Nelson Chamisa, leader of the opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC), has promised to end tokenism and promote merit in appointing senior government officials.
Speaking at a rally in Bulawayo on Sunday, Chamisa said he had received complaints from traditional leaders in the region that people from Matabeleland were being denied senior positions in government simply because of their ethnicity.
“I have received from the elders of Matabeleland that we have looked at all the key institutions of government, there are no Ndebele people and no Ndebele citizens who are occupying senior positions in government,” he said.
“For the first time, we will have Police Commissioners and army commanders who are Ndebele because we want to unite our country and its people.”
He added: “We want to move away from tokenism. People of Matabeleland should not be told that they belong to the vice presidents of the nation. Our party will leave a legacy, people should be voted for on the basis of merit not on the basis of tribe. We want to see someone from Matabeleland being voted for as the president of Zimbabwe.”
Chamisa said he draws the dream of “Zimbabwe for Everyone” from the late Joshua Nkomo and he plans to stand on his shoulders to build a united nation.
“We want to restore the dream of Joshua Nkomo. He is the only leader who had a revolutionary idea and dream to unite the people of Zimbabwe. He is the founder of the “for everyone” mantra and philosophy. I will stand on his shoulders and move the nation forward and to unite people,’ he said.
“We want to move away from the tribal names that we have given our provinces. We will reduce our regions to five. Southern, northern, western, eastern and central. Central region will be Midlands and that is where we will put Parliament building and government city so that we don’t do everything in Harare.”
Chamisa said his government would also ensure that people employed at local institutions can speak local languages, in order to promote communication and respect for local cultures.
“We will make sure that people get government services here in Bulawayo. Birth certificates, national identity cards and passports will be acquired here in Bulawayo. Not everything will have to be done in Harare,” he said.
“Devolution is the new revolution. We will also enforce this to make sure that languages are respected. We are not going to perpetuate language imperialism. If you look at our country, a lot of people acting as police officers and teachers in local communities cannot speak local languages. We want local languages for local people so that all languages are respected.”