Sunday, December 22, 2019

‘Unity Accord Will Never Wear Out’
22 DEC, 2019 - 00:12
Zimbabwe Sunday Mail

President Mnangagwa delivers his keynote address on Unity Day at State House in Harare yesterday. - Picture: Believe Nyakudjara

Zimbabwe today celebrates Unity Day. We reproduce President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s message for the historic holiday


Fellow Zimbabweans;

Fellow Zimbabweans,

It is now 32 years since the signing of the Unity Accord which united ZANU and PF-ZAPU, the two sole parties of our national liberation, and most importantly it united Zimbabweans.

Tomorrow (December 22), we commemorate this historic accord.

The Unity Accord between these two liberation movements was signed on 22 December, 1987, by our two founding leaders, veteran nationalists and freedom fighters: Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe representing ZANU; and Cde Joshua Mgabuko Nkomo, representing PF ZAPU.

This landmark event ended the disturbances which had flared up soon after our Independence, and threatened to split and rip our nation apart.

It laid a strong and lasting foundation for our national unity, itself the bedrock of the stability and amity we continue to enjoy as a united people.

Sadly, the two leaders of our Independence struggle and signatories to this watershed document are no longer with us.

But their epochal works and deeds make them live beyond their lifetime. We thank them heartily, and will forever remember and honour them as founders and makers of our nation.

We stand obligated to further the ideals of this timeless bequest of unity to our nation. Far more than a legacy, the Unity Accord is a material force which continues to shape our politics to this day and forever. It never wears out, nor will we ever allow it to perish. It is the life-force of our nation, the pith of our nationhood. We are as good as strong as we are united: today, tomorrow and forever

All generations, all citizens and all leaders of this nation, must continue to renew, affirm and reaffirm our unity as a people. We should never tire to work for national unity, to think, act and to live true to its dictates.

Zimbabwe is and must remain a home to all who belong to, reside and believe in it.

Fellow Zimbabweans:

I revere and celebrate the Unity Accord because it is a national ethic and value which rises above party politics. It is a core part of processes which founded our nation and keeps us together as a nation

During the liberation struggle, both ZANLA and ZIPRA progressively came together and fought against settlers as a united force. The Unity Accord is, thus deeply rooted in our history.

Today more than ever before we need national unity

Firstly, unity to defend and secure our sovereignty.

While the struggle for political independence may have formally ended in 1980 with our independence, the mission to secure that independence remains and is ongoing.

We continue to face challenges to our sovereignty, such as the illegal sanctions by which certain global interests seek to subvert and compromise our hard won independence.

Many hostile interests eye our resources and would want to access them. We must meet this threat by remaining solidly united, even now that SADC, Africa and the progressive world have joined us in a show of practical solidarity.

Secondly, unity to recover and grow our economy.

We have committed ourselves to Vision 2030 to transform and develop our country into an upper middle income economy.

We must be united to assure our people of decent livelihoods through inclusive development and growth which leaves no one behind.

This immutable goal requires all hands on the deck regardless of politics, tribe, region, race or creed.

Zimbabwe needs all its hands; black or white; long or short; tender, clean or greased; fisted or open. All these hands belong to our nation which today bids them to work for it, and in unity and harmony. We have created channels and avenues for resolving our differences and sharing ideas on challenges we face as a nation. It is never too late to serve your people and country.

Thirdly, unity for peace, harmony and eternal peace in for our nation.

A divided house soon crumbles and falls. We should never entertain politics which mobilise around narrow, anti-nation sentiments.

Zimbabwe is a unitary state and politics operating below that constitutional dictate, should be rejected.

We must therefore always seek to be more peaceful and more united through greater interaction, greater justice and more balanced development.

The policy of decentralisation and devolution enshrined in our constitution must take root and be accelerated.

That is what consolidates the Unity Accord which our founders bequeathed to us.

Celebration of Independence away from Harare gives full meaning to both the attaining of Independence and unity we enjoy.

Fourthly, unity for greater democracy.

Our Constitution bids that we hold elections after every five years. With elections comes contestation; however, these must never be aggressive or divisive rivalry. Democratic contestations should never destroy our national cohesion.

The quest to govern is neither a license to divide. Our politics must never fracture our nation or threaten to break it up. Our politics must affirm our nation by always advancing, productivity, economic development and prosperity for all our people. That is which is in the best interest of the people must beacon.

Fifth and last, national unity for sub-regional and continental cohesion

Zimbabwe is an African country whose membership is in SADC and the African Union. We have played and discharged important roles in our region, and our continent.

Zimbabwe remains among those states that can be counted on for conflict prevention, management and resolution.

Presently, we chair the SADC Organ on Defence, Politics and Security. Not long ago, we were a member of the African Union’s Peace and Security Commission.

Only a united Zimbabwe which is at peace with itself and its neighbours becomes a useful member of its Sub-region and its continent. We owe it to ourselves, but also owe it to our African brethren.

I exhort us all therefore, to continue to cherish our unity and working towards its consolidation.

As we slow down and take a deserved rest, starting tomorrow, the day we remember the signing of the Unity Accord and over Christmas and the New Year; Let unity, peace, love and harmony prevail over our great country.

God bless you all. God Bless Zimbabwe. I thank you.

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