MPs from the two MDC parties have described Unity Day as irrelevant to the present Zimbabwean situation.
However, Zanu PF MPs believe it is an important day and Zimbabweans need to ensure unity fostered by President Robert Mugabe and the late Vice-President Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo was kept alive.
The following are excerpts of interviews with different MPs on the significance of Unity Day.
Settlement Chikwinya — Mbizo MP (MDC-T)
The Unity Day has lost its significance since it has become a unity of political parties not the unity of the people of Zimbabwe.
If you see the disgruntlement expressed by people of Matabeleland over the unresolved issues around Gukurahundi, then you will realise that December 22 is a day to remember unity between Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo and nothing more.
In these days of the inclusive government, the political leadership should be aligning the theme around unity in relation to national healing and to end hate speech; end to violence in all its forms and directing energies of people of Zimbabwe towards economic growth and democratising the political sphere.
If you see the adverts being played by Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) throughout all its channels, you then realise that the handlers of ZBC that is Zanu PF, are not sincere towards unifying Zimbabweans, but take the opportunity of Unity Day to consolidate their propaganda to the people.
Siyabonga Ncube — Insiza MP (MDC)
There is no benefit in commemorating Unity Day, especially for the Matabeleland people because if you look at PF Zapu people like Dumiso Dabengwa, they have moved out of Zanu PF and rejuvenated Zapu.
Genuine former Zipra leaders have dumped Zanu PF and the Unity Accord is no longer relevant (to them). Zanu PF has also been failing to win seats in Matabeleland — except a handful like Mines and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu who still has support.
This shows there is no unity between Zanu PF and PF Zapu people. Commemorating the day is just a waste of time and this day must not even be declared a national holiday.
Instead, July 1, the day the late hero, Vice-President, Joshua Nkomo, died should be the national holiday. That is why people of Matabeleland are happy that North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-il has died because he trained the military brigade that perpetrated the Gukurahundi massacres. We cannot respect Unity Day in Matabeleland.
Obert Chaurura Gutu — Justice and Legal Affairs deputy minister (MDC-T)
That day may be relevant to Zanu PF apologists and other like-minded people. To me, that day represents the day when the veteran nationalist, Dr Joshua Nkomo, finally gave in to Zanu PF’s battering and crushing of his party, PF Zapu.
Dr Nkomo had no other choice, but to let PF Zapu be swallowed by Zanu PF because his party had been subjected to a violent and relentless clampdown by Zanu PF.
If anything, that day should be commemorated as a very sad day in the history of Zimbabwe, that is, a day when Zanu PF’s thuggery was allowed to prevail over PF Zapu. It is, in fact, a day of national mourning.
As we commemorate this very sad day when PF Zapu was violently swallowed by Zanu PF, we should also reflect on the continuing clampdown on MDC-T activists by the Zanu PF-controlled security apparatus. For as long as Zanu PF continues to ride roughshod over the people of Zimbabwe’s rights to freedom of association and freedom of speech, Zimbabwe will remain a pariah State. However, some of us take comfort in the fact that a dictatorship can never last forever. Every dog has its day.
William Mutomba — Buhera North MP (Zanu PF)
Unity Day is really a very important day and it’s very unfortunate some people no longer respect that day. What we want in our country is more unity, peace and prosperity.
If there are differences among political parties, it is proper for people to sit down and iron them out, rather than undo that unity brought about by President Robert Mugabe and the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo.
We must follow their example and try to implement that unity. We must have unity of purpose. It is unfortunate some people are starting to talk of Gukurahundi issues. This limits the unity and we end up going nowhere. We want peace and we cannot open old wounds.
Edward Mkhosi — Mangwe MP (MDC)
Personally I do not think Unity Day is significant at all. Why worry about unity between the two political parties, Zanu PF and PF Zapu when it was dissolved a long time ago? Where is the unity?
They tried to bring peace in the country at that time because people were dying and the solution was to bring peace between Zanu PF and PF Zapu.
They decided to have a united State, but how can there be a unitary state in the present situation where there are a lot of political parties in the country.
It means talking of a unitary state is stretching our hopes too far. PF Zapu has regrouped and it means it has divorced itself from Zanu PF and there is therefore no unity.
When two people get divorced it means there is no longer a marriage and so Unity Day is no longer relevant.