21 March 2018
Drs: 50pct allowance review is 'nonsense'
MPs row as Mudede won’t reveal his age
Chamisa dispatches clerics, lawyers to Khupe
Shiri saves German farmer from eviction
Zimbabweans scoff at ED’s looters list
EU election mission assesses Zim situation
2m people dead since 2013, says Mudede
Ululation as Bhasikiti joins MDC Alliance
ED to sign free trade area pact in Rwanda
Government changes empowerment laws
Zim Achievers SA to honour Mtukudzi
Trey Songz up for punching woman
PSL mum on ZPC Kariba, Platinum match
SA: Kaitano Tembo praises youngsters
Why new dispensation keeps old problems
Bitter Mugabe repeats Berlusconi mistake
Zim politics and its eager prostitutes
Unpacking Mugabe’s Khupe overtures
Unity Accord: searching for a more perfect union
06/12/2012 00:00:00
by Takura Zhangazha
Union ... Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe
Fuel tax: killing goose, crushing the egg
Constitution: In praise of the 'no' voters
Bikita diamonds: time to self-correct
COPAC must be disbanded
Implications of Zuma's re-election for Zim
2013 Budget: 'Last orders' for GNU
Zim needs new generation of heroes
The constitution and pre-emptive politics
Mbeki's place in Zimbabwe history
The trouble with Clooney's crusade
Zimbabwe needs proactive drought plan
Mugabe at 88: an ambiguous revolution
Bikita's diamond curse
One continent, two African Unions
Libya: Africa’s false ‘end of history’
WikiLeaks: lessons for Zim politicians
Dollarisation boon for capitalists
A generational challenge
Zanu PF's attempt to reinvent itself
THIS December, we commemorate 25 years of the 1987 Unity Accord that united two former liberation movements, ZANU and PF ZAPU. A number of leaders from the two parties were later to have their views and roles in the Unity Accord's mediation process via excerpts published in a book edited by Zimbabwe’s first   President C.S. Banana entitled Turmoil and Tenacity, Zimbabwe 1890-1990.

In reading the book and the accounts, for example, over the disagreements as to what to call the new united party, it appears as though the Unity Accord was by and large an agreement between two parties and should essentially be left at that.

The truth of the matter, with the benefit of political hindsight, is that in its occurrence, the Unity Accord was as historical as it was to be beset by numerous problems in its aftermath.This particularly so when we take into account the preceding killings of thousands of civilians during a dark period that has come to be called ‘Gukurahundi’.

It is a serious indictment on the signatory parties to the Accord that the book does not record any leader as apologising  for these lives that were unnecessarily and tragically lost during and in between the seven years that it took to sign the agreement. Neither has there ever been an apology over the same matter a quarter of a century later from any of the leaders who now constitute the united Zanu PF. 

The closest that we have come to receiving an official acknowledgement of the fact that many lives were tragically lost from the government was when President Mugabe, in 1999, referred to the same period as a ‘moment of madness that should never be repeated’. And for many a Zimbabwean, this remains inadequate.

Almost an entire generation later, we have to deal with the reality of our immediate post Independence past through the act of a public holiday to recognise the coming to agreement of two former liberation movements. And with each successive commemoration, the Unity Accord may slowly be becoming a document and moment for historical record as opposed to one that, with the benefit of hindsight, should have signified a new departure toward, as its very name suggests, a united Zimbabwe; building an intrinsic and holistic sense of belonging to the territory between the Zambezi and the Limpopo rivers by all of its citizens. 


It is this particular point that must essentially be placed on the table for debate in 2012 and beyond because as the generation that was old enough to witness or even sign the Unity Accord passes on, so do newer and much more relevant reasons for keeping the country united emerge.

These more contemporary and organic reasons emerge within the context of how, 25 years later, while we go on the commemorative holiday, we still have not addressed the issues of differentiated development across the many regions of the country and are still faced with the urgent need to atone for the atrocities against innocent civilians during the Gukurahundi period.

But perhaps even more importantly, and due to the political contestations that emerged in the late 1990s, we are now dealing with issues that are not only historical but have come to affect our contemporary politics. Whether one looks at the ethnocentric splits of our current major political parties or alternatively the politicized debates around devolution and emergent separatist movements, there is adequate evidence to point to the need for a new democratic and unifying narrative beyond the power acquisition oriented statements of our current political leaders.

It is task that will require that, unlike our former liberation movements, we take the entirety of the national question into account. And this means that a new national unity must not seek only political compromises for seats at the table of power and resource distribution as sadly turned out to be the case after 1987.

While we must take into account the historical importance of 1987, together with its central positive of ending a direct but largely one sided conflict, we cannot afford to make the same mistakes as were made thereafter.

A new unity would entail a redress of the past not only for its own sake or to spite the other, but in order to prevent any such negative pasts from recurring in the future.  In order for this to happen, the younger generations of Zimbabweans must take up the mantle and refuse to use the templates of the older generations to address the challenges that we face as a country. 

We must take up the progressive values that established our national independence (none of which ever fought for a bifurcated Zimbabwe) and discard the regressive ideas and replace those with ones that have a truly democratic and unifying ethos to them.

This means avoiding simplistic ethnocentric understandings of our national political problems and embracing democratically tolerant and nationally beneficial ones which are based on people-centred holistic development needs.

We must also learn to accept that our diversity is not our weakness, but our strength and that the debating of ideas is the beginning of finding common ground to solving our national problems, together.

Takura Zhangazha writes here in his personal capacity (takura-zhangazha.blogspot.com)

Email this to a friend Printable Version Discuss This Story
Share this article:

Digg it






Face Book



comments powered by Disqus
RSS NewsTicker