Speculations had predicted a low turn up of supporters at the Citizen’s Coalition for Change Rally that was held in Bulawayo on the 5th of March 2022.
There was a talk about a general political detachment and reluctance that seemed to have grown and engulfed the citizens of Bulawayo. This line of thought follows a reflection on the political terror and marginalization that has been endured by Bulawayo under ZANU PF autocracy.
Bulawayo is the urban town of Matabeleland, one of the two provinces that were subdued as a result of a genocide known as Gukurahundi in the years 1982-87 by the ZANU PF 5TH Brigade. President ED Mnangagwa was minister of state security in charge of military operations that influenced 5th Brigade at the time.
This genocide was committed against the people of Matabeleland and Midlands because of their affiliation with ZAPU, a political party that was led by Joshua Nkomo who also came from the same region. The massacre killed an estimated number of over 20 000 people. The violence continued over the years of Mugabe’s rule that turned Zimbabwe bloody during election years in a bid to silence the minority and instil fear to vote.
Mnangagwa’s regime that took over power in the so-called military coup, continued with their dirty tactics of terror employing organized violence through state agents; police, military, and Central Intelligence Organisation.
Using state apparatus, they have continued to commit violence through arbitrary arrests, detainments, abductions, use of lethal weapons to torture, barter, and kill innocent citizens, activists, supporters, and members of opposition parties.
All this, including rigging of the elections has rendered most citizens politically exhausted due to the disappointments of election results over the years in Zimbabwe. ZANU PF has cringed to power despite corruption, looting, oppressing, torturing, and inhumanly brutalizing its citizens.
Bulawayo having suffered ZANU PF’s gruesome violence in the past together with deliberate economic incapacitation, citizens are disgruntled by the regime’s conduct, the lack of rule of law, and there are mostly devastated by the stagnancy of the political continuum of Zimbabwe.
The marginalization has led to industrial closure, shrinking of infrastructure, and high unemployment rate. Though such phenomena exist in all of Zimbabwe’s crumbling economy, the case of Matabeleland and Midlands is worse due to the neglect and nepotism the region continues to face.
Despite speculated fear, hopelessness, and tiredness towards Bulawayo citizens in politics, the CCC Yellow Skies Rally held at White City Stadium shocked many by storm. It was attended by thousands. Bulawayo citizens chose to believe yet again in the new hope for the redemption of Zimbabwe being led by Nelson Chamisa.
During his speech, there was an instant chemistry between Chamisa and Bulawayo. Chamisa addressed the Yellow Skies rally in Ndebele and speaking almost fluently. He was jovial from his dancing to singing.
Chamisa seems to fit well with citizens of Zimbabwe across their ages, races, and tribes. He humbly mingled with the citizens. There were equally ecstatic and could not stop chanting the slogan, “Kangene UJaha” which illustrated their readiness for change.
His speech illustrated an understanding of the trauma suffered by the people of Bulawayo and his true love for the city and how he wants it to develop. Chamisa touched on the wound of the Matabeleland citizens; the Gukurahundi genocide. He promised that once the CCC government is in office administration, he will foster healing and reconciliation. Steps he mentioned for this process included erecting a memorial site for all the victims of Gukurahundi, declaring a National Day of Mourning and Commemoration and offering compensation to the long grieving families.
Under the ZANUPF tyranny, the Ndebele culture has always been fought and an attempt to strip it off is continuously made. Chamisa promised the restoration of the ceremonial Ndebele monarch and building of sites that preserve the Ndebele culture.
Chamisa described his intended government to be led by citizens, putting the citizen at the front, and serving them from behind. He was chanted at by Bulawayo citizens as he left the rally location.
Chamisa spoke about how sentimental the Bulawayo city makes him feel. When younger, he says he had travelled from Mashonaland to Bulawayo to buy jeans and shoes. Being locally manufactured at the now closed industries of Bulawayo, jeans and shoes were affordable so much that one would travel from their city or village to buy them. He promised the restoration of Bulawayo.
Chamisa envisions the development and economic growth of Bulawayo to be unlocked through cattle ranching in agriculture, mining, and tourism. All these are sectors full of potential in Matabeleland.
According to Chamisa, the combination of natural beauty sites and a rich heritage of the Ndebele culture should yield forth a lucrative tourism industry. The same with mining, the vast mineral deposit that surround Bulawayo should develop mining technology that is sustainable, creating employment and yielding forth economic growth for the city of Bulawayo.
Article Written By
Nontokozo Malaba Ncube