Some people seem to believe that ZAPU is behind, or at least sympathetic to the issue of cessation of Matabeleland. This is both false and unfair. ZAPU is the founder and authentic liberation movement of the whole of Zimbabwe, and has no intention of reducing itself to a tribal or separatist movement. ZAPU went to war to liberate all of Zimbabwe, which was achieved in 1980 together with the people of Zimbabwe and the splinter liberation movement, ZANU. ZAPU remains a nationalist movement in every respect. The people of Zimbabwe understand what ZAPU stood and stands for today, as evidenced by the positive response from all corners of the country towards the successful revival of our party.
ZAPU liberated and wants to rule all of Zimbabwe, and not part of it. Our party is different from the rest in that it has a new, fair and democratic governance system called devolution of power. We envisage creating five provinces or regions, namely, Mashonaland, Masvingo, Midlands, Manicaland and Matabeleland, to be lead by an elected provincial government. There would be provincial or regional houses of assembly with relevant legislative powers. However, there will still be a national house of assembly to legislate national laws. There will still be central government lead by a president, similar to what happens in South Africa. Regional premiers and their governments will have the mandate to initiate and implement development policies and programmes in their areas and to run social services such as health and education. Central government will remain in charge of national issues such as the army, police, national security, monetary and fiscal policies, revenue services, among other key matters of the state. Zimbabwe will still have one national flag, one national anthem, one president, one currency, and no borders between regions. There will be a fair and proportional distribution of national income to all the five provinces, as opposed to the current secretive and discriminative distribution of national wealth to favour one region at the expense of four others.
Devolution brings development to the people and removes all bottlenecks and red tape created by the current Harare-based centralist governance system. People become masters of their own destiny by controlling and owning their natural resources. Devolution empowers the people to be self-determining. Clearly, devolution is not cessation and we do not understand why anyone would want to link our party to cession.
ZAPU believes in freedom of speech and the freedom of opinion. Even if we do not agree with any political formation on any issue including cessation, our party will defend their right to hold their views without fear. ZAPU is convinced the people of Matabeleland and some parts of the Midlands have genuine grievances against the current governance system that has disadvantaged them. We call for meaningful dialogue on the issue to address the problem and maintain national cohesion. Arresting and detaining leaders of these organisations or anyone who talks about Gukurahundi and the marginalisation of Matabeleland will only worsen the problem. ZAPU supports the concept of UMthwakazi on a cultural and social level in order to preserve the culture, language and identity of the various ethnic groups who compose UMthwakazi such as the Kalanga, Nguni, Nambya, Tonga, Venda, Sotho, Xhosa, among others. Even within what we now generally lump together as the Shona tribe are various distinct ethnic groups whose languages or dialects and cultures face extinction. What we refer to as the Shona is actually Zezuru, Karanga, Manyika, Korekore, Ndau, among other groups. Under a ZAPU government, all tribes would be recognised and encouraged to retain and maintain their culture. We need to preserve our richness and diversity as a nation. It was the colonialists who lumped us together and classified us as simply Shona and Ndebele, and set us on each other. There is no incentive for perpetuating this colonial creation.
ZAPU wishes to put the record straight on the views of the late Chief Khayisa Ndiweni, concerning the issue of Matabeleland. There have been numerous, unchallenged talk that the late chief wanted a separate state of Matabeleland in the run-up to the 1980 elections. In a meeting between Chief Khayisa and the then ZAPU leader, Dr Joshua Nkomo in the run-up to the Lancaster House Talks, the chief expressed that he wanted a federal system of governance, with two federations of Matabeleland and Mashonaland. He never wanted Matabeleland to cede from Zimbabwe. The chief held onto his view until he died. He never spoke about cession.
ZAPU has never, and will never support cession by Matabeleland or any part of the country, until and unless that occurrence has been necessitated by a due, legitimate and non-violent process under national and international laws. We need to remain united and focused on liberating our country once more from those who have turned us into their captives, before we can think of starting other struggles. ZAPU believes Zimbabwe needs a new, democratic system of governance called devolution.
ZAPU stands ready to be part of the solution to divisive matters such as Gukurahundi. We wish our competitors could be sincere enough to call for meaningful dialogue on the matter. We were the victims. We are the victims. We are the survivors. Only we can tell our story. Only we know better how we want to be healed. Obviously we need the rest of the people to assist us put behind us this horrible episode in our lives.
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