By NQOBANI NDLOVU
THE Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) has insisted that it is not a tribal outfit following accusations that the Matabeleland based opposition party is not only pushing a tribal agenda but cultivating tribalism.
The MRP has been at the forefront in holding protests over what it argues is a tribally motivated deployment of teachers and nurses, among other government employees in Matabeleland.
As recent as last month, the MRP ganged up with other activists to protest against recruitment of nurse trainees at Mpilo and United Bulawayo Hospitals in Bulawayo.
They claimed locals from not only Bulawayo, but the whole Matabeleland were overlooked in favour of prospective candidates from other provinces.
“The MRP cannot be said to be tribal considering that we are a party that represents about 13 tribes that are found in Matabeleland and Midlands.
“And these are the tribes that co-existed during the Mzilikazi and the Lobengula era,” MRP president Mqondiso Moyo told Sunday Southern Eye.
He said the opposition party that participated in the July 2018 elections – it’s first time to take part in the country’s polls since its formation years ago — had a regional agenda that must not be confused for tribalism.
“As a result of that we are not talking of one tribe that is the Ndebele tribe but 13 tribes. When people accuse us of being tribalists, our response is that we are not,” Moyo said.
“Instead, Zimbabwe is suffering from what we call institutionalised tribalism perpetrated by Zanu PF’s 1979 grand plan, which speaks so openly about how they are to deal with the peoples of Matabeleland regardless of tribes.”
In 2016, the MRP forced the temporary closure of Mlamuli secondary school in Lupane, Matabeleland North while protesting against the deployment of a non-local as a headmistress.
The MRP with support of some activists and parents went on to demand that all non-Ndebele speaking teachers be kicked out of Punyuka, Jibajiba, Makhovula, Bhangale Malunku,Madojwa, Ndamuleni, Mkhombo, Matshakayile and Gadangula primary schools in Lupane district.
At the time, then Primary and Secondary Education deputy minister Paul Mavhima argued that understanding all languages in the spirit of embracing diversity should be the clarion call for every Zimbabwean to avoid such protests over the issue of language.
The MRP president said the opposition party is different from other Matabeleland based political parties such as the United Movement for Devolution led by former speaker of Parliament Lovemore Moyo and Moses Mzila-Ndlovu’s Alliance for National Salvation.
“We are a political party that is fighting for our own independence; restoring our own territory while other parties such as UMD are fighting for regional or proper representation in the current set-up,” Moyo added.
“They want to remain in Zimbabwe while at the same time defending the territory and economics of Matabeleland.
“Ours is a different agenda of total independence.”