Friday, December 25, 2015

Let’s Make Peace, Unity the Watchword in Zimbabwe
December 22, 2015
Opinion & Analysis
Zimbabwe Chronicle

Zimbabwe today marks the 28th anniversary of the signing of the Unity Accord. The agreement was signed in Harare on December 22, 1987, to end five years of civil disturbances in Matabeleland region and parts of the Midlands province. We commemorate this momentous occasion with great pride, seeing that without it, Zimbabwe faced a genuine risk of disunity, senseless fighting or even a split of the country. We commemorate the day in happiness bearing in mind the important role it has played over the past 28 years as a reference point in Zimbabweans’ quest for unity. One cannot talk about national unity without talking about the December 22, 1987 covenant between Zanu-PF and PF-Zapu, comrades who jointly fought the liberation war through their military wings Zanla and Zipra against the minority white regime but inexplicably turned against each other two years after Independence on April 18, 1980.

In extolling the virtues of national unity, we also cannot avoid recognising the role that President Robert Mugabe as leader of Zanu-PF and head of government as Prime Minister then, and the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo as leader of PF-Zapu played in the attainment of unity. They subordinated their individual interests and personal ambitions to the national cause of unity.

Their understanding and nationalistic orientation was the foundation that was needed for Zimbabweans to come together.

The country has managed to score high marks politically, socially and economically because of the prevailing peace and unity. Without these two fundamentals, we would have descended to the levels where a few African countries have fallen — Somalia, Burundi and to some extent the Democratic Republic of Congo where armed conflict, human suffering and economic mayhem are the order of the day. The leadership of the united Zanu-PF, led by President Mugabe always preaches and actually practices national unity. They are leading by example. The ordinary people have are following their lead.

Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, speaking in an interview with our Harare Bureau on Sunday said Zanu-PF leaders were expected to preach peace and unity. They should cherish and promote the unity that was spearheaded by President Mugabe and the late Vice President, Nkomo, when they signed the Unity Accord.

VP Mnangagwa, who represented Zanu-PF during the negotiations between Zanu-PF and PF Zapu said leaders of both parties accepted unity.

“So he (President Mugabe) is saying that those people who are in leadership who cherish unity, who cherish development, must always speak, breathe and work for unity,” he said.

“Don’t ever work for division for that will split the country. Let us all at whatever level, lowest level, middle level and high level work and promote unity. Of course you people in the Press can twist but the context in which the President was saying is that every leader must promote unity, speak unity, dream unity, walk unity, day in and day out.

“All members of Zanu-PF, be it in the Politburo or in the Central Committee, we all preach the need, the necessity and value of unity in Zanu-PF. This is a principle we would want to be a culture in the party to be united, to be peaceful, and to love each other. That is what we preach. We have elements who may speak other things but they do not represent the core values of Zanu-PF. The leadership of the two political parties accepted the unity, so this is the commitment we have to this unity. So I believe that as long as we’ve that spirit of unity, the spirit of development and the spirit of a focused revolution, we shall remain united.

“Yes in every revolution, we have elements which fall by the wayside but the main thrust or the correct line of the revolution will continue as we go on. We believe that this legacy will remain among you, the young generation, to continue to cherish the need for unity because with unity and peace, the country can develop.”

This is a timely reminder for Zimbabweans to ensure that they make peace and unity the national watchword.

The government made a decision a few years ago to further enhance the significance of the signing of the Unity Accord by declaring December 22 a public holiday. Therefore, as Zimbabweans rest today, they must not forget the intractable challenges that arise when brother rises against brother, sister against sister, neighbour against neighbour.

Some political parties and activists whose names we won’t mention here for by doing that we would be giving them a legitimacy that they don’t deserve, have over the years been wasting their time seeking a secession of Matabeleland from the rest of the country. Everyone ignored them, so they remain in the shadows. They will certainly remain there for Zimbabweans have demonstrated since 1987 that they can differ here and there, but their country is indivisible and national unity is primary.

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