MLF was launched last week in Bulawayo but questions have been asked about the movement with some claiming it was a group of disgruntled people who had nothing to offer the people of the region.
Since independence the Matabeleland region has been the hotbed of opposition politics, with politicians often taking advantage of a strong anti-Zanu PF sentiment in the region.
A number of parties have been launched each calling for the independence of the Matabeleland, but MLF’s call is seen as the most explicit and militant so far.
Among the parties that have launched include the Patriotic Union of Matabeleland (Puma) and Zapu 2000, which have all called for some degree of autonomy for the region.
MLF says it is a group of disgruntled people, who are victims of tribalism and perceived underdevelopment of Matabeleland compared to other provinces in the country.
“We want to free the people of Matabeleland from economic variations in the country, where some areas seem to be developed at a quicker pace than others,” MLF chairman Max Mnkandla said.
Among a host of claims, Mnkandla accused Zanu PF and MDC-T of tribalism, greed and an indifferent attitude towards the ills Matabeleland faced and he thought the region would be better if it were completely independent.
He said their call for cessation was in no way treasonous and anyone who accused them of that was “mad” and needed to be examined.
Despite having what others have described as a combative name, Mnkandla said they hoped to achieve their means in a peaceful manner.
MLF has been accused of being a tribal grouping but on the other hand it claims that it stands for a rainbow nation. “We envision a rainbow nation in which all nationalities, tribes and peoples would be treated equally,” reads the group’s Facebook status.
“Join MLF today and help smash the Zanu PF and MDC-T driven tribal supremacism and discrimination.”
MLF took exception at the MDC-T’s claims that it was a fly by night party, but the group says it is a movement with its “sole goal to liberate its people from bondage”.
Analysts, however, expressed mixed views on the party with some saying it would not see the light of day.
An analyst, who preferred anonymity, said what could handicap of the party is the none appearance of its leader, known as General Nandinandi at the launch recently as he was said to be in South Africa.
“How can a leader be absent when his party is being launched? They will have a lot of questions asked on their credibility,” he said.
The analyst said the party’s leader was an unknown and before he became visible it would be difficult to assess the genuineness of the party.
Takura Zhangazha, a political analyst, said as far as he was concerned the call for cessation in Matabeleland was not as popular as was being presented.
“Decentralisation and devolution are the popular concerns in Matabeleland,” he said. “If (cessation) is their mandate, then it is a mistaken one.”
Zhangazha said there was nothing new with the new party as there were similar parties in Matabeleland before, but they had all floundered.
“This is typical grandstanding not yielding any results,” he said.
“Such parties should be treated with suspicion as they do not understand the nature of politics.”
But Effie Ncube, a civic society activist from Bulawayo, chose to differ saying the formation of MLF was good for democracy.
“Anything set to liberate the people of Matabeleland is welcome,” he said. “This movement is an expression of the diversity in the country and it should be appreciated.”
Ncube said there was a sizeable population in the region that was against a unitary state and they could express themselves through the MLF.
MLF said it was not interested in politics and would not contest the elections set for next year, but rather it had one goal of liberating the people of Matabeleland.