BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
MATABELELAND Collective (MC), a grouping of the clergy and civic society groups in the region, has been rocked by divisions amid counter accusations that some members were State security agents determined to derail the project.
The MC’s mandate is to, among others, push for a Matabeleland cause such as ensuring there was development as well as finding redress to the Gukurahundi massacres that left over 20 000 civilians dead in the early 1980s.
The MC came into the spotlight in March after its members met President Emmerson Mnangagwa at State House in Bulawayo, where they confronted him over his failure to deal with Gukurahundi.
Southern Eye gleaned minutes of an MC meeting held on June 14 at Habbakuk Trust in Bulawayo, which showed that the loose coalition of churches and civic society groups was on the verge of disbanding.
So intense were the divisions rocking MC that the agenda of that day’s meeting had to be suspended, the minutes revealed.
“Importantly, the agenda of the meeting shifted when the meeting agreed that there was need to solve internal conflicts within Matabeleland Collective. A lot of mistrust, disunity and issues of consensus were highlighted, hence the need to suspend the agenda and deal with conflict,” the minutes read.
“It was acknowledged that there is polarisation in the collective and consensus building has been eroded, which in turn affects the work of the collective.
There are internal conflicts and divisions, with some fights spilling over in the collective WhatsApp group. Also raised were suspicions that some people are agents of (President Emmerson) Mnangagwa and Zanu PF, while others do not want to see the agendas of the collective going forward, with accusations that some do not want to see the Gukurahundi issue resolved as they are allegedly benefitting from the narrative,” the minutes added.
Dumisani Nkomo, spokesperson of the MC, yesterday confirmed the tension within the grouping, but argued it was normal for “internal democracy”.
“In a grouping with over 50 organisations from different backgrounds and mandates, there are bound to be differences which are actually healthy. We have been having robust debate and this is healthy for internal democracy as people are free to question and to criticise. If people are always agreeing, that is unhealthy. Unfortunately, when people disagree, it is interpreted as discord instead of diversity in views,” Nkomo said.
However, minutes of the meeting showed that divisions in the MC stemmed from, among others, a leadership crisis and capture of few individuals, though not cited, by some politicians.
The minutes read: “Some leadership members were accused of seemingly taking the lead, having meetings without the consent of the members. Major decisions were said to be made without consensus from the members. In essence, members at the meeting felt that there were some members pushing the collective agenda for personal actualisation.”