HomeNewsEducationEx-Chronicle journalist pens secessionist book

Ex-Chronicle journalist pens secessionist book

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A renowned journalist, Jonathan Maphenduka, is advocating for the secession of Matabeleland and the Midlands in his new book which is likely to ruffle feathers.

By Luyanduhlobo Makwati

The book — The Rule by Conquest: The Struggle in Mthwakazi — went on sale at the just-ended Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo.

The book has been described as a “must-read for all those concerned with human rights and justice” by academic Samukele Hadebe.

Jonathan Maphenduka
Jonathan Maphenduka

Maphenduka, a former journalist at the Chronicle, argues that the people of Matabeleland and the Midlands were victims of a genocide perpetrated by the government and colonial regimes.

He calls for a peaceful secession of the region along precolonial boundaries.

The 83-year-old journalist said President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba was the first person to buy a copy of the book.

“I am happy that the book has been received well and for the fact that academics have reviewed it,” he told Southern Eye.

“I am waiting for Charamba to review it and after that I will respond to all the critiques.

“But I am happy that people are reading it. Even the British must read the book.”

Maphenduka said he was motivated to write the book because he was aggrieved by the marginalisation of Matabeleland and the Midlands, which he refers to as Mthwakazi.

“I stand firm that these grievances should have been captured by someone, that is why I did this even though I was tasked by Umhlahlo Wesizwe Sika Mthwakazi,” he said.

Maphenduka said the cultural group, Umhlahlo Wesizwe Sika Mthwakazi, contributed a lot of written material which he used in his book.

“The system of segregation by the colonialists has been inherited by the current leaders,” he said. “As a result, this has led to serious tribalism to the extent that people from Mthwakazi cannot own land in Mashonaland while people from that region can come and settle here in Mthwakazi.”

Maphenduka said his account of history was not exhaustive because he penned the book in four months.

He said most grievances expressed by people from the region were articulated in the book.

A number of groups campaigning for the secession of south-western Zimbabwe have sprouted in South Africa over the years.

One of the most prominent groups is the radical Matabeleland Liberation Organisation led by Paul Siwela.

Siwela is in self-imposed exile after he escaped a treason trial. He was allegedly caught with flyers advocating for the overthrow of Mugabe and the creation of a separate Mthwakazi State.

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