21 December 2018

Zimbabwe: Peace, Unity Should Not Be Taken for Granted


There is a saying that what is hidden in the past is found in the future.

Tomorrow marks the 31st anniversary of the signing of the Unity Accord between ZANU-PF and PF-ZAPU on December 22, 1987.

The Second Republic under President Mnangagwa has not only acknowledged this important milestone in the country's history, but has also recognised the foundation laid by the country's founding fathers -- former president Robert Mugabe and the late Father Zimbabwe Dr Joshua Nkomo -- and their quest to unite the people of Zimbabwe.

These liberation struggle stalwarts' vision of an integrated Zimbabwe was not meant for their generation, but was conceived as a long-term and an enduring vision.

This should of necessity cascade to all spheres of life, across eras. The proponents of national unity realised that divided, they would not take the country anywhere, considering that they had spearheaded the liberation struggle from settler colonial rule in order to create a prosperous nation.

The move they made was in tandem with the Word of God that a house divided against itself cannot stand.

We hope that the three decades so far covered have made Zimbabweans realise the importance of unity, peace and harmony in order to rebuild the nation, especially given the chaos we see in other strife-torn nations on the continent because they lacked wisdom.

President Mnangagwa has taken up the baton and made unity of purpose among Zimbabweans an important pillar of his administration.

He always stresses that unity is a major ingredient in achieving Zimbabwe's Vision 2030.

Over the years, Government has come up with a number of initiatives aimed at uniting the people. While some have succeeded, others need revisiting and modification. This, however, should be done without losing the essence of the Unity Accord.

The first Unity Day in the Second Republic also comes at a time when the Motlanthe Commission's report into the August 1 post-election violence has just been released.

There are a number of lessons Zimbabweans can learn. While various sectors of society, political parties included, are studying the report, the bottom line to events of that tragic day is that if the nation was united, this would never have happened.

It behoves all political players to do a lot of soul-searching about their role in those tragic events, and the lives lost, instead of trying to blame the security agencies.

We hope that the Commission's recommendations -- meant to create a cohesive and united Zimbabwe -- will be taken seriously.

Yesterday, the United Nations also demonstrated its desire to see peaceful co-existence in Zimbabwe. The US$3,15 million Peace Building Fund deal signed between Government and the UN is a shot in the arm for national unity.

As we report elsewhere in this issue, the UN Peace Building Fund "aims to sustain peace by initiating confidence and trust building measures during the implementation of Zimbabwe's Transition and Stabilisation Programme".

If outsiders realise the importance of unity, it follows that Zimbabweans cannot take unity for granted, let alone failing to respect and defend it "at all costs".

Commemorating the Unity Accord a few days before the end of the year is also a blessing in disguise. It challenges every Zimbabwean to reflect on events of the whole year, and ask themselves what part they played in ensuring that unity is sustained, and how they can improve on it.

The late Vice President John Landa Nkomo used to say, "Peace begins with me; peace begins with you; peace begins with all of us."

The same with unity and harmony: they are the key blocks towards achieving President Mnangagwa's Vision 2030.


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