HomeSport‘Unity Day has been personalised, lost value’

‘Unity Day has been personalised, lost value’

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ZIMBABWEANS yesterday expressed mixed reactions to the significance of Unity Day commemorations with opposition party leaders calling on the Zanu PF government to respect the national Constitution and allow for unfettered enjoyment of basic freedoms.

VENERANDA LANGA
SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER

The day has been celebrated annually since December 22 1987 when then PF-Zapu leader Joshua Nkomo signed a peace pact with Zanu PF’s President Robert Mugabe to end the internal strife believed to have been caused by Zipra insurgents.

Opposition MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said citizens could not be said to be enjoying true unity when the Zanu PF government was refusing to embrace devolution of power as enshrined in the Constitution.

“What Mugabe desperately craved for and indeed achieved after bludgeoning Nkomo and Zapu into what was called the Unity Accord was nothing, but the solemnisation of the total subjugation of Zapu by Zanu PF,” Gutu said.

“That is why to this day Mugabe has not seen it fit to embrace genuine devolution as stipulated in the new Constitution, and there can never be peace and lasting unity in the country as long as the Zanu PF regime remains intolerant, abusive, unrepentant, particularly regarding the past gross human rights abuses such as the Gukurahundi genocide of the mid 1980s,” he said.

National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) spokesperson Madock Chivasa said the day was not relevant as long as the perpetrators of Gukurahundi were not brought to justice and victims remained uncompensated.

“Zanu PF is just incorporating leaders from Matabeleland to pretend there is unity. When the NCA becomes government, we will ensure all victims of Gukurahundi are compensated and create a genuine national healing process for the victims and perpetrators,” Chivasa said.

Jacob Mafume, MDC Renewal spokesperson, said although unity was important, the Unity Accord was not being used to improve the lives of Zimbabweans.

“The rest of the country suffers. They have been united in looting and corruption. Their quarrels over the loot on political grounds, and not ideological grounds is causing cracks of disunity because the issue is about who gets the spoils. Failure to have values and people at heart leads to oppression,” Mafume said.

In a snap survey by NewsDay, Harare residents also expressed similar sentiments saying Unity Day had remained a political process and failed to connect with ordinary people.

“The idea of unity is good, but we need to see unity in the way we talk and treat each other.

We also need to address the foundational challenges facing the Unity Day concept so that Unity Day brings all Zimbabweans to the same level and fosters equal opportunities for leadership positions in this country,” Fungisai Sithole said.

Zimbabwe National Students’ Union national spokesperson Avoid Masiraha said Unity Day had been personalised and lost its value and purpose.

“New political parties have emerged and should be incorporated in the Unity Accord, or else the Unity Day will end up being a day for a few conservative individuals who are still locked in the 1980s and 1990s.”

Gilbert Kagodora, who leads a local political pressure group known as the March 11 Movement, said ordinary Zimbabweans were united, but politicians were not. “What happened recently in Zanu PF leaves us wondering whether there is unity or not. If one looks at the power dynamics, unity is being used to safeguard one man’s hold on power and to satisfy his ego,” Kagodora said.

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