Published: 03 November 2015 | by Chrispain Nyoni
MLF International Relations(writing in his capacity as a Mthwakazi national who fully believe in RESTORATION)

The media in Zimbabwe has been using the term,secession whenever they are writing some news about MLF or any other Mthwakazi organisation that is advocating for Mthwakazi independence. The use of the term,secession in particular reference to these organisations,should be viewed deeply,as it connotes belittling and despising these august entities. It is a derogatory term pursued to dehumanise these organisation.

A  lot can be said about this word but what is of interest is to find out why it is a buzzy word chosen by these doomed and sponsored criques. It is therefore a duty of the advocates of Mthwakazi to dispel this notion of labelling Mthwakazi political outfits as secessionists. It is not true today,tomorrow and in the infinite future,as it was not true yesterday anywhere.

I now take a route into the minds of the detractors,to explain secession(as preferred by the gowns of the entrenched Zimbabwean governance system) and what the Mthwakazi formations believe in,that is "RESTORATION." 

Secession is an act of separating from a nation or state and becoming independent. It involves withdrawal from a plenipotentiary egalitarian entity. Secession is associated with some force,fighting,bloody clashes and some perceived evil civil war. This happens when a tribe in the unioned country decide to be independent,actually creating a new country,redrawing the map and doing so in utter protest from the system currently governing them. Mthwakazi political entities are not and will not take this route which is barbaric and leads to some people loosing their lives. Examples are abound such as the Sudan case,where there was blood shed leading to secession,among other cases.

MLF Thematic statement goes," MLF stands for political and cultural autonomy in Mthwakazi and a referendum to restore the original borders that existed prior to colonisation." This speaks volumes about the agenda,that that it borders on RESTORATION as opposed to secession,a word adored by detractors of Mthwakazi political entities. As we,the Mthwakazi peoples,we call the route of getting independent,RESTORATION. Why use RESTORATION not secession,a word adored by detractors? The bellicose explanation lies in that,these political organisations want to return a portion of the so called zimbabwe to its origional state that it was before colonilisation by the british. It is a reinstatement of a previous situation. A re-establishment,revival of the entity that existed. So this aspect is important to be comprehended by those saving the interests of the detractors,handlers whose mission is to try to obliterate the notion that that Mthwakazi/Matabeleland was independent from Mashonaland. 

To knock sense into the minds of the apparatus used to purvey the folly concept that there is secession attempts by Mthwakazi political organisations,it is important to take a brief journey on what really happened that led to Matabeleland become annexed to Mashonaland and failure to totally decolonise in 1980. The narrative will be based on empirical research records and outcomes of deliberations arising from different political and non-political  groups of Matebeleland that represent the aspirations of victims of genocide and ethnic cleansing - the Ndebele people of Matebeleland and Midlands (Mthwakazi country). One may buttress this by citing examples and those being the Matebeleland Arts and Writers Association (MAWA), Vukani Mahlabezulu (VM), Open Forum (OF), Imbovane ya Mahlabezulu (IM), Zimbabwe African People‚Äôs Union (ZAPU) 2000, Mthwakazi Action Group On Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing in  Matebeleland and Midlands 2000 (MAGGEMM 2000), Liberty Party (LP), Mthwakazi,  Mzilikazi Cultural Organisation (MCO), Federal Party (FP),  Ihawu le Sizwe (IS), People‚Äôs Freedom Party (PFP), Inkundla, Mthwakazi People‚Äôs Congress (MPC),  Ibetshu lika Zulu (IZ),  Matebeleland Freedom Party (MFP), Mthwakazi People‚Äôs Organisation [MPO] Mahlabezulu, Peoples Unity Movement (PUM), Patriotic Unity of MaNdebeleland (PUMA),  Mhlahlo We Sizwe (MS),  People‚Äôs Policy Council (PPC), Inqama Settlers, Imbizo Ye Sizwe and many others, both within Zimbabwe and outside in Botswana, South Africa, Britain and America (scholars Dr Guduza and  Macaphulana).

It is well known that modern Mthwakazi nation was created by the Ndebele King Mzilikazi KaMatshobana, a great nation builder in his own right in the 1820s. There is a wealth of information regarding the formation and administration of the Ndebele kingdom, under both King Mzilikazi and King Loobengula after the death of his father, King Mzilikazi in1868.

So the following pieces of legislation invoked by Queen Victoria‚Äôs British Government in collaboration with European Colonialists Cecil John Rhodes and Leander Starr Jameson, as also evidenced the by various references outlined below, underlie the specific theft and plunder of our Mthwakazi lands. So the brief history  as an outcome by the above mentioned groups,goes:

"In 1891 the Matebeleland Order in Council from Queen Victoria‚Äôs Majesty‚Äôs Government in Britain was passed and invoked. It made the territories of Bechuanaland and Matebeleland into British protectorates. This was done without the consent of the people of these countries. 

In terms of the Matebeleland Order in Council of 1891, the Border between Matebeleland and Mashonaland was defined by the Jameson line, which followed the Umyathi River from its confluence with the Zambezi River. The European colonial imperial records have recorded the Jameson Line as the actual Lobengula ‚Äď Jameson Border, when in actual fact it was a Leander Starr Jameson manipulation of the actual border in pursuit and justification of colonial imperial interests underpinned by the scramble for Africa‚Äôs resources.

According to Lobengula, the Mthwakazi borders of his Kingdom were strictly defined by the territories occupied by his subordinate chiefs that included the Shona speaking chiefs such as those under Chief Lomagundi just west of the Umniati (Sanyathi) River and Chief Wata south of the Umniati  (Sanyathi)River. The Hunyani and Sabi Rivers therefore defined the Eastern Borders of Lobengula‚Äôs Mthwakazi Kingdom. 

These eastern regions of Lobengula‚Äôs Kingdom covered huge areas (including those that currently constitute present-day Harare ‚Äď formerly Salisbury), and those under Chief Mashayangombe near what is present day Hartley; as well as those under Chief Gutu just west of the Sabi River. The Eastern Border with Mozambique was defined in terms of the Treaty with the Portuguese East Africa colonialists, in now what is known as Mozambique.  

However, the imposition of the Jameson Border Line (refer to the historical Maps) by Leander Starr Jameson’s BSAC (which is interpreted as mutually agreed with King Lobengula) recognizes the Hunyani and Sabi Rivers as definitive features that constitute the Eastern Borders of Lobengula’s Mthwakazi Kingdom with Mashonaland. The Umniati (Sanyathi) River goes South East towards the limits of Enkeldon. There is then a North South Line which confluences to the Shashe River (refer to the historical Maps) that flows to the Tokwe River and which thereafter proceeds to flow into the Lundi River that in turn flows into the Sabi River.
The Border with Bechuanaland was defined in terms of the Tati Concession and the Pamatenga Traders Road towards the Zambian crossing. The Southern Border was defined in terms of aTreaty agreed by Lobengula and the Boer Republic. The Northern Border was taken to be the Zambezi River by King Lobengula as reported by the BSAC.

It is important to note that during this period and the period subsequent to that of the entry of the BSAC led by Cecil John Rhodes and Leander Starr Jameson, into the Eastern Regions of Lobengula‚Äôs Kingdom, there was never any Shona Kingdom in existence. Rather, nearly the entire area stretching eastwards towards the Eastern Border with the Portuguese controlled territory was under the jurisdiction of King Lobengula through his subordinate Chiefs ‚Äď Lomagundi, Wata, Mayashayangombe and Gutu.

All these Chiefs were servicing King Lobengula‚Äôs Herd of Cattle during this period. In terms of servicing the King‚Äôs Herd, individual Chiefs had to pay some form of levy or tribute to the King from time to time. The herd of cattle from the King represented some form of welfare and benefit service system (including food security) for each individual Chief and his subjects, but this welfare system had to be paid for and acknowledged to the King through a certain form of levy that encompassed respect, praise singing and tribute. 

No sooner had the BSAC arrived in the eastern regions of Lobengula‚Äôs Kingdom than they began sowing seeds of division between these Chiefs (Lomagundi, Wata, Mashayangombe and Gutu) and King Lobengula. They encouraged these Chiefs not to pay the special levy and tribute to King Lobengula, promising them protection against King Lobengula. 

This is what caused the dispute when some of these Chiefs refused to service the Matebele National Herd (cattle which they held in the King’s Trust), resulting in Lobengula sending his impi (army) to enforce compliance. In turn, the BSAC under the leadership of Leander Starr Jameson had effectively drawn a border line designed to protect the defiant Chiefs (Lomagundi, Wata, Mashayangombe and Gutu).

When King Lobengula continued to enforce his authority and compliance to his subordinate Chiefs which included the killing of Chief Lomagundi, Leander Starr Jameson‚Äôs BSAC then accused Lobengula of violating the border line that they had imposed, and used that as a pretext to invade Matebeleland.  The invasion of Matebeleland was invoked as a mechanism designed to protect the defiant Chiefs in the eastern regions of Lobengula‚Äôs kingdom, when in effect it was simply a continuation ploy and mechanism of the imposition of European colonial rule and dominance underpinned by the imperial needs for plunder of the land and mineral resources.

The mineral concessions that King Lobengula had given to these imperial forces did not really matter, what was imperative was total control and dominance over everything else by these evil forces of plunder and looting. Similarly, the fact that the Chiefs (Lomagundi, Wata, Mashayangombe and Gutu) in the eastern regions of Lobengula‚Äôs Kingdom succumbed without a fight to these protective manipulative devices from the BSAC under Leander Starr Jameson‚Äôs leadership needs to be understood within the broader framework of the expansion of British imperial plundering and looting interests. 

By 1890 Cecil John Rhodes‚Äô Pioneer Column under the leadership of Leander Starr Jameson had effectively occupied and colonized the eastern regions of Lobengula‚Äôs Mthwakazi Kingdom. These eastern regions were then named by the BSAC forces under Leander Starr Jameson as the British colony of Mashonaland in terms of the Mashonaland Order in Council of May 1891. 

In terms of the Mashonaland Order in Council of May 1891 (which effectively was invoked in terms of the already existing Matebeleland Order in Council of 1891), the now British Protectorate of Mashonaland‚Äôs recognised geographical boundary with King Lobengula‚Äôs Mthwakazi Kingdom ran along the Umniati (Sanyati), Ngezi and Tokwe , as imposed by Leander Starr Jameson‚Äôs BBSAC and now generally known as the ‚ÄėJameson Line‚ÄĚ (refer to the historical Maps). This by and large constituted in effect a conquest step without any resistance whatsoever as a precursor to the occupation of the rest of Lobengula‚Äôs Mthwakazi Kingdom.

This imposed Jameson boundary remained in force until 1893 when the Mthwakazi nation was invaded by the British South Africa Company (BSAC) -run Pioneer column aided by 650 mercenaries from the British colonies. After the fall of the Mthwakazi kingdom the British immediately created the colony of Matabeleland in terms of the Matabeleland Order-in Council, 18 July 1894, which had already been invoked in terms of the Matebeleland Order in Council of 1891 (as highlighted above).

The fall of the Mthwakazi state also meant that her peoples lost vast tracks of land and wealth in the form of minerals and cattle. To make matters worse a host of taxation laws such as the dog tax were imposed upon the Mthwakazi people as an indirect way of forcing them to work in the farms and mines so that they could get more money to pay taxes. Ironically Shona speaking police officers were deployed in large numbers to round up and arrest tax defaulters. The harshness and the cruelty of the said Shona police officers were so severe that it left an indelible mark on the people of Mthwakazi.

On the 20th March 1896 the people of Mthwakazi revolted against British colonial rule and by the month of June, Mthwakazi chiefs and regiments felt confident enough to install one of the deposed King Lobhengula‚Äôs sons and hero of the rebellion, Prince Nyamande Ka Lobhengula as King.  This rebellion ended when Cecil John Rhodes secured a negotiated ‚Äėsettlement‚Äô with the Mthwakazi chiefs in July 1897.The British colonialist administered the two colonies of Mthwakazi and Mashonaland as separate territories until the 24th January 1901 when the two were informally combined under W.H.Milton.

In 1904 the Nambya people of Wankie area were forcibly relocated to less habitable and less fertile lands of Lukosi, Jambezi and surrounding areas to make way for coal mining. These communities were never compensated for loss of their ancestral lands and no benefits accrued to them from the coal resources to this very day.

In 1914 the Matebele National Home Society was formed by Prince Nyamande Ka Lobhengula and it openly advocated for the restoration of the Mthwakazi state. The highlight of Mthwakazi Home Society‚Äôs achievements was the court challenge on the legitimacy of company rule in Mthwakazi before the Privy Council of the House of Lords, in Britain. 

Although the Matebele National Home Society lost the case, it had far reaching impacts, one of which was the end of company rule and a referendum of the white settlers only which was to determine whether the Matabeleland should join South Africa or be formally joined with Mashonaland under the British Crown. The white settlers chose the latter option which disregarded the consent of the indigenous people of Mthwakazi (Matebeleland) and this immediately led to the enactment of the Southern Rhodesia Constitution of 1923 which placed the destiny of people of Matebeleland in the same line with that of the people of Mashonaland.

In 1943 an attempt by the people of Mthwakazi with the assistance of the British Crown to revive the Mthwakazi Monarchy under Prince Nguboentsha kaLobhengula was foiled by the white colonial settlers. By 1954 the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland government forcibly evicted the Tonga people of northern Matebeleland  and Midlands from the Zambezi river basin  without being given ample time to properly and respectfully transfer their goods and cultural traditions to their new homes in the less fertile hinterland with no compensation. 

This was a violent operation used by territorial authorities to force co-operation. To make matters worse the Zimbabwean government inherited this problem in 1980 and simply ignored these communities despite the well-known fact that the bulk of the Kariba dam project benefits are utilised in Mashonaland.

In 1957 the Southern Rhodesia African National Council (ANC) was founded in Bulawayo and it teamed up with the Salisbury Youth League of Mashonaland to form the first organisation that unified the Mthwakazi and Mashonaland anti-colonial activists.  On the 26th February 1959 the colonial government declared a state of emergency and proscribed the African National Council. This led to the formation of the National Democratic Party (NDP) in January 1960 which later reconstituted itself as the Zimbabwe African People‚Äôs Union (ZAPU) under the leadership of Joshua Nkomo, an Mthwakazi national. The ZAPU party galvanized the liberation struggle and united all the nations, nationalities of Southern Rhodesia under the banner of the envisaged state of Zimbabwe regardless of race, tribe, colour, sex , religion or class.

In 1963 a group of Mashonaland nationalist rebels left ZAPU to form Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU). Before they left on the 4th of August 1962, the Rhodesian Herald and the Chronicle published the following article: 

‚ÄúAn exclusive Mashona political party is expected to be announced just before the Zimbabwe African People‚Äôs Union [ZAPU] holds its annual congress at the end of September. The party is being organized in secret and two names are before its shadow ‚Äúexecutive‚ÄĚ considerations. They are ‚ÄúSons of Chaminuka Movement‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúNational Chaminuka People‚Äôs Union‚ÄĚ ‚Äď which will have its headquarters in Salisbury. Many of the Mashona party‚Äôs members some of whom hold ZAPU cards; have already visited the old kraal of Chaminuka, the Mashona profit who was killed by Matabele on the orders of King Lobengula before white man arrived in the country‚ÄĚ.

As if this was not enough in October 1971 James Chikerema defected with most of the remaining activists in ZAPU to form the Front for the Liberation of Zimbabwe [FROLIZ]. This left ZAPU with an image of a being strictly a Matebeleland political party.

In the early 1970s an attempt to unite the ZAPU and ZANU fighting wings, Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) and Zimbabwe National Liberation Army (ZANLA) forces respectively was aborted after the Mashonaland-centric ZANLA commanders instigated an assault on ZIPRA units who were predominantly of Matebeleland (Mthwakazi) origin in Mgagao training base, Tanzania and operation areas in Mozambique resulting in several loss of lives and injuries.

On the 8th August 1976  ZAPU leader, Joshua Nkomo re-united the Matebeleland and Mashonaland camps of the freedom fighters under the banner of Patriotic Front/ ZIPA  but this move was once again snubbed by ZANU leaders who pulled out their ZANLA force soon after the Lancaster House settlement negotiations of 1979."  SOURCES; UMhlahlo WeSizwe samaNdebele, RULE BY CONQUEST-J.Maphenduka, Nkomo, J.M. 1984. The Story of My Life, Methuen, London. MLF Restoration Book (2015).Research Papers from Groups mentioned above.

Now,the entrenched system's chatterboxes employed to discard the Mthwakazi Agenda and trivialise it as "secession" have this to revise time and again,for them to rightly know that,its not a claim to ask for RESTORATION,but a God given right to do so and as covertly pushed to do so by a Shonalised system of governance of the combined countries(Matebeleland/Mthwakazi and Mashonaland),named Zimbabwe.

Why now do we have calls for RESTORATION drumming louder and louder than before?

The folly lies with the governance system of zanu pf,which in essence,formed out of anger,out of zapu back in 1963. Anger? Anger for what? What had made them angry? Nothing fruitful to point,except that it was a creation of the west so as to divert the attention of the world into thinking that Nkomo and zapu were an offshoot of a tribal and hooligans at the time. Then a predominantly shona led movement came into life. Throughout their not so rossy a combat affronts,they harboured and nurtured hatred for the Ndebele peoples. Some of them are on record having said that. Mugabe himself,when teaching in Hope Fountain,impregnanted a Ndebele lady nurse,who gave birth to a baby girl,refused to marry the girl because she was Ndebele. Came 1980,when Dr J.Nkomo,after the invitation by the British governor Lord Soames to ask him how he would like to get his country back,as it was when it was colonised,that is,the existence of Matabeleland as a seperate entity from MMashonaland or as unified in 1923. Dr Josh chose the later. That was the colossal mistake,which haunts us to date. Had he said,he was taking Matebeleland,we would not be in such a messy as is the case now,in what is known as Zimbabwe now. A banana state. 

Conclusive Brief

Mthwakazi organisations will never secede and from all their organisational literature,it is clear and evident that that aspect of secession is not there. Talking authoratitive,RESTORATION is an agenda whose time has come and it is time to return ubuntu bethu,so ALL THE PEOPLE FROM MIDLANDS AND MATEBELELAND,OF NDEBELE ORIGIN should rally behind this bid AGENDA. Lets talk RESTORATION in prayers,burials,holidaying arenas,in greeting each other,in preaching and name everything-Mthwakazi,e.g Mthwakazi Nyoni, Mthwakazi Sibangilizwe Malaba, Mthwakazi Bottle Store, Mthwakazi Village...even naming our cows etc. Sooner than later, we shall be sovereign no matter how the regime's apparatus (CIOs etc) exude their energy in trying to obliterate the Holy Agenda,njalo labo abakithi,sikhulula labo futhi and they will bring with them the required expertise when we are free from the lucific jaws of the present regime,but that expertise will be used fairly,not now when it is used to quell discerning voices and make some people disappear. This is the voive of reason,bakwethu!!

- uMR
Tags: Mthwakazi ,


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