Unity Day yesterday largely passed unnoticed in Matabeleland with calls for politicians in the region to unite across political lines in the fight for the development of provinces.
In Matabeleland, Unity Day was marked by close of business as there were no major festivities in the three provinces. Home Affairs co-minister Kembo Mohadi said there has never been a year when the holiday was marked by public gatherings and celebrations.
On Tuesday, representatives of Zapu and the two MDC formations said commemoration of Unity Day was an insult to the memory of victims of Gukurahundi atrocities in Matabeleland and parts of the Midlands, which remain unresolved 24 years after the signing of the Unity Accord.
Reflecting on the holiday, politicians in Matabeleland told NewsDay that while uniting political parties was difficult, it was still possible to foster unity of purpose among politicians so the region can benefit.
Zapu southern region spokesperson Methuseli Moyo told NewsDay that political parties would always remain national, but politicians, as local representatives, could be united for the betterment of the region.
“Unlike South Africa with regional parliaments, there is one parliament in Zimbabwe and it is in Harare,” Moyo said.
“Even if you win in Plumtree, you will still have to travel to Harare to take your seat. What must be emphasised is unity among politicians across the region, be they in Zapu, Zanu PF, MDC or MDC-T.”
MDC organising secretary Qhubani Moyo concurred with Moyo saying there was nothing called a regional party, adding that unity between politicians should, however, not be for the sake of it.
“First and foremost, there is no political party for Matabeleland, but we have parties pursuing a national agenda. Some want to champion issues of Matabeleland within the context of the broader national discourse,” he said.