Mthwakazi Freedom Project is a coordinating node for the activities of affiliated institutions. This Project also takes ownership of the project to its logical conclusion in terms of which:
- All member institutions will pay an annual membership fee to contribute towards sustaining the activities of the centre,
- Additional funding will be raised through active participation of the local and district councils,
- That the centre be developed in phases,
- Annually, strategic planning sessions will be conducted to take stock of achievements and to pave way for future activities,
- That the centre will be autonomous from its stakeholders and will only report on a periodic basis, and
- That the board of directors is fully responsible and accountable for all the activities of the project.
From the above outline, it is clear that since 1980, people from Matebeleland and Midlands (Mthwakazi country) have suffered a great deal from Robert Mugabe’s genocidal and ethnic cleansing policies of Shonalisation, deindustrialisation, lack of access to land in their areas, education, and side lined in current indigenisation programmes. It is therefore imperative that Mthwakazi Freedom Project in cooperation and collaboration with all its stakeholders including those in the Diaspora and potential foreign investors examine a broader form of self-empowerment in Mthwakazi country for the benefits of our children and grandchildren.
Below we outline some possible strategies that could be improved on and implemented, as a way of planning for economic development in Mthwakazi in spite of a hostile environment. Whatever one’s cause of departure from Matebeleleland and Midlands (Mthwakazi country) for different destinations around the world, it is important to devise an economic development strategy that reflects the following principles:
- No one in Matebeleland, regadless of race, ethnic group (except Shonas who arrived in Matebeleland after 1970), religion, gender, and political affiliation shall be dispossessed of tangible and intangible property without recourse to an independent judiciary;
- White and black Mthwakazians who were forcible divested of their properties under Zimbabwe’s ZANU-PF’s genocidal and ethnic cleansing policies should either get their properties back or obtain adequate compensation from thieves who stole their properties;
- Locals must forcibly recover all land located near their traditional homes or areas from Shonas who illegally obtained such land with connivance of local politicians. It is obscene that children in Lupane have no furniture in their schools when timber is located in their areas. In other words, local communities must be seen to benefit from resources located in their areas. Similarly, people in and around Wankie must directly benefit from coal, methane gas and tin before people from Mashonaland; and
- Local stakeholders, Matebeleland people (black and white) in the Diaspora, and foreign investors should enter into partnerships in order to develop their own areas. Unlike in Mashonaland where chiefs are appointed, Chiefs in Matebeleland derive their history from time immemorial. Thus, local partnerships should work with Chiefs to exploit local resources for the benefit of local people while allowing foreign investors to repatriate profits to their preferred habitat. The current indigenisation programmes are inimical to the interests of people in Matebeleland and should be discontinued.