“We are different from other political parties and our main objective is to restore the Ndebele State established by King Mzilikazi before the advent of colonialism. Other parties are calling for devolution of power but we are calling for dissolution of power, said David Magugala, MLF executive member.
“We want Matabeleland to be reinstated to its position as a State as it was before 1923 so that we can be free and rule ourselves. This is the time for us to stand up and claim self determination in order to enjoy our rights,”said Magagula addressing about 300 people who had gathered at Stanley Square in Makokoba high density.
MLF is led by one General Nandinandi based in South Africa and its chairperson is war veteran Max Mkandla who is also Zimbabwe Liberators Platform Initiative leader.
Magagula said the party had been operating as a pressure group for the past five years in South Africa where most of its members are based.
Most Matabeleland people are bitter with President Robert Mugabe who has been at the helm of the country since independence in 1980, for the gukurahundi era which saw thousands in the area and in the Midlands being massacred by the North Korean trained fifth Brigade.
Mugabe has refused to apologise or compensate the victims of gukurahundi. People in Matabeleland also feel that their area is under developed compared to other regions in the country.
Meanwhile, MDC-T has blasted the recently formed Umthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF) as a fly-by-night political party formed by Zanu PF to confuse people of Matabeleland ahead of possible elections next year.
The party’s provincial secretary for information and publicity, Felix Sibanda, described all other parties as tribal.
“From the outset we have to acknowledge that (the formation of parties) upholds the freedom of association. However, we are dismayed by some fly-by-night political parties in the name of MLF which purports to be a Ndebele party contrary to the Zimbabwean culture where we believe that we are one but believe in devolution of power politically and economically,” said Mafa, who is also MP for Magwegwe constituency.
“I want to congratulate the people of Matabeleland for snubbing the party launch yesterday (on Tuesday) by people who are trying to abuse people from the region and Midlands using ethnic and tribal connotations, which are dangerous to a young democracy like Zimbabwe.”
MLF was formed by Zimbabweans based in South Africa and Botswana and was launched at Stanley Square in Makokoba in Bulawayo on Tuesday.
However, residents snubbed the launch of the party as only a handful attended. Sibanda said people from the region should stop being used as experimental ground by “wishful people trying to form a political party”.
“They have experienced the Mavambo/Kusile project that involved Simba Makoni and Dumiso Dabengwa who diluted the election where MDC-T could have come out as an outright winner. MFL is a creation of Zanu PF to destabilise progressive forces in Zimbabwe,” said Sibanda.
“We do not see any difference between Mavambo/Kusile, MDC-M and Zapu and the MLF which were all built on tribalism. As MDC-T we want to talk about devolution of power so that it is at the grassroots.”
Sibanda also fired a broadside at Zapu Federal Party secretary-general and president Paul Siwela and Agrippa Madlela respectively as “spent forces and political prostitutes with a track record of political philandering that have never won a single election”.
He said towards election dates, more parties of this nature, especially in Matabeleland, would be formed to dilute the vote. He urged MDC-T members to register and be ready for elections anytime as they expected a clean sweep.
“The people have seen how the economy developed when the inclusive government was formed,” said Sibanda.
Contacted for comment, Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial chairman Isaac Dakamela dismissed the MDC-T assertions as “not serious”.
“I will not comment on petty issues. People are free to form any political party. We are not going to ask our members to form political parties and contest against the party. That does not make sense,” said Dakamela.
MDC-M Bulawayo provincial spokesperson Edwin Ndlovu said the MDC-T was the one which was a tribal party and Sibanda himself was benefiting from the party’s tribalism.
Siwela on the other hand said Sibanda, just like most politicians in Matabeleland, does not have a political cause.