As Zimbabweans celebrate Unity Day today, the inclusive government has been described as a platform on which the country could build on the existing peace and stability currently prevailing, analysts have said.
Unity Day is celebrated on December 22 every year. The unity pact was signed in 1987 between the country’s two liberation movements Zanu PF and PF Zapu.
The accord was signed to stop the warring between PF Zapu and Zanu PF which had cost the lives of thousands of people in Matabeleland and the Midlands.
As the years drew on however, and following the death of Joshua Nkomo, the Unity Accord lost significance. The people of Matabeleland felt they remained marginalised and top PF Zapu officials like Dumiso Dabengwa and Thenjiwe Lesabe left the united Zanu PF declaring they were going back to reignite PF Zapu.
They declared also that the Unity Accord was dead and that those former PF Zapu members who remained in Zanu PF were lost and were no longer representing the people of Matabeleland.
Goodwill Shana, the president of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, said the inclusive government should take a leaf from the 1987 Unity Accord for Zimbabwe to move forward.
The coming together of the three political parties –MDC-T, MDC-M and Zanu PF — was an indication Zimbabweans were able to find each other and solve their differences, he said.
He said unity was important if the country was to develop but said the talk of election was divisive as the country was still undergoing reconciliation.
“In a way the GNU (Government of National Unity) was needed so that as Zimbabweans we could begin to find one another,” said Shana.
“Dialogue among each other will help us as a nation to develop. The country still needs to continue healing and the view of the church is that elections will divide the people. We do not need elections at the moment.”
He said there was need for political leaders and the media to stop spreading hate language as that was not good for nation building.
Political commentator Christopher Mutsvangwa said without unity there would be no development.
He said the inclusive government was an example of how people from different political backgrounds could come together for the benefit of the nation.
“The inclusive government is a demonstration of what we can do as a country without outside interference,” he said.
Zapu director of information and publicity Methuseli Moyo said the Unity Accord was an agreement between two parties at the time and had since lost its relevance as it was signed by Zanu PF and PF Zapu that had since pulled out of the unity pact.
“The two could have legitimately claimed at that time that they represented the generality of the people’s interests but now the political circumstances have changed,” said Moyo.
“Zanu PF is now in the GPA (Global Political Agreement) with the two MDC’s and Zapu has pulled out from the Unity Accord,” said Moyo.
He said what was needed was setting up a day without any affiliation to any political party but for the people.
“The day must be celebrated before or after the Independence or Heroes Day celebrations,” said Moyo. “No party should lay claim on the day but it should be dedicated to the people.”
The pullout from Zanu PF by senior PF Zapu members like Dabengwa and Lesabe was cited as one of the reasons why the pact signed to end mass killings of about 20 000 PF Zapu supporters was no longer relevant.
MDC-T deputy national spokesperson Thabitha Khumalo said the day was losing its relevance given the monopolisation of the event by Zanu PF.
“It is no longer relevant in this political dispensation. The ‘Zanufication’ of national events has denied ordinary people who are not affiliated to any political party the chance to take part in the celebrations,” said Khumalo.
“We are in a new political dispensation though Zanu PF is not cooperating and as MDC we will continue to fight to have democracy restored to Zimbabwe.
“With the formation of the GPA, the Unity Accord has actually become null and void.”
MDC-M Bulawayo provincial spokesperson Edwin Ndlovu said: “Initially the Unity Accord had so much relevance but it was overtaken by events with the formation of the inclusive government. What should be celebrated now is the formation of the GPA.
“The GPA should be celebrated because at last (President Robert) Mugabe has agreed to work with other political parties.”
However, Zanu PF politburo member Sikhanyiso Ndlovu said there was still reason to celebrate the Unity Accord.
“What is important is that this year’s celebrations are unique. This year’s celebrations come at a time when the country has emerged stronger from the trials and tribulations of the past decade,” said Ndlovu.
He said opposition political parties and the GPA owed their existence to the Unity Accord.
“If there was no unity all these opposition parties would not be there. Violence has ended and President Mugabe has kept his word that he would stick to unity and address the land question,” said Ndlovu.
“It was not unity between Nkomo and Mugabe but a symbol of peace, unity and development as the motto of the accord.”
Ndlovu said attempts to revive Zapu did not have an effect on the Unity Accord as it was not all former senior PF Zapu members who decided to cross the floor.
“The Unity Accord was a voluntary process and no one was forced to enter,” said Ndlovu. “If some feel they want to go out then they are free. It is their opinion that the Unity Accord is no longer relevant and I do not have time to say bad things about them because I am a serious politician.
“The Unity Accord is still in effect and relevant,” Ndlovu said.
The Unity Accord clauses
1987 Unity Accord
The Unity Accord signed at that meeting stated:
1. That Zanu PF and PF Zapu have irrevocably committed themselves to unite under one political party.
2. That the unity of the two political parties shall be achieved under the name Zimbabwe African National Union (Patriotic Front), in short Zanu PF.
3. That Comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe shall be the First Secretary and President of Zanu PF.
4. That Zanu PF shall have two Second Secretaries and Vice Presidents who shall be appointed by the First Secretary and President of the Party.
5. That Zanu PF shall seek to establish a socialist society in Zimbabwe on the guidance of Marxist-Leninist principles.
6. That Zanu PF shall seek to establish a One Party State in Zimbabwe.
7. That the leadership of Zanu PF shall abide by the Leadership Code.
8. That the existing structures of Zanu PF and PF Zapu shall be merged in accordance with the letter and spirit of this Agreement.
9. That both parties shall, in the interim, take immediate vigorous steps to eliminate and end the insecurity and violence prevalent in Matabeleland.
10. That Zanu PF and PF Zapu shall convene their respective Congresses to give effect to this Agreement within the shortest possible time.
11. That, in the interim, Comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe is vested with full powers to prepare for the implementation of this Agreement and to act in the name and authority of Zanu PF.