing.

Houses in any municipality will be allocated to people who are on the city council waiting list without anyone being brought through some militarized clandestine program to jump the waiting list. What was recently reported in the media as happening in Gwanda where government employees who no longer live in Gwanda were allocated houses first before individuals on the waiting list cannot be allowed to happen?

4. Constitution

PUMA will work with all people of integrity to write a new constitution for Zimbabwe.

Of paramount importance to PUMA would be a constitutional provision for an effective provincial governance and control so as to create an honest context for democratic experiences for all the peoples of this beautiful country.

There is no ethnic group anywhere in the world today, which can work selflessly for the interest of another ethnic group when the benefiting ethnic group does not sit on the same table as a stakeholder. Twenty-five years of ZANUPF ruled has etched that in our minds, hearts and bodies forever.

5. Health

PUMA will fight to have the AIDS levy managed by provincially health authorities so as to benefit people infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.

CALL FOR THE PEOPLE OF MANDEBELELAND AND THE WORLD OVER

We of PUMA have learned lessons of the rewards of courageous action from other minorities of old. These are people who survived and challenged such oppressive elements, as we need to challenge in the ZANU PF controlled government for our right to exist and enjoy liberty and justice in this country and land of our birth. The Jewish people, under Persian captivity, are such an apt illustration for us as people of MaNdebeleland.

The story is recorded in the Biblical book of Esther and told regularly in Jewish annual national and family festivals. Haman, the Persian, had the king of Persia pass a decree to exterminate all Jews on a particular day because, although all people saluted him at the gate, Modercai the Jew, did not bow down to him.

Modercai, the uncle of Queen Esther, the new Queen of Persia (a Jewess), challenges her to get involved and secure the Kings intervention against this diabolic plan of Haman. When she resists, stating matters of royal protocol, he effectively says to her: "Salvation for the Jews will come, whether through you or through another. But then, why would you want to pass the opportunity that God gives, for it come through you? Maybe God has put you where you are for such a time as this!"

When she rises to the challenge of participating in the emancipation of her people. She sends a reply to her uncle and says to him: "Protocol or no protocol, I am going to face the King. AND IF I PERISH, I PERISH.

As people of MaNdebeleland, we also stand on this threshold, as did Esther. As a generation, maybe God has put us here for such at time as this. We call for all the justice loving people of the world to stand with us too.

We stand up against a regime that has created a failed state because of gross economic and political mismanagement.

We stand up against a regime that has an unparalleled record of human rights abuses.

We stand up against a regime that honest observers, the world over, have declared is bereft of the rule of law.

We stand up against a regime that, Doctor Gideon. Gono recently declared, has brought this economy to his hands and knees because of corruption, tribalism and regionalism.

But we stand together with people of high integrity and a sense of nationhood: the people of MaNdebeleland.

We stand up together with people who frown at corruption and devious behavior and practices: the people of MaNdebeleland.

We stand with the free world to end the image of our beloved country as an outpost of tyranny, all because of the excesses of the ZANUPF controlled regime.

We stand up because we would like our country to, not only look east but to look west, south and north for economic growth and partnerships.

Like Mordecai the Jew, PUMA challenges all the people of MaNdebeleland to stand up and give the ZANUPF controlled government the freedom it needs from the burden of controlling us.

To achieve this PUMA is ready to field candidates in any election local or national but only within the confines of our region as we define it

We are ready to make strategic win-win partnerships with other peoples of Zimbabwe that will benefit MaNdebeleland.

PUMA urges the people of MaNdebeleland to give us their mandate by voting for us, to represent them in making valid submissions for their freedom and right to self-government and pursuit of happiness within the provisions of a realistically drawn constitution for the effective and progressive governance of this country.

Some think that is too late to turn back the hands of time.

We say this is the time to turn back the hands of time while moving them forward to brighter days for all Zimbabweans but especially for the people of MaNdebeleland.

Let us stand up and move to end this marginalization. And PUMA says, Mthwakazi ondlela zimhlophe:

"IF WE PERISH, WE PERISH."
PUMA! SIBANYE!!!
PUMA for substantive devolution of Power
PUMA To Reestablish Our Ceremonial And Cultural Monarch and Chiefs
PUMA to end MARGINALIZA TION
PUMA to end OPPRESSION
PUMA for Local Controls Of Our RESOURCES
PUMA to Manage the Health of our People
PUMA to Control Our SCHOOLS
PUMA to Control our MINES
PUMA to Control our LAND
PUMA for a Completed Zambezi Water Project
PUMA to Control our BUSINESSES
PUMA to Develop And Promote Our CULTURES
PUMA to Develop our LANGUAGES and ARTS
PUMA! MTHW AKAZI!! SIBANYE!!
THIS IS THE TIME for PUMA! SO YOU MUST PUMA
Adopted: February 5, 2006

PUMA MaNdebeleland Union

Source: PUMA

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