Zimbabwe commemorates the 33rd National Unity Day tomorrow, amid calls by political leaders for Zimbabweans to set aside their differences, focus on taking the nation forward and be part of collective dialogue aimed at finding solutions to the country’s challenges.
The ZANU PF leadership in Matabeleland wants the nation to embrace unity and diversity as the country celebrates the Unity Accord signed between the late former President Robert Mugabe and the late Vice President Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo on December 22, 1987 to end political disturbances in Matabeleland and Midlands regions.
The Unity Accord brought together Zanu (PF) and PF-Zapu under the banner of Zanu PF.
In separate interviews, the leaders urged Zimbabweans to cherish unity, saying the country could only develop if peace was prevailing, as was the case now.
Zanu PF Politburo member Cde Tshinga Dube said Unity Day was important to the nation.
“Whenever people begin a process, there is what we call teething problems so Zimbabwe as a young nation went through the same era of teething problems where people, instead of solving their problems peacefully, they resorted to violence resulting in loss of lives,” he said.
Cde Dube said the focus should now be on rebuilding the country with everyone participating. “Our leaders Cdes Robert Mugabe and Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo in their wisdom and from their own experiences, sat down and resolved to end the disturbances and unite the people,” he said. It was not true that PF-Zapu was swallowed by Zanu (PF) when the Unity Accord was signed, but two parties uniting into one.
Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Minister Judith Ncube urged Zimbabweans to cherish National Unity Day saying it was a reflection of maturity on the part of the country’s leaders.
“Unity Day is a very important day to our people who know our history. The signing of the Unity Accord brought peace and stability, which translated into economic development for our country. We sat down as Zimbabweans and amicably solved our problems and this is what we should continue to cherish as a nation,” she said.
Bulawayo provincial war veterans’ leader Cde Cephas Ncube said the Unity Accord was an example of a home grown solution to a problem.
“Unity Day is a very important day, which should be celebrated by every Zimbabwean as it has brought peace and unity among our people. It is a reflection of home-grown solutions to our challenges and it means as Zimbabweans we are capable of solving our own problems without foreign interference,” he said.
Minister of State for Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Richard Moyo said Unity Day was a culmination of concerted efforts by the country’s leaders to put political differences aside and focus on building the nation.
“This is a special day which signified unity for the people of Zimbabwe. It reminds us of the efforts that our leaders such as the late Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo and Cde Robert Mugabe put in uniting us as Zimbabwe,” he said.
“For a country to prosper and enjoy its natural resources, there has to be peace and political stability. Under the Second Republic, there has been tremendous developments and in Matabeleland North a lot is happening in terms projects, which are benefiting local communities, and this is because of the prevailing peace in Zimbabwe,” he said.
Minister Moyo denounced regionalism and tribalism saying the two devils hamper development and economic growth. “Zimbabwe is a country of cultural and tribal diversity and Unity Day is such a special day that reminds us to embrace each other as a nation.”
Former MDC-T top official, Mr Obert Gutu, said Unity Day marked and commemorated a historic event in Zimbabwe when the two nationalist parties, which are also former liberation movements, united to form one political party.
“ZANU and ZAPU were the two dominant liberation movements that successfully waged the Second Chimurenga, ushering in our independence from British colonial rule on April 18, 1980.
“Unity Day should be commemorated as it ultimately defines that Zimbabweans are one people regardless of our ethnic differences. Zimbabwe is a unitary nation state full of diversity but we should always strive to be inclusive notwithstanding our diversity,” he said.