The Sunday News
Sunday News Reporter
THE 1987 Unity Accord is a key pillar of national peace and stability, and should never be challenged, breached or compromised, President Mnangagwa has said.
Writing in his weekly column, published in this newspaper and our sister paper, The Sunday Mail, President Mnangagwa said the Heroes Day Commemorations, to be held tomorrow, with the Defence Forces Day set for Tuesday, rehash bitter memories of the liberation struggle, all of them encapsulated and embodied in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
He said while there were political disturbances in the early years of the country’s independence, peace prevailed after the Unity Accord was signed by the late President Cde Robert Mugabe and the late Vice President Dr Joshua Nkomo, bringing together political parties that fought colonialism, Zanu-PF and PF-Zapu.
“True, they were fratricidal disturbances in the early years of our Independence, but reason prevailed in the end, as our leaders met, talked and embraced, to give us a legacy of peace and stability we enjoy to this day, and which we have a duty to bequeath to posterity.
The Unity Accord which our leaders struck, is a key pillar of National Peace and Stability.
It should never be challenged, breached or compromised by whomsoever,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said more than 100 000 souls were lost in the liberation war, with almost all families across the country having lost someone during the war in pursuit for freedom.
The 15-year war for National Liberation also claimed the unarmed: defenceless men, women, children, orphans and refugees lost both in the rear and inside the country, as there was wanton carnage and senseless reprisals by the Rhodesian army in its vain bid to forestall the overwhelming quest for freedom.
“Many of us carry wounds from that past, wounds that evoke bitterness which we struggle to assuage.
We recall moments of betrayal by those we mistook for comrades-in-arms.
We re-live tragic moments when fellow comrades fell in battle, some even dying in our arms, their precious blood mixing with bitter tears of irreparable loss.
Many of these we could not honour with decent burials or rites.
We were in a brutal war, and in war, terrible things do happen.
Heroes Day Commemorations thus rehash those bitter memories, all of them encapsulated and embodied in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.”
The President said as the country commemorates the Heroes Day, it was time to “reflect on our past, warts and all.
In that reflection, we must remember that like history itself, no human struggles ever follow straight lines.
Struggles are fraught with meanders, detours, missteps, tensions and contradictions, all of which may now look easier to avoid or solve by hindsight.”
The President also paid tribute to revolutionaries like Cdes Benjamin Burombo, George Bonzo Nyandoro, James Dambaza Chikerema, Edison Sithole, Henry Hamadziripi, Thomson Gonese and Senator Rekayi Tangwena, Masotsha Ndlovu, Charles Mzingeli, Sigeca and Job Dumbujena, among others.
“This broad canvas of key actors feature men and women we already celebrate in history. Apart from those who played a part of the Presidency since Independence, we also have the likes of Leopold Takawira, late Edison Sithole, Edison Zvobgo, Josiah Chinamano, Daniel Madzimbamuto, late Willie Dzawanda Musarurwa, all of whom were luminaries in nationalist ranks. They all lie at our National Shrine.
Yet they do not give the full retinue of nationalists.
One man who looms large in the ranks of early leaders of our nationalist movement, but is not at our National Shrine is Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole, the inaugural leader of Zimbabwe African National Union at its formation, after the 1963 split in the nationalist movement.
Whatever his mistakes and missteps later in the Struggle, he deserves mention and acknowledgment in national annals.”