MDC-T organising secretary Abednico Bhebhe has urged local party leaders against fomenting ethnic tensions, saying this had the potential of degenerating into a civil war.
BY ALEXIS SIBANDA
Bhebhe made the remarks on Friday at a peace-building meeting organised by Bulawayo-based pressure group, Ibhetshu LikaZulu.
“We should do away with ethnicity because if we continue following in the footsteps of former President Robert Mugabe, who was the perpetrator of ethnicity, we will never manage to bring Zimbabweans together. It may take 36 years multiplied by two to unite Shona and Ndebele people if tribal statements continue to come from politicians,” he said.
Bhebhe called on Zimbabweans to accept each other, regardless of their ethnic backgrounds.
“Ethnicity should not be used as a mobilising tool because it has failed to bring unity within Zimbabwe, and as long as the issue that Ndebele cannot rule still continues, there is no way a proper nation can be built. Whatever the government is doing they should not separate people according to ethnicity,” he said.
Bhebhe said people from different ethnic and tribal backgrounds should instead join hands in pushing for devolution of power.
“Defending devolution is the way to start because centralisation does not give everyone the power and thus we can build a nation if we begin with devolution of power. We can demonstrate as Matabeleland that we can still make change through the votes that we will do when we vote,” he said. Speaking at the same occasion, Centre for Public Engagement director Samukele Hadebe said: “Perceptions that Ndebele people are the minority should be defeated because these perceptions affect us in a devastating manner and re-enforcing these perceptions is not part of building the society.”