BY RICHARD MPONDE \HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
THE Unity Day is a “useless” holiday that has no meaning as the country is in a subtle war with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration due to abject poverty and hunger being experienced by the masses, political analysts have said.
Zimbabwe commemorates the holiday every year on December 22, which marks the signing of the Unity Accord in 1987 by former President Robert Mugabe and then Vice-President Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo (both late).
Analysts who spoke to NewsDay said there was nothing to celebrate as the country currently had around eight million people that were facing hunger.
The World Food Programme (WFP) recently appealed for $204 million to feed four million of the most food insecure Zimbabweans for the next six months.
Political analyst Alexander Rusero said unity was not the silencing of guns like what happened at the signing of the Unity Accord in 1987, but about human security, an attribute which he said was lacking in Mnangagwa’s administration.
“Unity is very precarious to achieve in the current setting because of poverty and hunger because unity and peace do not only translate to the silencing of guns. If there are no gunshots but there is hunger, there is actually a subtle war that will be taking place,” he said.
“You will see it is more than just the silencing of guns, it has to do also with issues pertaining to human security. So as long as the government is not serious in terms of investing in human security, then there is no unity to cherish, there is no unity to celebrate.”
Another political analyst Austin Chakaodza said: “The signing of the Unity Accord in 1987 must be viewed against the background of the strategy of the then President Mugabe of establishing a one-party State in Zimbabwe. It was a party political unity which had nothing to do with uniting the nation. It was a political unity without purpose and substance apart from swallowing PF Zapu.”
Itai Rusike, the executive director of the Community Working Group on Health, said the COVID-19 pandemic had made it difficult for people to celebrate Unity Day.
“As the nation celebrates Unity Day in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to remind the general public that the health response to the pandemic is not the responsibility of the health workforce alone. It also calls for individual responsibility and informed community participation,” Rusike said.