Peace and unity form the bedrock of any nation’s development. Progressive forces across the globe forge coalitions to ensure their countries are economically competitive on global markets. Serenity rooted in democratic values spontaneously creates a favourable atmosphere for citizens to freely exercise their freedoms, including the ability to express their views without fear of retribution and peacefully demonstrate against governance immoralities.
While Zimbabwe on Tuesday celebrated Unity Day, signed by the country’s revolutionary parties — Zanu PF and PF Zapu – the nation is appallingly torn apart. The struggle for hegemony between Zanu PF and the main opposition party MDC-Alliance has rendered the “Zimbabwe United” sermon impotent.
Despite the ruling party perceiving the Unity Accord as historic, and, of course, deliberately tailoring the discourse to suit its ideological bias — avoiding to publicly apologise for the massacre of approximately 20 000 innocent souls in the Matabeleland and Midlands Provinces in the early and mid-1980s, Zimbabwe is regrettably at a crossroads.
The gesture by former vice-president Joshua Nkomo to sign a pact with former president Robert Mugabe (both late), brought a sigh of relief to the majority of Gukurahundi victims, but the accord did not bring to an end Zanu PF’s obsession with violence, which, hitherto, it heavily thrives on to brutalise political opponents and civil rights activists to consolidate its power.
In his Unity Day speech, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said he was encouraged by greater national cohesion and singleness of purpose prevailing in the country. Contrary to this assertion, divisive leadership and cluelessness exhibited by the new dispensation, has drastically reversed the little gains that had been left after the Unity Accord was signed, considering the master of tyranny Mugabe had outstandingly played his detrimental part to destroy the house he had built by unleashing terror on opposition supporters in 2000, 2002 and 2008 in the run-up to June 27 presidential run-off elections.
The docility among Zimbabweans – the resultant effect of several years of dictatorial subjugation – should not be mistaken for peace. The truth about Zimbabweans is that they are frustrated and dismayed, but have, for far too long, been denied the space to express their disgruntlement. They can never rejoice enduring acrimonious economic hardships spanning for close to two decades now.
Even when they overwhelmingly vote against the ruling party during elections, they will be forced to swallow the bitter pill — to accept that Zanu PF is their only choice. The fake face of democracy achieved through periodic holding of elections merely serves to hoodwink blinkered political followers. It’s a farce.
Usually accompanied by bloodshed, the polls in the country aptly indicate that besides the ink on paper, the Unity Accord simply brought temporary closure to mass murders in Gukurahundi-ravaged regions, without binding Zimbabweans into one family pursuing the common good.