‘Unity Day an insult’

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Commemoration of Unity Day, today, has been described as a scandal and an insult to victims of Gukurahundi mass killings.

Critics yesterday said remains of victims were still scattered all over the Matabeleland region, 24 years after the signing of the Unity Accord.

Representatives of Zapu, the MDC formation led by Welshman Ncube and MDC-T told NewsDay that it was ironic that some Zimbabweans were talking of unity when the Gukurahundi issue remained unresolved.

“If the unity exists, one would expect, 24 years after the signing of the Unity Accord, the issue of compensation or at best giving death certificates and a proper burial of the people killed during Gukurahundi would have been done by now,” said Zapu southern region spokesperson Methuseli Moyo.

“There are people were who never declared dead and when relatives go to collect death certificates, they are told to produce proof that their relative was killed during Gukurahundi.”

He said government should have by now returned Zapu properties and those belonging to individuals that were confiscated or destroyed at the height of Gukurahundi.

Moyo said the government was also supposed to restore the destroyed Zapu records.

“But now non-State organisations like Mafela Trust are doing that,” he said.

To make matters worse, Moyo said, the security forces were headed by former Zanla combatants.

MDC Bulawayo provincial spokesperson Edwin Ndlovu said Unity Day was not worth celebrating.

“It was an agreement that was signed and created jobs for a few individuals to positions of governors and non-constituency Members of Parliament without tackling issues that affect the people,” he said.

“The agreement was nothing but a slave-master relationship where you have to please the master to get favours.”

MDC-T deputy national spokesperson Thabitha Khumalo said the celebration of the signing of the Unity Accord was an insult to the survivors of Gukurahundi.

“We do not see any reason to celebrate at all when the bones of unarmed civilians killed by soldiers armed to their teeth are still lying around,” she said.

“There is absolutely no need to celebrate unity under these circumstances.”

But Zanu PF deputy secretary for information and publicity Cain Ginyilitshe Mathema said the Unity Accord was real and should be celebrated as a milestone in Zimbabwe’s national politics.

“We are calling upon everybody regardless of race or tribe to come together and celebrate this unity signed by the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo (of PF-Zapu) and President Robert Mugabe (of Zanu PF),” he said.

He dismissed sentiments from representatives of rival parties as baseless.

“Joshua (Nkomo) signed the Unity Accord,” Mathema said.

“We are going on with the celebrations.

“For us who came from PF Zapu and still in Zanu PF, we are going to celebrate the day and no one is forced to observe the day.”

He said Unity Day was provided for “legally”.

“It is a celebration of our freedom and our drive towards economic independence through the indigenisation drive,” he said.

“In Europe and North America there are no civil wars because the indigenous people own their economies. That is what we want to do here.”

The Unity Accord was signed to bring to an end Gukurahundi which was concentrated mainly in Matabeleland and parts of the Midlands and is reported to have resulted in the death of more than 20 000 people.