Nqobile Tshili Bulawayo Bureau
THE positive steps the Second Republic is taking to address the Gukurahundi issue solidifies the foundation that was laid by PF-ZAPU and ZANU-PF when the two parties signed the Unity Accord 34 years ago to promote peace, development and national cohesion.
The late President Mugabe and the late Father Zimbabwe and Vice President Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo signed the unity pact which ended the 1980s disturbances on December 22 in 1987.
Gukurahundi was mainly concentrated in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces and the political union between PF-ZAPU and ZANU-PF brought an end to the disturbances that claimed many lives.
In the intervening years, people in Matabeleland have decried that the pact did not end marginalisation and address their grievances.
The Second Republic is now taking deliberate steps towards addressing that.
Devolution funds are transforming many communities and a number of major national projects that include the Lake Gwayi Shangani, Tuli Manyange Dam and expansion of the Hwange Thermal Power Station are being undertaken in Matabeleland.
Zimbabwe will next Wednesday commemorate Unity Day under the theme: “United Towards Vision 2030.”
Analysts have said the theme is in line with the national trajectory of not leaving anyone behind and President Mnangagwa is walking the talk.
The President has engaged traditional leaders from Matabeleland region and Midlands province and civil society organisations in a bid to find how best to address the problems brought about by Gukurahundi disturbances.
Following the engagements, chiefs are now mapping the strategies of how to handle the emotive issue and the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission has said the issue is a top priority.
Political analyst Mr Teddy Ncube said the development projects being implemented are a product of a foundation that was laid when the Unity Accord was signed.
“Of course, I can’t really talk about inclusive development without really situating it within the framework in which it was founded in, the Unity Accord. They said let us place everything aside and focus on what matters for all of us.
“Even today, the President is saying to Zimbabweans let us come together and focus on improving our lives,” said Mr Ncube.
He said President Mnangagwa’s Government has taken deliberate efforts to address the country’s dark past, something which had remained a sticking issue.
“What matters at this point is what the New Dispensation has been doing towards regional integration and addressing problems affecting people in the region.
“If we look at the specific issue like Gukurahundi, it is important to appreciate what the NPRC has done so far in its bid to address some of the challenges,” said Mr Ncube.
He said the President has not only encouraged people to talk about the issue but has also created a platform for dialogue.
“He has also met chiefs and Matabeleland Collective to discuss the issue and ways to address some of the problems brought about by the disturbances. This shows that the New Dispensation is committed to finding lasting solutions,” said Mr Ncube.
He said what is also encouraging is that the leadership is not just discussing the past but implementing projects to transform the people’s lives while at the same time addressing any shortcomings from the past.
Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) principal Mr Kwanele Hlabangani said unity is the backbone of economic development hence Zimbabweans should jealously guard it.
He said for the country to develop, people need to put aside their differences and work towards a shared national vision.
“As we march towards attaining our objectives of vision 2030, it is important to remain united,” he said.
Mr Hlabangani said the country can only attract investment when there is peace and unity of purpose.
“Chaos and infighting chases away investors hence the need for people to put the interests of the country first,” he said.
NPRC spokesperson Commissioner Obert Gutu said for the country to achieve sustainable development it needs peace and unity.
“Without peace there can be no development and as such everyone should strive to promote peace and development in their respective communities.
“NPRC is mandated to promote peace hence we are saying it should be the responsibility of each and every citizen to promote peace. We should be peace builders in our communities,” said Comm Gutu.