Is The Unity Accord Still Relevant?

But to ordinary Zimbabweans, the pact is no more than a mere document that brought together sworn enemies, then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo leader of the then PF Zapu and ended genocide in Matabeleland.

To date, the much celebrated accord has failed to get a buy-in from the majority.

The political protagonists involved stand guilty of failing to give it practical relevance.

Indeed, it is no more than a mere cosmetic document only there to be paraded towards elections by vote seeking Zanu-PF politicians.

MDC national organising secretary Qhubani Moyo, says other than ending bloodshed in Matabeleland, unity in Zimbabwe remains a fallacy for as long as what transpired during the killing of over 20 000 civilians in the early 1980s remains hidden.

“The unity accord did not provide so much in terms of opportunities for the vanquished,” he adds, “It was just a paper tiger that did not address fundamental problems that led to unity.

“How do you talk of unity when perpetrators of genocide were rewarded with top posts in government and the security forces and have even shown no willingness to repent? This is a big insult to the people of Matabeleland.”

Moyo says Gukurahundi still manifested itself through the “continuous subjugation and marginalisation” of people in Matabeleland in all forms.

“You cannot say there was unity when the sharing of the national cake is still tilted against the vanquished,” he says.

MDC-T MP for Kambuzuma Willius Madzimure says unity is a misnomer in Zimbabwe for as long as the current atmosphere of polarisation, name calling, political violence and a siege mentality among Mugabe opponents persists.

He says Zanu-PF has monopolised the pact to a point where it has alienated the rest of the population.

“We have failed as Zimbabweans to give meaning to the unity accord,” he says.

“Zanu and PF Zapu should have taken advantage of that occasion to make sure that unity is engendered into the culture of ordinary Zimbabweans. To date that does not exist.”

Madzimure says the accord has always been cosmetic right from the point of its signing as it was arrived at after PF Zapu loyalists were persistently bludgeoned into submission by the state.

Some say the pact is no longer relevant and needs to be replaced with an accord that has a buy in from the general public.

Methuseli Moyo, spokesperson for the Dumiso Dabengwa led Zapu insists the unity accord was rendered non existent when Zapu “withdrew” from the pact.

“The unity accord has been overtaken by events,” he says, “We need a non-partisan, national unity day. Zapu and Zanu are no longer the only political players. Again, Zapu has pulled out of the accord. Zanu must accept times have changed.”

There are strong feelings especially in Matabeleland provinces that the pact only benefited politicians from the region who joined the gravy train.

This they say explains why nearly all former PF Zapu stalwarts from the region have largely been rejected during successive national polls.

Some feel the accord has been individualised around the persons of Nkomo and Mugabe to a point it is unlikely to outlive the two personalities. They feel it is not a durable document.

Zanu-PF MP for Mberengwa East Makhosini Hlongwane admits the country was currently not united but insists on Zimbabweans celebrating the cessation of hostilities in the western provinces of the country.

“The unity accord should not be undermined. It was very cardinal in terms of punctuating our history. We cannot wish away the fact that we had to put a full stop as a country to the unfortunate events,” he
says.

But Hlongwane admits there is a structural weakness that is brought about by simply signing the unity accord and ending there.

“The unity accord was simply putting ideas on paper that would lead to a cessation of hostilities. We did not get into the content of the unity pact. The pact was not developed,” he says.

“What was not done was to allow victims and perpetrators to speak freely and openly about what transpired in the southern provinces of the country.

“You need to structure some kind of institution that will deal with those issues in a way that is robust, that ensures lasting peace and in a way that ensures such a thing will not happen again.”