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'Unity Day commemorations now ritualistic, meaningless'

by Staff reporter
25 Dec 2021 at 09:23hrs | Views
ZIMBABWE's Unity Day has become a mere ritual, with Zanu-PF failing to adhere to the principles of the 1987 agreement, observers said yesterday.

Zanu-PF, then under the late former President Robert Mugabe signed the Unity Accord with the late Joshua Nkomo's PF Zapu on December 22, 1987 to end years of ruthless killings in Matabeleland and the Midlands.

The day is commemorated annually, but exiled minister Savior Kasukuwere said the celebrations had become just a ritual.

"Beyond the rituals of celebrating Unity Day, our society and leadership must reflect on the matters that divide us and work sincerely towards their resolution if we are to be a truly united people," Kasukuwere said.

Kasukuwere said real unity was a farce without justice for the 1980s massacres.

"There can be no real unity when the victims of Gukurahundi are dissatisfied with the peace and reconciliation process being conducted by the government. Indeed, there can be no real unity without the perception of justice being done."

Kasukuwere added: "The result of these failings is to divide society along political lines, with growing and not entirely unjustified, perceptions of a society divided by political association. A society in which those aligned to particular political movements enjoy the fat of the land while those who are opposed to them are victimised by the organs of State."

Local rights' group, ZimRights said Zimbabwe remained "ununited and unreconciled" 34 years after the signing of the Unity Accord.

"34 years since the signing of the Unity Accord, genuine unity and authentic peace has become elusive in Zimbabwe," ZimRights said in part.

It said Zimbabwe had witnessed countless human rights violations but several recommendations to address them, including the former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe have been ignored.

The Motlanthe Commission recommended that those involved in the August 2018 post-election killings be brought to book.

"Rather, the government has continued with atrocities, threats, intimidation and violence against those perceived to be of dissenting opinions and those of a different political ideology."

However, in his Unity Day speech, Mnangagwa said dialogue was important to end conflict, and warned those "threatening" Zimbabwe's peace.

"Whatever differences and contradictions we face, or are likely to face in the future, these should always find resolution through peaceful dialogue in the interest of peace and national unity," Mnangagwa said.

He said traditional leaders had a role to play in peace-building and conflict resolution initiatives.

"They preside over communities affected by the conflict; those hurt by the conflict are their subjects. They know the hurts; hear all the cries from the era and have suggestions on what needs to be done," he said.

"As we give space to our traditional leaders to lead processes of reconciliation and repair, we should guard against those negative elements which aim to reignite frozen differences in order to throw us back into renewed conflict."

Source - NewsDay Zimbabwe
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