By Leopold Munhende
ZAPU spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa has dismissed Unity Day as a moment the Zanu PF led government has set aside to celebrate what he says were two evils experienced in the early years of a newly formed Zimbabwe.
The country marks Unity Day every 22 December.
The day was set aside to celebrate the coming together of the then Zanu led by late former President Robert Mugabe and his then bitter rival Joshua Nkomo, the late Vice President who led PF Zapu.
The 1987 unity ended fierce hostilities between the former liberation war movements following the killing of 20 000 civilians in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces by Mugabe’s military.
As the country marks the day, Maphosa dismissed the Unity Accord signed between the rivals and further described the day as a holiday to celebrate the killing of civilians by Mugabe’s notorious Fifth Brigade.
“It is a holiday to celebrate two evils that ever befell our country post-independence; that is the genocide on ZAPU and Ndebele people between 1982 and 1987 and the one party state that immediately followed the massacres in 1987.
“It has never been taken as a relevant or important holiday save for the hardcore Zanu supporters and members who only celebrated their tribalist triumph that was temporary.
“There was never unity between the two parties, what happened was a forced marriage certificate being signed by the blood of Zapu and Ndebele people instead of an ink. No negotiations took place prior to it, all that happened was Zapu being arm twisted into signing, lest the killings continue.”
Some 20 000 mainly Ndebele speaking people were murdered by Mugabe’s North Korean trained army unit in what remains Zimbabwe’s darkest period since independence.
The killings, initiated after Mugabe’s state security agents reported alleged murder of tourists and white farmers in Matabeleland and Midlands by dissidents, were only stopped after Nkomo conceded to a power sharing agreement, the Unity Accord on 22 December 1987.
Political Scientist Richard Mahomva however told NewZimbabwe.com the day continues to unite a seemingly divided country, quoting government efforts to appease victims of the Gukurahundi.
“Its principle as a unifying agent of our people against the backdrop of post-colonial violence is very critical.
“Commissions have been established to address the issues of human rights that have been violated over the years, the paramount point of reference is that of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC),” said Mahomva.
“Whilst there is a proposition that the aspect of the Unity Accord has fallen, we also need to look at other binding aspects of the social contract that emanate from the Unity Accord.”