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The birth of tribal domination in Zimbabwean politics

by Jonathan Maphenduka
17 May 2019 | 4569 Views
On 8 November 1978, at the age of 61 years Chief Khayisa Ndiweni, formed the United National Federal Party (UNFP), as a break away from the Zimbabwe United Peoples Organization (ZUPO), a political party formed by the joint Council of Chiefs of Mthwakazi and Zimbabwe, which was led by Chief Chirawu as the President of the Council of Chiefs, the Vice President Chief Khayisa Ndiweni became its Vice President.

ZUPO had been formed on the bases of equal representation for the two Territories. The joint Council of the Chiefs of both Zimbabwe and Mthwakazi had approved that each Territory shall be divided into eight regions to be used as election constituencies and ensure local representation in any future elections. ZUPO pledged itself to select candidates in each region from amongst the local people. The candidates will have to be locally known and respected persons, familiar with the particular constituency's life and problems. This was the first political party in Southern Rhodesia to recognize the different Territories which have their natural rights to be represented by their own trusted and elected representatives.

During the formation of the Zimbabwe-Rhodesia government under the 3 March 1978 agreement, the Executive Council of four (EXCO), which formed the presidency happened to have one white and three Zimbabweans with no Mthwakazi representative, and the Ministerial Council lacked equal representation.

In September 1978, ZUPO changed its original Policy of Equal Representatation. Its National Executive without the participation of the Mthwakazi Chiefs held a meeting and resolved that the country shall be divided into four regions, three of which to report to Salisbury (Harare in Zimbabwe) the forth was to report at Bulawayo, in Mthwakazi. When the internal settlement was formed, MaShonaland region got represented by Chief Chirawu, Manicaland by Bishop Muzorewa and Victoria region by Ndabaningi Sithole in the ESCO that formed the collective presidency with Ian Douglas Smith representing the whites. All the three regions happened to form one country, Zimbabwe. Mthwakazi was not represented in the Council of Four. The Cabinet which made all the decisions was also dominated by the Zimbabwe Ministers, with only four Mthwakazians out of 18 Ministers.

Later on in 1979, when the Lancaster House Constitution was made, the four provinces of the internal settlement were styled the electoral colleges and each of the three Zimbabwe regions was allocated 20 seats making a total of 60 seats, against 20 seats allocated to Mthwakazi. Re-Awakening of the abolition of the Rule by ConquestIn May 1978, the Mthwakazi chiefs felt uneasy and held a meeting at Ntabazinduna and resolved that the Executive Council be enlarged by another member to include a representative of Mthwakazi. The request never materialized. At a further meeting the chiefs charged Chief Khayisa Ndiweni with the formation of a political party, the policy of which should be aimed to ensure that any future government will be based on the principle of non-domination.




On 8 November Chief Khayisa resigned from his posts both in the Transitional Government and in ZUPO. On 16 November, he announced the UNFP which advocated and ensured that any future system of government will be based on the principle of non-domination. The UNFP decided that the only solution which could save Rhodesia from a complete break up and could secure unity was the establishment of federation of the two Territories. Chief Chirawu and the National Executive of ZUPO accused Chief Khayisa of tribalism for demanding equal representation for his Territory, while they practiced not just tribalism, but sheer nepotism. The UNFP had limited funds, but relied on the solution that it offered to the nation which was just and sensible. It urged its supporters to spread the Party's message and distribute its printed policies. However it was soon overshadowed by the Patriotic Front War Lords and failed to gain strength after the decolonization of Zimbabwe, and the subsequent transfer of the racial domination by the tribal domination of Mthwakazi.

However the vision of non domination remained living within the Inter-Cultural Society of Mthwakazi, until after the Gukurahundi Genocide, when its victims and survivors started to re-initiate it. That came as the birth of many small organizations which advocated for the abolition of the Rule by Conquest and the automatic restoration of the Kingdom of Mthwakazi, and subsequently the union of the victims and survivors became the nucleus of U-Mhlahlo we Sizwe sikaMthwakazi on 11 June 2006. U-Mhlahlo is walking on the footsteps of the founders of the UNFP and carrying forward their unfulfilled mission.




Khayisa Ndiweni Nhlanhla Ndiweni Mthwakazi


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Source: Rule by Conquest

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