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22 December - to celebrate or not to celebrate?

by Iphithule T Maphosa (ZAPU)
22 Dec 2017 at 07:28hrs | Views
ZAPU will never celebrate a ceasefire cosmetically packaged as unity.

Whereas in late 1982 to early 1983, ZANU PF led government of Zimbabwe embarked on a well planned, orchestrated and sustained pacification of the opposition party of the time, ZAPU.

Whereas this purging initially targeted ZAPU the party, its supporters and leadership, it degenerated into a tribal genocide tat we today call Gukurahundi.

Whereas in 1987, ZAPU, after being clobbered to submission, agreed on a unity pact with ZANU PF, when our then President Joshua Nkomo appended is signature to the Unity Accord document of 22 December.

It is imperative to relook at how the unity accord came into place. It was initiated by the unbridled love for unopposed power by ZANU PF. It was forced on our people through the barrel of the gun. It came with three distinct conditions that is
• Lifting of curfews around Midlands and Matebeleland provinces,
• Withdrawal of forces from the same provinces and
• Submission to ZANU PF by ZAPU.

ZAPU was gurgled to join ZANU PF. So this is not unity. It never was unity. There was no willpower from ZAPU to either join or work with ZANU PF. Neither was there willpower from ZANU PF to unite our people as all this was done to attain and sustain political power.

There was no mutuality on the unity accord, there were no known negotiations to the pact except the gun on the table, hence the refusal by the ZANU PF government to apologize for the five year bloodletting on ZAPU supporters and members.

Today, thirty years down the line, Zimbabweans, having been cheated in 1987 into believing that we were united, we annually celebrate a ceasefire offer by ZANU Pf's Robert Mugabe to ZAPU, itself coming with the three conditions as above stated.  

Had the Unity Accord been an attempt to unity, the process was supposed to come in three phases as in the following order:
a.    negotiation for a ceasefire
b.    peace building
c.    unity negotiations

All this was short circuited by Mugabe and ZANU PF and they could afford to because of the following reasons:
i.    There was, in the first instance, no threat to ZANU PF rule from ZAPU as purported by Robert Mugabe.
ii.    ZAPU complied in full with the military integration dictates, both for personnel and arms. The "dissidents" Mugabe and his government purportedly were hunting for were their own creation as cover for the heinous crime against humanity in the southern parts of the country.
iii.    Those from ZPRA who were not integrated complied and surrendered their arms, meaning they knew very well they were attacking unarmed civilians with zero resistance.

In this regard, ZAPU sees no reason to celebrate the so called unity day tomorrow. To us, it is celebration of one party state and dictatorship, also of decimation and raping of ZAPU and democracy respectively. ZANU PF, having departed from the liberation ideals, sought to establish a dictatorship North Korean style through a genocide known today as Gukurahundi. What they celebrate on this day is triumph over ZAPU and the celebration has nothing to do with the much needed unity among our people.

Let us all remember, as the so called unity day is with us today, that this unity came at a serious cost. It was paid for by the blood of our ZAPU brothers and sisters who were massacred during genocide. Till today, the perpetrating government has not accepted responsibility, justice has not been served and the victims are still to be accorded decent burials. The wound of that genocide festers each day and one wonders how to celebrate the purported unity. ZAPU, as believers of a peaceful and harmonious existence of a people, never subscribes to a peace meal deal of unity that is created right in the middle of an armed conflict.

True peace can only be negotiated under peaceful conditions. As such, the unity accord was supposed to be properly negotiated way back in 1979 during the ceasefire of the armed struggle. Instead, in their usual cunning fashion, ZANU PF blew the only remaining chance at peaceful and united existence and co operation when they dumped ZAPU in the Patriotic Front to register for the 1980 elections as ZANU PF. It is ironic the same people came around in the early years of their victory to preach unity, with the barrel of the gun as instrument of coercion.

What unity is created when armed Fifth Brigade under the command of Perence Shiri use bayonets on pregnant women all in the name of hunting for dissidents? Can an armed dissident fit in a woman's womb? What unity can be created by five years of unabated mass murders of unarmed and defenseless civilians, destruction of property, marathon curfews, closure of schools and medical facilities in half of the country? How do we celebrate such as unity? How does 22 December get to be celebrated?  

Who celebrates this day besides blood thirsty among us who killed over 20 000 only for a one party state in Zimbabwe? Who celebrates this day except those who have benefited from Gukurahundi and the subsequent sustained marginalization and retribution of ZAPU strongholds in the southern parts of our beautiful country? ZAPU and all people affected by the genocide instead will embrace this day and on it commemorate the end of the Gukurahundi genocide and also in remembrance, pray for and celebrate lives of our gallant ZAPU sons and daughters who paid the ultimate price at the hands of the ZANU PF government.

The government, as perpetrator must take strides to embrace this genocide as part of our unfortunate history. It must create mechanisms to address the Gukurahundi question and do all it can to facilitate true justice, national healing and reconciliation. ZAPU stands in situ to be a conduit to the affected villagers in all the communities, to facilitate the much needed dialogue between them and the perpetrators, who are still in government to this day. It is the people who have the answers to this crime and the solution lies in engaging them as victims and survivors. Other than that the unity our people celebrate is an illusion.

Iphithule T Maphosa
Secretary for Information Publicity and Marketing
Zimbabwe African Peoples Union (ZAPU)

Source - Iphithule T Maphosa