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Cross speaks on tribalism storm

BULAWAYO South MDC legislator, Eddie Cross — who has been under fire after he recently torched a tribal storm after insinuating that Ndebele political leaders were divisive and viciously opposed to the idea of an alliance — has said he is being unnecessarily hounded.

BULAWAYO South MDC legislator, Eddie Cross
BULAWAYO South MDC legislator, Eddie Cross

He told Southern News that his remark was misinterpreted and he “does not feel threatened”.

“You can judge me on my writing. I try to be fair and objective and honest. Not always welcome,” Cross said in response to emailed questions.

“I have been writing on the struggle for 10 years,” he said.

Cross, who asked this reporter to visit his blog first to see how he articulated issues, before responding, said: “If you think I am wrong or unbalanced in what I say on any subject please let me know.”

Further quizzed to elaborate on the matter on his remark in question, he said: “I do not want to stoke the fires. So much is based on a misunderstanding.

“But I don’t feel threatened either, not at all; I am totally committed to the struggle.”

Cross’ remark which triggered the furore was carried on his blog in an opinion titled “Are our tribal roots still relevant?”

The opinion was in response to recent divisions that rocked the MDC and the Tendai Biti-led People’s Democratic Party (PDP) over the formation of the MDC Alliance.

Cross accused leaders from Matabeleland of being a threat to the formation of a coalition by opposition parties ahead of next year’s elections.

“It has not been an easy road to walk, Ndebele interests always wanted special recognition and representation and the influence of tribal affiliation is found in all areas of the country, Chipinge with the Ndau for example,” wrote Cross.

“Now suddenly, the spectre of Ndebele nationalism is raising its head again — a new “king” has been sworn in (the first in 100 years), a new alliance is proposed between various Ndebele and Zulu-dominated groups.

“Ndebele leaders in both . . . Biti’s . . .  PDP and the (Morgan Tsvangirai-led) MDC-T are demanding special treatment and threatening to coalesce around a new separatist Ndebele/Kalanga leadership,” he noted.

Cross added: “This is very dangerous and retrogressive and I hope the MDC Alliance will reject this initiative and maintain its historical stance; devolved power and control within a unitary State is the only way forward. Anything else can only take us backward.”

Last week, police here blocked an Ibhetshu LikaZulu-organised demonstration against him in his constituency. Daily News