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Zimbabwe celebrates 33rd Unity Day

by Staff reporter
22 Dec 2020 at 07:00hrs | Views
TODAY Zimbabwe celebrates the 33rd Unity Day with focus on nation building and rebranding. Last Saturday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa told delegates at the launch of the national dress that the apparel promoted unity among Zimbabweans.

"The fabric plays an important role in the preservation of national values and cultural heritage and helps create unity among our people. I challenge the citizenry to conceptualise our apparel as more than just a form of identity. It must be a bridge, joining communities with the uniqueness of their heritage, moreso given that this launch is happening two days before our country commemorates Unity Day"

The Unity Accord was an agreement between Zimbabwe's two major nationalist movements namely the Zimbabwe African People's Union led by the late Joshua Nkomo and the Zimbabwe African National Union led by Robert Mugabe also late.

The agreement was signed on December 22, 1987 to form a united nationalist political party and end ethnic violence which had marred the country since the early 1980s.

Soon after the country attained independence in 1980, there was a brutal suppression of Zimbabwean civilians, mostly supporters of Joshua Nkomo, by Zimbabwe's North Korea-trained 5th Brigade in the predominantly Ndebele regions of Zimbabwe.

The sad event which became known as the Gukurahundi massacres which claimed 20 000 innocent lives.

Zapu's former Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (Zipra) combatants engaged in banditry activities against the civilians in Matabeleland and destroyed government infrastructure.

Zipra and Zanu's Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (Zanla), were rivals as they competed for the support of the people and would fight each other. When Zimbabwe won independence, there was, therefore, need for peace between the two sides which fought the settler regime in the 1970s.

On December 22 1987, Nkomo and Mugabe signed an agreement that merged the two par-ties. On April 18 1988, Mugabe announced an amnesty for all dissidents and Nkomo called for them to lay down arms and 22 dissidents surrendered.

That marked the end of the dissident problem. December 22 was made a public holiday in 1997 and since then it is remembered for ushering peace and reconciliation. It is marked by national celebrations, among them sporting events, including a soccer championship in which the winning team receives the Unity Cup.

In the city of Masvingo, the general public and leading political figures gather at the Great Zimbabwe National Monument for a concert featuring a number of musicians.

Legacy and meaning

The Unity Day in Zimbabwean has become associated with ethnic unity and cohesion between the country's two major ethnic groups; the Shona and the Ndebele. It is celebrated in var-ious ways.

Joshua Nkomo showed that he deserved the title Father Zimbabwe due to his role in bringing about a unified Patriotic Front.

Zanu PF nationalists have painted a somewhat glorious picture of the Unity Accord by stressing the developmental aspects of the agreement.


Source - newsday

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