By Bulawayo Correspondent
THE opposition ZAPU says it regrets signing the 1987 Unity Accord with then Zanu after the ruling party has allegedly refused to dump its hegemonic and violent tendencies in violation of the legendary agreement.
The once main opposition and former liberation party then known as PF Zapu and led by the now late Joshua Nkomo signed the agreement with Zanu which was then led by late State president Robert Mugabe, to form what then became Zanu PF.
The unity accord, signed 33 years ago, saw the two rival former liberation movements forming a restructured party but using the name Zanu PF and agreeing on making Zapu and defunct organisation.
The unity accord is also credited for ending fierce hostilities in the western regions of the country in which an estimated 20 000 mostly Ndebele civilians were butchered by the military at the behest of government.
The day of the signing of the agreement – 22 December – has since been made a public holiday and it will be marked again this Tuesday.
However, speaking at a revived Zapu celebrations to mark the party’s 59 years of existence, Zapu acting president Isaac Mabuka said the opposition party regretted signing the agreement with Zanu.
“Only one condition was given by Zanu PF’s Mugabe in order for Gukurahundi to stop – that Zapu signs the never negotiated unity accord document and agree to be swallowed by his party,” he said.
He was addressing senior party officials during low-key celebrations held at the party’s offices in Bulawayo.
“As a result, Zapu went in and the physical killings stopped albeit with the scorched earth policies of the government continuing up to this very day. What followed were years of unsuccessful efforts to reform the Zanu PF government as well as prescribing Zapu’s social, economic and developmental component into the resultant government’s policy.
“The Zapu component in the government also called in the government to respect, protect and promote human rights, but the calls fell on deaf ears, said Mabuka.
The party was formed on 17 December 1961, 10 days after the Rhodesian government had banned the then National Democratic Party (NDP).
The acting Zapu president said after failing to convince Zanu PF to reform, the party eventually decided to sever ties with the ruling in 2009.
“Eventually, Zapu got fed up and in 2009 severed the unity accord ties and pulled out from both Zanu PF as well as government. A resolution was taken at the White City Stadium and marked the first step of Zapu’s revival, followed by a special convention at McDonalds Hall in 2009 and later in 2010 at the ZITF Congress.
“The Zapu structures, after these events, were revived and became independent from Zanu PF. It has been a tumultuous journey, with the party operating in the most hostile of environments with close to zero budgets, but the loyal members and committed leaders. The party saw through its 2016 congress.
“However, we lost our sitting president (Dumiso Dabengwa) in 2019. We are preparing the upcoming 2021 (elective) congress. Zapu has proved to be the most resilient political party of all time After surviving the worst adversities and still be able to celebrate its 59th anniversary,” said Mabuka.