Towards the Establishment of a Mthwakazi State

Towards the Establishment of a Mthwakazi State
Published: 18 May 2020 | by Dr Mpiyezwe Churchill Guduza, MLF President



The purpose of this essay is to share my ideas on the establishment of the Mthwakazi state, a cause whose realisation is long overdue. When this essay was complete and ready for dissemination, there was a heated debate about the legacy of Joshua Nkomo, the late ZAPU leader. My friend and former comrade in arms, Fidelis Ncube, whose nom de guerre during the war against the Rhodesian was Masunga Muswe (but popularly known as General Nandinandi), wrote a factual and critical piece about Nkomo and cautioned against uncritical praise of Nkomo’s leadership. His objective assessment of Nkomo’s legacy invited vitriol from some sections of the Mthwakazi community. I intervened in support of my friend and former comrade in arms; and in doing so, invited even more vitriol. I then decided to revise this essay a bit to put everything in its proper historical perspective.

I am now in my sixties. So is my friend Fidelis. So too are many former ZIPRA combatants. It pains me very much to realise that we are about to depart this earth leaving behind an untold history of the war of liberation, of which Joshua Nkomo was the foremost leader. What pains me all the more is that the vitriol directed at us came from, among others, a journalist and an eminent Mthwakazi historian. These are people who, by virtue of their profession and training, should know better.  

Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Churchill Mpiyesizwe Guduza, an ex-ZIPRA combatant. Before joining ZIPRA, my early years were spent in Johannesburg, South Africa, where I was born before moving to then Rhodesia where I did my later years of primary education in Tsholotsho, from where I proceeded to do my Junior Secondary School Certificate at Fatima Secondary School in Lupane. I had gone to Rhodesia during the early 1960s after my father, Makhathini Bhekisizwe Guduza, had been deported there straight to Gonakudzingwa detention, next to the Mozambique border. He had been deported for his involvement in the African National Congress (ANC).

After attaining my junior secondary certificate at Fatima, I returned to South Africa in 1973 due to lack of funding for my further education. It was while I was in Johannesburg that I also became involved in the youth wing of the African National Congress. This was not surprising because I had literally grown up under a political environment in both countries. What assisted in the shaping of my political consciousness were the many visits that I made to my father’s places of incarceration - Gonakudzingwa detention centre and Wha-Wha prison in Gwelo. Overall, my father was one of the longest political prisoners in Rhodesia who spent 18 years from 1962 to 1980. He would serve more years in prison under the ZANU-PF government until his release after the signing of ZANU-PF/PF-ZAPU Unity Accord in 1987. 

Volunteering for war

My experience growing up turned me into a young revolutionary at a very age; and gave me an identity and infused in an insatiable appetite for justice that would define me all my life until this day. After the June 16, 1976 revolt I was compelled to leave South Africa for exile, as it was no longer possible to confront injustice by way of protests and throwing stones against a ruthless army that had no regard for human rights. I had participated in the Soweto revolt through various acts of making our habitat ungovernable, such as burning down the so-called Bantu Administration rent offices, beerhalls, buses and other apartheid infrastructure and symbols. The response of the apartheid regime had been swift and ruthless, resulting in scores of young people being arrested and disappeared at various police stations such as Brixton and John Vorster Square. I therefore set out for exile, at first unsure whether to join the ANC’s Umkhonto We Sizwe (MK) or ZAPU’s ZIPRA. I chose to go and join ZIPRA for two reasons. The first reason was that my father was incarcerated in Rhodesia; and second, I had reasoned that Rhodesia would have to be freed first before South Africa.  I was 19 years old.

It is therefore important to note that the circumstances of my upbringing and my young political life in South Africa served as the main drivers for my voluntary decision to join ZIPRA. At no time was I forced to join ZIPRA, but joined it voluntarily, unlike some who were forcibly taken by armed freedom fighters to join the war. This is the distinction that my comrade and commander, General Nandinandi highlighted in his recent article. After arriving at ZAPU’s Nampundu transit camp in Lusaka, Zambia, my cousin Gordon Sibutha Butshe wanted to send me to school somewhere in America, but I refused, pointing out that I wanted to train and free my father and his comrades from detention in Rhodesia, together with the communities they represented. For those who do not know it, Gordon Sibutha Butshe was a member of ZIPRA’s High Command, deputising Dumiso Dabengwa in the National Security Organisation (NSO).

Thereafter I was sent for military training in Angola, about 50 kilometres east of a town called Luso (now Luena), at Mboma Military Training Camp. I was part of the first group of 2,000 cadres to be trained as ZIPRA’s regular army, trained by Cuban instructors. I was trained as a commander of the artillery specialising in 80 mm and 120 mm mortars.

 At Mboma, I was also charged with the responsibility of camp security, thereby assisting the overall camp commander, Tshile Nleya whose nom de guerre was Ben ‘Dubhu’ Mathe. My nom de guerre was Taffy Carlos. Mr Joshu Nkomo, came for our pass out parade when we completed our military training in June 1977. I was part of the command structure that took him through the demonstrations of our capabilities and readiness to confront the Rhodesian forces.

During that encounter, I had reminded him of who I was, that little boy who used to sing ZAPU revolutionary songs and march at Gonakudzingwa, whenever I visited my father. Nkomo knew me very well from my childhood years at Gonakudzingwa and could not believe that I had grown up to be one of ZIPRA’s first artillery commanders. 

After the pass out parade, we set out on our way back to Zambia, from where I was immediately deployed to the Death and Casualty (DK) front, this time as an infantry company commander. It was at this front where we found about 35 of our comrades who had trained with us in Angola having already been massacred by the Rhodesian forces in a dawn ambush about two days earlier. We had to bury these comrades, whose bodies had been rapidly decomposing, using our bayonet as we did not have picks and shovels.

And as we moved from this spot after the burial on our way to the mighty Zambezi River, we encountered a pile of six more bodies that had been boobytrapped. One of the fallen was my cousin, Stumbeko Butshe. As soon as we had defused the booby-traps and buried them, again using our bayonets as picks, we continued and crossed the Zambezi River, and began the fight of our lives against the Rhodesian forces, destroying the Kavira Forest Military Camp (KFMC) in our first ever battle experience.

We had planned and executed an extraordinary and successful attack against this feared military camp that all previous ZIPRA units did their best to avoid. Ian Smith was so shocked that he had to lie on the radio that the camp had been destroyed by Cuban soldiers. From there we moved into the interior, where we fought in Binga, Lupane areas of Mzola, Dongamuzi, Jotsholo, right through to Tsholotsho and Plumtree. My unit dealt the Rhodesian forces many a devastating blow.

I met General Nandinandi for the first time in the battlefields of Tsholotsho. He had been trained as the first group in Tanzania, before he went to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), now Russia, for commando and officer training. He was therefore a high-ranking military officer to me and we fought together in Tsholotsho and Plumtree, before deciding to go back to Lusaka to sort out ZIPRA’s High Command that was commanding the liberation war from the comfort of Lusaka, in Zambia. ZIPRA’s High Command was out of touch with the realities of the war, to the extent that supply chain requests were never taken seriously. The fighters that had been sent to collect more supplies would simply be left to rot at Nampundu Camp and rendered useless. We often ran out of ammunition and survived on capturing weapons and ammunition from the defeated enemy, The High Command could not even address the use of new and more sophisticated weaponry by the enemy in the battlefields of Rhodesia.

They also never bothered to equip us with communication gadgets. Although we already had a trained regular army with new sophisticated weaponry, it had not been deployed, hence battlefields continued to be characterised by a situation in which supplies had literally to be carried on one’s back from Zambia to any corner of the country on foot. Yet even then, freedom fighters had effectively established semi-liberated areas in most of the battlefields of Rhodesia. What was left was to finish off the job, but the High Command was not coming to the party.

Over and above our military exploits, I fought for justice and discipline and this saw me organising probably the largest military conference inside Rhodesia around November 1977, at the Mzola forests in Lupane, with representatives of ZIPRA units coming as far as Gokwe, Silobela, Nkayi, and Lupane. The conference had about three hundred attendants, and disciplinary protocols were agreed on including outlawing harassment of civilians and sexual abuse and banning of sleeping in civilian homes which had hitherto bred sexual abuse by guerrillas and also served to expose civilians to harm by Rhodesian forces. Also outlawed at this conference was harming of civilians on unproven allegations of being so-called Rhodesian spies.

Fighting impunity within ZIPRA

In August 1978, myself together with Fidelis (Masunga Muswe, nom de guerre - aka General Nandinandi) and other comrades crossed into Botswana from where we proceeded to Zambia in an attempt to engage with ZIPRA’s High Command about the changing dynamics in the battlefields of Rhodesia. No sooner had we arrived than, rather than meeting with us, they sent ZIPRA’s Chief of Military Operations, Jevana Maseko (nom de guerre Enock Tshangane) to arrest those they perceived as ring leaders. However, Tshangane was very unfortunate, because I managed to disarm him together with his bodyguards and sent them packing from Nampundu camp.

After this event, we immediately handed over the weapons to the camp commander, Killion Bhebhe, to demonstrate our goodwill and also that we would not tolerate such a situation again. But thereafter, a unit of 30 Kabwe trained guerrillas was subsequently deployed to the camp, again with a clear intention of intimidating us. Like Tshangane, we disarmed this unit, and soon after that went to the ZAPU’s headquarters at Zimbabwe House, in Lusaka, where we intended arresting the entire High Command and taking it to the front so that they could command the war there and not from the comfort zone of Lusaka.

Fortunately, for the High Command, somebody had warned them in advance of our intended raid, and therefore did not pitch up at Zimbabwe House, in Lusaka. Instead, they sent the national executive headed by Joseph Msika (Secretary General), comprising of Samuel Munodawafa (National Chairman) and Amon Jirira (National Treasurer). Due to the intransigence of this national executive (all Shona speaking by the way), General Nandinandi found himself extremely annoyed and slapped Amon Jirira on his bald head. It was then agreed at the meeting with these members of ZAPU’s national executive, that the only person capable of resolving our grievances as ZIPRA fighters would be Mr Joshua Nkomo, ZAPU’s President. At the time he was reportedly outside Zambia on official ZAPU business. After his return a delegation of four representing approximately four hundred guerrillas, was selected to go and meet with Mr Joshua Nkomo to present before him the grievances of ZIPRA fighters. I led that delegation, comprising of Majuta Ncube (nom de guerre John Chironda), Mphathwas Ndlovu (nom de guerre Magwadla), Captain (nom de guerre) and Ambros (nom de guerre).

The first thing that Nkomo asked was for us to introduce ourselves and our origins. He already knew me and reiterated that my father would soon be freed from prison in Rhodesia. He also knew the parents of my fellow comrades, more especially that of Majuta Ncube as a staunch ZAPU supporter who came from the same Kezi district with him.

The resolution that Nkomo took at that meeting was for us to tell our comrades at the camp that he was fully aware of what was going on and therefore from that point moving forward we were not to take any instructions from anyone apart from himself. According to Nkomo, that intervention from him was intended to protect us from being harmed by any commander. He told us that he would be personally coming to Nampundu camp to resolve the matter by way of either sending some of us for further military training or deploying us back to the battlefields of Rhodesia. Furthermore, he told us that we should ignore any instructions from anyone who said they had been sent by him to the Nampundu camp to give us any form of instructions. Specifically, he told us to remind ZIPRA fighters at Nampundu that there was no one as big as he was, and therefore we should not be misled by anybody claiming to be him by assuming his identity.

Yet exactly the opposite happened within a week. Some units of ZIPRA were deployed about two kilometres along the Nampundu River and word sent by Dumiso Dabengwa to instruct ZIPRA guerrillas to pack their kitbags and leave to the camp to go and board trucks that would be taking us for further military training. This was in violation of Nkomo’s clear instructions.

As I was commanding Nampundu Camp then, I immediately called for a meeting of all ZIPRA fighters and told them about this development. I explained in that meeting that it was clear that if we did not follow those orders there was no question that Dumiso Dabengwa had come prepared to disarm us no matter what, and therefore it was up to the individual ZIPRA fighters to take that decision whether to obey or not. Within minutes, nearly all the freedom fighters had packed and left the camp in accordance with the instruction of Dumiso Dabengwa. Only fifteen out of four hundred remained in defiance against Dumiso Dabengwa’s orders. I was one of that fifteen hard-core ZIPRA guerrillas. Soon we were attacked by our own units on the orders of Dumiso Dabengwa, a battle that raged until dusk. We withdrew from the camp intact without having suffered any casualties, after having run out of ammunition. Unfortunately for the High Command, they had sent a unit that was clearly without battle experience and we enjoyed harassing them. We had agreed to avoid killing them but we made sure that they felt the heat of battle administered to them by hardened warriors.

From then onwards we were hunted dead or alive in Zambia, accused of having attempted a coup against Nkomo’s leadership. Others succeeded in making it to the battlefields of Rhodesia where they continued fighting the Rhodesian military until they were demobilised in accordance to the terms of the Lancaster House settlement. Others were arrested and incarcerated at Lusaka’s maximum prison and only released after Zimbabwe attained independence.

As for me, I tried to make contacts with Mr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo through some ZAPU civilian contacts in Lusaka so that I could report back as to what had happened following our meeting with him. This failed and I then decided to see if it would be possible to meet with him in Angola as Zambia had suddenly turned to be a death zone for me.  I escaped Zambia and crossed the mighty Zambezi River again, this time into Angola by swimming across on a log. In Angola, I was captured by an Angolan army (FALPA) unit and subsequently integrated into that unit, appointed to the rank of Major and fought alongside it against UNITA and FNLA bandits. From there I was assisted by this unit to proceed to Luanda, thousands of kilometres away, by a goods train on the famous Benguela railway line to Lusu (Luena) again, where I had trained.

There the Military Governor of Lusu explained to me that protocol did not allow them to make direct contact with Mr Joshua Nkomo, as that would be deemed interference in the internal affairs of ZAPU and therefore it was only ZAPU’s Chief Representative in Luanda who could make that call. From there, I was flown on a two-hour flight to Luanda where on arrival I was taken to the residence of ZAPU’s Chief Representative, Easter Ndiweni. No sooner had I arrived there than Easter Ndiweni colluded with some corrupt Angola prison official, resulting in my incarceration at Luanda’s notorious prison, House of Recuperation, just next to the Atlantic Ocean. I was to remain there forgotten long after Zimbabwe attained independence, only gaining my freedom by embarking on a hunger strike at the end of November 1980, and only arriving in independent Zimbabwe through the intervention of my father who escorted me from Lusaka in December 1980. As a result of all this suffering, I decided against joining the Zimbabwe National Army as I knew would be killed.

Nkomo’s killing of ZIPRA and surrender of power

A year after my arrival, I went to Gwaai River Mine Camp in December 1981, on the eve of Nkomo coming there to disarm this last bastion of ZIPRA’s elite forces. Andrew Nyathi, my cousin, had taken over the command of this camp of approximately 6,000 men, after Soneni Moyo had left for other duties. On the day in question, Nkomo had arrived accompanied by only a ZANLA commander, Brigadier Chinenge (now General Constantine Chiwenga). Out of this group of ZIPRA fighters of approximately 6,000 men, only two of us, myself and another comrade by the name of Casper, asked Nkomo why he was disarming ZIPRA when ZANLA was not disarming. I specifically asked him why the assembly points on both sides could not continue for a period of five years while the integration into the Zimbabwe National Army was going on, so as to guarantee security for the Ndebele people in particular and stability across Zimbabwe.

Again Nkomo, recognised me and said to me, making sure everyone was hearing him, “mfana ka Guduza, you were highly emotional in Zambia, I told you then that your father would be free, he is now free”. He then went on to say that he was disarming ZIPRA because we did not know where the weapons came from and that it was ZAPU and not ZIPRA that had sourced those weapons. But I interjected that I knew that the weapons came from Russia and that it was unfair that we used them only to be told that we did not know where they came from. Nkomo then said, “some of you, lizathatha abafazi lakhe imizi, abanye lizangena kuma cooperatives, njalo abanye lizangena ku Zimbabwe National Army”. That was it, Nkomo had disarmed ZIPRA’s last stronghold at Gwaai River Mine Camp, which boasted of tanks, armoured personnel carriers, artillery batteries, anti-air batteries and missiles and thousands of AK-47 assault rifles, light and heavy machine guns, as well as explosives. And he did all that while well aware of ZANU-PF machinations and scheming which were clear to everyone with a good head on their shoulders.

Burying the past

By March 1983 Nkomo was on the run. ZIPRA was virtually destroyed, with its commanders Dumiso Dabengwa, Lookout Masuku, Tshaka Moyo and others incarcerated at Chikurubi maximum prison. I did not harbour any ill feelings towards Nkomo, but stepped in behind the scenes to assist my father plan a successful escape with Nkomo into Botswana. No sooner had both Nkomo and my father escaped into Botswana, than I was arrested and incarcerated at the notorious Stops Camp in Bulawayo.

There, I found also incarcerated, Sydney Malunga and John Ndlovu, Thandi Nkomo’s husband and son-in-law to Joshua Nkomo. Soon after that we were joined by Nkomo’s wife, Johanna MaFuyana Nkomo and her grandson, Mqabuko, son of Thuthani Nkomo. Scores of other people only from Matebeleland were also incarcerated there.

 Many years later in May 1997, I ensured that Nkomo addressed the mourners at my mother’s funeral after me, at Pelandaba cemetery by way of a vote of thanks. It was like a rally and people were asking him what is to be done, to which he responded by saying that, they (his generation) had done their bit, it was now time for us to do ours. Similarly, I did not harbour any ill feelings towards Dumiso Dabengwa as I also gave him the same opportunity seven years later to address mourners at Pelandaba cemetery at the funeral of my father in December 2004. Furthermore, I went on to assist Dumiso Dabengwa in his campaign with Simba Makoni during the Zimbabwe elections in 2008, in terms of smuggling t-shirts, together with the delivery of fuel supplies sourced from ANC funders in Johannesburg. These comprised of 16,000 litres of petrol and 14,00 litres of diesel.

I also sourced funding through IDASA (Institute for Democracy in South Africa) for this election campaign. I told Dumiso Dabengwa that I did not believe in his project, with Simba Makoni and Solomon Mujuru and that it was bound to fail. Yet I assisted him wholeheartedly. At the same time, I also managed to facilitate a meeting through Ayanda Dlodlo (current Minister of Security in South Africa) for Dabengwa to meet with Jacob Zuma, who had just been elevated to the Presidency of the African National Congress after their elective conference in Polokwane in which he had won against Thabo Mbeki. Once the meeting was arranged, I went with Dumiso Dabengwa to meet with Jacob Zuma at Luthuli House on the 10th floor.

Seated with Zuma was Billy Masetla and Ayanda Dlodlo. After this meeting, we passed through the office of the Chairperson of MK Military Veterans Association, Kebby Mapatsoe, on the ninth floor of Luthuli House. Once we were done, I drove Dumiso Dabengwa to meet with the first Mthwakazi Chief (the late Albert Zwelibanzi Gumede) at Yeovil where he received red carpet treatment. From that meeting Gumede’s cars would carry placards, posters, t-shirts and other campaign material whose production was continuously organised by Ishmael Ndlovu. There is much more, serve to say that this is only a highlight of how I have worked with these individuals, Nkomo and Dabengwa without any hard feelings at all, despite their very strange and unwarranted leadership qualities. The rest, you will have to read my upcoming book. The truth, as they say, is stranger than fiction.

Towards the state of Mthwakazi

Not least, in this reflective outline, I wish to state categorically that my journey has been a struggle for justice from inception until this day. I can say that I have done it all from working as a petrol attendant in South Africa, to being a very vocal ANC youth activist, a ZIPRA commander, a veteran in the struggle for justice within ZIPRA, something that  saw me incarcerated at Angola’s notorious prison thousands of kilometres away from my homeland, to working as a supermarket packer and bus driver in England, to starting the Mthwakazi Group on Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing (MAGGEMM 2000) against the people of Matebeleland and Midlands whilst doing my PhD in the mid-1990s, to publishing an International Report of Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing perpetrated by Robert Mugabe’s regime in January 1997, to becoming a member of Imbovane YaMahlabezulu and then ZAPU 2000, to today as the President of Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF).

Like General Nandinandi, an accomplished business leader in his own right, I have not benefitted anything from having sacrificed so much for the liberation of Zimbabwe. But because we have never stopped chasing that elusive thing called survival, we have been very lucky to escape the conditions of Zimbabwe to chase it elsewhere, whereby Genera Nandinandi has been able to establish himself as one of the leading successful entrepreneurs in the diaspora. Myself, in turn, I also managed to struggle and pay for my education and in the process obtaining three degrees in higher education. One wonders what we would have become had we been fully liberated in our own country Mthwakazi.

Unfortunately, unlike us, many of our former comrades, ex-ZIPRA fighters who were not lucky to escape the slavery conditions imposed on the people of Mthwakazi by Shona hegemony, cannot even afford to put food on the table, let alone, a phone with a WhatsApp and data. It is in terms of this outline therefore that my own conclusion is that Nkomo literally set us out on a wild goose chase, an elusive pie in the sky dream, which has not benefitted the people of Mthwakazi. This is very sad, given that those comrades who laid down their lives did so believing that it was for the benefit of their loved ones and generations to come. They died not knowing that Nkomo would one day take away the only tools for securing and attaining justice from their surviving comrades. There is no question therefore that Nkomo betrayed all of us, by a cult leadership style which could not be questioned when he was alive and which many people, 21 years after his death do not want questioned. Yet it was the same cult leadership that was used by Shona hegemony to its lasting advantage. Cry my beloved country Mthwakazi.

What is critical to take away from this reflection about my journey for justice is that, Robert Gabriel Mugabe was aware much earlier before his death that Mthwakazi was rising. He made this admission at Nkomo’s 80th birthday in June 1997, at Nkomo’s Matshamhlophe House, No 17 Aberdeen Road, which I attended, as it was only a few weeks after my mother’s funeral. He acknowledged this by way of a warning, “that, I understand that some of you now want to go your own separate way, which is very dangerous. This must never happen as we are one as the people of Zimbabwe”. He had been driven to Nkomo’s house in Matshamhlophe while many guests, myself included had already been waiting, during early afternoon, in a car marked ZIM 1, accompanied by his security entourage consisting of army personnel and other state security apparatus.

Before this address, my father had introduced me, together with my brother Aubrey Makhosonke Guduza to Robert Mugabe and we had shaken hands with him.  My father had told Robert Mugabe that I had earlier that year in January 1997 obtained my doctoral degree and therefore introduced me as Dr Guduza, and Robert Mugabe congratulated me. But I cannot say why Robert Mugabe had given that veiled threat about people in Matebeleland wanting to go their separate way. This fact alone convinced me that he was not stupid but has always been aware that one day, the exit by the people of Mthwakazi was inevitable as Zimbabwe was never cast in stone.

A call for the formation of the Mthwakazi State

It is time for the establishment of the Mthwakazi State. We need to build our identity as a people to prepare our children to rise for the future. You can only fight for what you love, love what you respect and respect what you know. The Shona people love themselves, although in a strange way, and they have respected their majoritarian hegemony over us for close to half a century now. All is portrayed by the total spectrum of domination of information that has continuously created and moulded their own sense of reality. They project their aspirations, correct and advance their reality through torture, rape, genocide, marginalisation, movies, radio, television, newspapers, documentaries, advertisements, books, education, poetry, laws, systems and institutions, in which in turn they then manifest their realities.

Through their control of the media, storytelling, values that we use, culture that we live by, they control the Zimbabwe narrative and reality. Sadly, every time that we use their narrative, they stamp their culture and values on top of our minds, in turn programming our cognitive mapping. Each time our cognitive map is moulded, the opportunity cost is that our perception of ourselves is diminished. The challenge for us in this manipulation is that it was designed to make us less competitive for their domination. Zimbabwe is characterised by competition for resources and we keep playing according to their rules. Perception therefore becomes a psychological tool or weapon that is used in the race of life. Perception is reality. It is an indictment on us, the people of Mthwakazi, that a fictitious country called Zimbabwe had to be created by ZAPU to give us some form of fake inspiration, when in reality it is nothing but a heaven for Shona hegemony and control. 

It is all part of the system of brand creation and attenuation of a Zimbabwean identity over that of Mthwakazi, because we as the older generation have not understood the importance of building and packaging an image to inspire our children to Mthwakazi greatness. We need to understand the importance of building and packaging an image and identity that will inspire our children and their children. In this respect we can no longer afford sacrificing the future of our children by leaving them at the hands of Shona institutions which are mandated to destroy their minds.  We need to start understanding the power of the mind and imagination, by starting to package our values, culture, inheritance, to write our own history and rewrite it for the benefit of our children and generations to come, and to give it to our children as a reference point of self-love, respect, courage, confidence, determination, citizenship and independence as they move into the future.

To those who may still not be aware, Zimbabwe is the only country in Southern Africa that practices tribal apartheid, where one’s ethnicity generally defines their opportunities in life. The reality is that it is a two-nation state waiting for the inevitable. Not that Nkomo was never aware of this reality. He conceded when he argued that the imposition of a one-party state was not possible when the people were torn apart by hate and ‘tribalism’.  He should have been bold by recognising not tribes, but different nations in Zimbabwe.

It is in view of the foregoing, therefore, that Zimbabwe lacks legitimacy and it is an alien institution to the people of Mthwakazi. Zimbabwe as a state therefore exits only for one thing, to perpetuate the marginalisation and suppression of the people of Mthwakazi. As such, those so-called Nkomoists can shout from the top of their voices, but they cannot diminish the fact that the people of Mthwakazi have recognised that they do not belong in the imposed state of Zimbabwe. Within this context, the use of force has not been successful in enforcing to the people of Mthwakazi the widespread feeling of belonging to the state of Zimbabwe. Put differently, in spite of the infliction of genocide, ethnic cleansing, brutality, torture and rape meted on these communities, the people of Mthwakazi still do not share any sense of belonging with those of Zimbabwe. They are different. Period.

What is to be done

It does not matter who, whether it is ZAPU and its partners in crime the ZANU-PF regime. We reserve the right to fight for what belongs to us and all these colonialists and their surrogates can go to hell. This fight, therefore, requires that we start establishing a state right now which will transcend borders. We don’t have to wait until we have achieved the land area of the state of Mthwakazi, but can begin now, formalising the state of Mthwakazi, aided, of course, by the technological innovations within our midst. Although numbers are an essential part of the equation, what we need now are conscious Mthwakazi cadres, people who are not praise singers but who want to liberate Mthwakazi. This should be our new normal, people who will volunteer towards the cause of setting up the State of Mthwakazi across borders, call it a government in exile if you want.

We need selfless individuals, farmers, scholars, academics, bureaucrats, teachers, doctors, nurses, architects, engineers, information technicians, journalists, and the list goes on. All of us need to recognise and indeed understand that the geopolitics have changed. All countries are inward looking now. So, we too have no choice, but to adapt to this change. If we don’t adapt then we perish as a nation. We must set our eyes to the new reality, and stop praise singing the dead. The dead are gone and they failed dismally to dislodge us from rampant psychological and practical colonialism.

It is about time that we started living the Mthwakazi dream. We need to be united under one theme, which is the perpetual persecution and subjugation of the people of Mthwakazi. We must develop lobby groups wherever we are and begin putting our cause at the forefront of everything else. All of us in our different professions and skills need to put our country, Mthwakazi, first. It is about time we accepted ourselves as a people, distinct from Zimbabweans, and by changing our mind-set we will liberate Mthwakazi.

To me, the Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF) is not an opposition party, but a liberation movement for dislodging the entire Mthwakazi nation from Zimbabwe. This is why it is called a front. The ethnic hatred that was sworn and continues to be watered by the ZANU-PF regime is so deep that it cannot be wished away and will take hundreds, if not thousands, of years to be eradicated. To me it is in the best interests of the people of Zimbabwe and Mthwakazi to peacefully part ways and the two countries to work on the development of their respective peoples in an atmosphere devoid of ethnic hatred.

I need to make clear that I have absolutely nothing against the Shona people. If anything, they have been indirect victims of ZANU-PF’s unwritten Shona hegemony policy. A good number of them, if not their overwhelming majority, have been active participants in Ndebele marginalization processes, both consciously and unconsciously; and this has been passed from generation to generation.  This has come at the cost of failing to focus on fighting for their rights and achieving their own sustainable development. In a way, the Ndebele question has always been a drag as it has always displaced everything else from the core of the Zimbabwean political question. An amicable parting of ways by the two nations would therefore free the Shona people from their self-imposed ethnic bondage and hopefully give them an impetus to confront their leaders and demand from them good governance, human rights and the respect for the rule of law.

What sort of Mthwakazi state do I envision? To me, it is no longer a question of idealistic envisioning. The blue print of a Mthwakazi state is already there. Some of the best legal brains in Mthwakazi have come up with a federal constitutional model where basically the different linguistic communities would be in charge of their development at the district level, with a lean federal government playing a largely facilitative role. Never again would our people be served by arrogant outsiders, be they teachers, police officers or nurses, who refuse to speak their local languages and serve their interests. But above all, the constitutional blue print is founded on utmost respect of democratic principles and respect for human rights and the rule of law. The Mthwakazi nation has taken long to awaken, but when it eventually does, it shall play a role never before imagined in Africa, let alone the entire world.

What we need to do immediately

We need to set up the Mthwakazi State transitional structure without any delay. For this we need volunteers who will assist in organising a meeting of all Mthwakazi stakeholders, a meeting of minds not of petty political scoring. Let us agree on the vision for Mthwakazi first, before we engage on party politics. We need to set up a Mthwakazi Sovereign Fund (MSF) which will drive this process. Then we will need to establish forthwith a department of statistics, followed by the appointment of office bearers for this transitional mechanism, including the appointment of governors in our respective regions. We must also agree on the flag, coat of arms, national anthem and above all, planners for future Mthwakazi cities.

What we need are the men and women, so committed to the Mthwakazi dream that we take on this challenge without fail. Ultimately, we have to begin governing our own areas in all sectors on an irreversible journey towards the proclamation of a Mthwakazi State, which will be recognised by the entire world. In addition, let us have a proposed date for an all stakeholders conference, soon after this lockdown, to formalise a Mthwakazi Government. In this government we shall need competent individuals, not as ministers without portfolio, but real ministers, who should begin changing and positively impacting the wellbeing of our people wherever they are, but most notably in Mthwakazi without fear or favour. Our people will have to begin living the Mthwakazi dream in all areas of human endeavour and development as soon as possible. Together, let us end this tragedy and move forward to a Mthwakazi State. Finally, before this All Stakeholders Meeting, let us also formulate proposals in a range of socio-economic, political, cultural, environmental, infrastructural development areas, and others.

I thank you

Dr Churchill Mpiyesizwe Guduza
MLF President

- Source: Dr Guduza,


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