The Parliament of Zimbabwe is, during the coming weeks, going to find itself in a compromising position where it is to debate a subject that has been somewhat considered taboo in the country’s political platforms – the subject of tribalism. This is after the Matabeleland South Proportinal Representation MP Hon. Ms Priscila Misihairambwi-Mushonga introduced a motion in the lower house (on the 3rd of October 2017) seeking the house to debate the thorny issue of Ndebele tribal marginalization in the tender system.

According to the Motion by Hon Misihairanbwi-Mushonga, Ndebele people and companies led by the Ndebeles are marginalized in accessing government tenders and this is observed in various sectors that include health, local government, government parastatals, etc.

“It is not possible that you want to tell me that all Law Firms that do not bear Shona names have no capacity to be taken on as debt collectors.  It does not make sense to me.  Just from a basic way of doing business, if I was doing business either as UBH, Mpilo or Parirenyatwa, my best thing would be to say where can I find those that are around this particular area because it is more effective and it makes more business sense.  So, how is it possible that you would want to find a Chihambakwe from here to do debt collection about what is going on in Bulawayo, Hwange or Beitbridge – it does not make sense” reads the motions.

Misihairambwi – Mushonga said such deliberate tribal marginalization violated fundamental Constitutional provisions. “ACKNOWLEDGING that Section 18 of the Constitution provides for regional equality and states ‘The state must promote the fair representation of all Zimbabwe’s regions in all institutions and agencies of Government at every level;

FURTHER ACKNOWLEDGING that Section 17 provides that ‘The State must promote full gender balance in Zimbabwean society, and in particular the State must promote the full participation of women in all spheres of Zimbabwean society on the basis of equality with men” reads part of the motion.

The full motion is found on parliamentary site:


The Misihairambwi-Mushona motion is expected to open a wide ranging and emotional debate in parliament, especially considering that the problem of institutionalized tribalism has always been swept under the carpet in Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights has written an open letter calling for the Parliament of Zimbabwe to set up a special parliamentary working group/taskforce to deal with the tribalism issue by gathering the views of the tribal minorities in the country on the magnitude of the problem and how it can be solved. According to the institute, tribalism violates fundamental human rights and freedoms of the people as enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe and international law.

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