Petitioning Zimbabwe's Government on Mthwakazi's entitlement to power and control

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Handed to the President's office on December 17th 2018

Petition to the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe His Excellency  the Hon. Emmerson D. Mnangagwa as well as the Government of Zimbabwe

Muhnumutapa Building, Corner Sam Nujoma/Samora Machel Harare Zimbabwe


Hon. President of Zimbabwe, His Excellency Emmerson D. Mnangagwa and The government of Zimbabwe:

The constitution of Zimbabwe begins with the following Preamble:

“We the people of Zimbabwe,

United in our diversity by our common desire for freedom, justice and equality, and our heroic resistance to colonialism, racism and all forms of domination and oppression,

 • Reference to country's history Exalting and extolling the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives during the Chimurenga / Umvukela and national liberation struggles, Honouring our forebears and compatriots who toiled for the progress of our country…”

We the signatories of this petition read the constitution of Zimbabwe with great interest and pride to accept it as the “Supreme law” of our beautiful country. We expect the Constitution to be equally and fairly representative of every right of every citizen of Zimbabwe with transparency and without reservation. We realize upon reading our country’s constitution that it begins its Preamble by paying respects to the country’s history, recognizing the “brave men and women who sacrificed their lives” during various wars and struggles against colonialism and racism. We are however concerned at the following omissions in such recognition:

While the Constitution pays respects by mentioning the Chimurenga/Umvukela war of 1896. It does not seem to pay respects or recognition to the prior wars against colonialism, particularily the wars of 1893 which were fought by the Mthwakazi Kingdom (Matebele warriors) against colonialism, in particular the First Matebele War/Shangani Patrol and the Battle of Mbembesi. This is a significant omission of our country’s founding history and heritage of pride.

Chapter 2, Section 13, Subsection 4 of our country’s Constitution reads as follows:

“The State must ensure that local communities benefit from the resources in their areas”.

Chapter 2, Section 14,Subsection 1 of our country’s Constitution reads as follows:

“The State and all institutions and agencies of government at every level must endeavour to facilitate and take measures to empower, through appropriate, transparent, fair and just affirmative action, all marginalised persons, groups and communities in Zimbabwe”. The above chapter 2 extracts from our country’s constitution can also be read along with Chapter 14 Preamble as well as Chapter  14, Part 1, Section 264 Subsection 1 which reads as follows:

“Whenever appropriate, governmental powers and responsibilities must be devolved to provincial and metropolitan councils and local authorities who are competent to carry out those responsibilities efficiently and effectively”.

It is the position of the signatories of this petition that while the government of Zimbabwe has sought to engage a process of devolution across the country, in which “local communities benefit from the resources of their areas”, such process has not shown fruitful execution. We are also very concerned at the rather vague Constitutional commitment to the processes of instituting devolution of powers – such concern resulting from the wording of the Constitution in relation, which reads “Whenever appropriate, governmental powers and responsibilities must be devolved…” Such wording leaves room for manipulation of the processes facilitating such devolution. We the undersigned of this petition demand that our Constitution be reviewed to be specific rather than vague in relation to the matter of commitment to devolution and transparent transfer of power and control of local resources to local communities, prioritizing the indigenous peoples of such communities to benefit as a priority to their own local wealth of resources and benefits such as employment.

Chapter 14, Preamble, Subsection (a) of the Constitution reads as follows:

“The preservation of national unity in Zimbabwe and the prevention of all forms of disunity and secessionism…” We the undersigned of this petition understand the laws against any form of Secessionism in Zimbabwe and fully support such laws as any Secessionism could indeed threaten the internal stability of the two nations that were united under a rule by Conquest in 1923 by the British – Mthwakazi nation (Matebeleland and Midlands) and Mashonaland nation. We the undersigned however do demand the full and nonnegotiable Restoration of Mthwakazi’s culture and heritage, most importantly the cultural restoration of our Kingdom which was destroyed by the British in order to grow and enrich their own current Kingdom. Self determination of any nation or a peoples is an international right protected through the laws of the United Nations. “The principle of self-determination is prominently embodied in Article I of the Charter of the United Nations. ... All peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.” Mthwakazi nation, as a region, as well as its peoples have been subjugated for over a century now and sadly even beyond Zimbabwe’s independence such subjugation has remained in force. History has shown us that this process of undermining and systematically suppressing a nation cannot be sustainable. It is a systematic ethnic cleansing that can only be pursued outside the best interests of our country Zimbabwe. The undersigned signatories of this petition demand an end to the regional segregation and marginalisation that has seen Mthwakazi nation suffer massive trauma and hurt to survivors while many have been killed in tribally incited violence and atrocities.

This petition is forwarded to the addressees, having been written in collaboration by three parties to an 840km walk from Bulawayo to Harare and back to Bulawayo – in solidarity with the grievances, declarations and demands of Mthwakazi nation – a walk titled “My Mthwakazi  Mahlabezulu walk of Freedom”.

We have invited signatories to this petition from every individual and national of Mthwakazi across Zimbabwe and indeed the rest of the world so that our voices can be heard with reason and result.

Signed first by:

 Zenzo  Siziba

 Thabo Siziba

Bukhosi  Maphosa.