Let­ters to the Ed­i­tor Unity, the pil­lar of a pros­per­ous Zim­babwe

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

ED­I­TOR — De­cem­ber is a cru­cial and sa­cred month in Zim­babwe, not so much for the highly cel­e­brated re­li­gious event that is Christ­mas, but be­cause of some fun­da­men­tal po­lit­i­cal changes that marked a turn­ing point in the coun­try’s po­lit­i­cal and his­tor­i­cal tra­jec­tory.

Af­ter more than five years of may­hem and tur­moil between in the early 1980s, the two main na­tion­al­ist par­ties, Zanu-PF and PF-Zapu, de­cided to put their dif­fer­ences aside in pur­suit of peace and unity.

Af­ter at­tain­ing In­de­pen­dence in 1980, it is per­ti­nent to note that Zim­babwe’s po­lit­i­cal land­scape went through a test of time marred by po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence, which in­volved these two lib­er­a­tion move­ments in the Mata­bele­land and part of the Mid­lands provinces. Po­lit­i­cal dif­fer­ences, which were ev­i­dent even at the 1979 Lan­caster House Con­fer­ence, cre­ated more prob­lems in the newly in­de­pen­dent coun­try that is Zim­babwe. As such there was a need to safeguard and find a cure for the na­tional cri­sis; ei­ther re­tal­i­a­tion or civil dis­obe­di­ence were not the so­lu­tions. The cure was unity.

Against this back­ground the two states­man, for­mer Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe of Zanu-PF and the late Vice Pres­i­dent Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo af­fec­tion­ately known as “Fa­ther Zim­babwe” of PF-Zapu signed the Unity Ac­cord of De­cem­ber 22, 1987. Hence, Zanu-PF and PF-Zapu merged and formed a united po­lit­i­cal front, which be­came known as Zanu-PF with the mantra of preach­ing unity of pur­pose for the bet­ter­ment of Zim­babwe, which three decades down the line we still cel­e­brate.

The sign­ing of the Unity Ac­cord not only marked the emer­gency of a United Front between the two revo­lu­tion­ary par­ties, but also marked the so­cial con­tract among Zim­bab­weans, which the colo­nial mas­ter had tried to erad­i­cate through his Di­vide and Rule strat­egy.

This event marked and shaped Zim­babwe’s iden­tity as a na­tion since prior to the Unity Ac­cord, cit­i­zens chose to iden­tify them­selves ac­cord­ing to the po­lit­i­cal gar­ment they de­cided to wear as well as their eth­nic back­ground.

That is why vi­o­lence was mainly un­leashed between Zanu-PF (dom­i­nated by the Shona) and PF-Zapu (dom­i­nated by the Nde­bele).

With the sign­ing of the Unity Ac­cord the na­tional “iden­tity cri­sis” was solved. This was be­cause po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tion and eth­nic­ity where ruled out as cri­te­ria for iden­ti­fy­ing and lo­cat­ing in­di­vid­u­als. The same spirit that pos­sessed the two lead­ing states­men for­mer Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe and the late Vice Pres­i­dent Dr Nkomo into sign­ing the Unity Ac­cord is also man­i­fest­ing in the present day Zim­babwe.

The Unity Ac­cord set a prece­dence on the po­lit­i­cal land­scape of Zim­babwe, with cit­i­zens copy­ing and past­ing the traits of this un­for­get­table peace set­tle­ment to erad­i­cate and thwart in­di­vid­u­als, who might be seen as stum­bling blocks to na­tional unity.

This was ev­i­denced by the Novem­ber 2017 Op­er­a­tion Re­store Legacy, which was a mil­i­tary in­ter­ven­tion sup­ported by the gen­eral pop­u­lace mark­ing an end to the Robert Mu­gabe regime, and the no­to­ri­ous G40 led by the for­mer First Lady Grace Mu­gabe and sup­ported by op­por­tunis­tic politi­cians, among them Pro­fes­sor Jonathan Moyo, Kudzanai Chipanga, Saviour Ka­sukuwere and Pa­trick Zhuwao.

Cit­i­zens saw the cap­ture of for­mer Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe by the G40 ca­bal and his wife as a threat to na­tional devel­op­ment, since klep­toc­racy, cor­rup­tion and nepo­tism be­came the or­der of the day. Be­cause the spirit of na­tional unity and pa­tri­o­tism was bur­dened, Cit­i­zens marched in their thou­sands if not mil­lions across the coun­try in sol­i­dar­ity with Op­er­a­tion Re­store Legacy, fully spir­ited with unity.

War Vet­er­ans are also im­por­tant in­di­vid­u­als, whose im­mense sac­ri­fices and con­tri­bu­tion to the In­de­pen­dence of this coun­try, as well as fos­ter­ing unity is worth not­ing. Their role in the lib­er­a­tion strug­gle is for­ever cher­ished and ap­pre­ci­ated. Many among them lost life and limbs, dropped out from school, had their fam­i­lies on the Smith regime’s fir­ing line.

The loss of our land to the colo­nial­ist op­pres­sor was for­ever a pain in their hearts. One only has to think of the atroc­i­ties com­mit­ted at Chi­moio and Nyad­zo­nia to re­flect on the lib­er­a­tion fight­ers’ sac­ri­fices.

War vet­er­ans are the van­guards of the strug­gle and the na­tion’s the torch­bear­ers; and, there­fore, must lead by ex­am­ple through ad­vo­cat­ing a cul­ture of unity.

In do­ing so, just like other cit­i­zens, they have to rally be­hind the elected leader Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa to en­sure that his ro­bust eco­nomic poli­cies be­come a suc­cess story. This will en­able the foun­da­tion of na­tional unity laid on De­cem­ber 22, 1987 to be but­tressed and safe­guarded. Unity! Unity! Unity! Ben­jamin Chivandire and Wal­lace K. Musakanyi

Ben­jamin Chivandire and Wal­lace K. Musakanyi are Univer­sity Of Zim­babwe Po­lit­i­cal Sci­ence stu­dents and Writ­ers. They can be con­tacted on ben­jam­[email protected] gmail.com and @wal­[email protected] com

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