PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has torched a storm after claiming that the 1987 Unity Accord is a key pillar of national peace and stability, and should never be challenged, breached or compromised.

The Unity Accord was signed by the late former President Robert Mugabe and late former Vice-President Joshua Nkomo at the height of Gukurahundi massacres that claimed an estimated 20 000 people in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces between 1982 and 1987.

In his weekly column in a State-owned weekly, Mnangagwa said the Heroes Day commemorations, to be held today, followed by the Defence Forces Day set for Tuesday revived 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 Mugabe and 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,” Mnangagwa said.

This has irked Matabeleland human rights groups who feel that Mnangagwa has failed to resolve the Gukurahundi issue.

“Instead of shouting against those who are rightly questioning the value of the Unity Accord in their lives, he should be focusing on addressing the Gukurahundi genocide in which he was a leading perpetrator. The Unity Accord benefited perpetrators like him and that is why he sees value in it. It brought nothing to victims and survivors,” political analyst Effie Ncube said.

South Africa-based educationist Nkosilathi Ncube said the problem with the Unity Accord was that Zanu and Zapu were merged to come up with Zanu PF.

“The second problem is that Zapu is given a second Vice-President in the Unity Accord. While they are united like that, their headquarters in Harare still has a Zanu cockerel as a symbol, it’s still Jongwe offices,” Ncube said.

He also pointed out that the unity is meaningless when such heroic figures as Cont Mhlanga cannot be buried at the Heroes Acre despite their outstanding work.

Mthwakazi Republic party president Mqondisi Moyo said: “It is all about Zanu, Zanu and Zanu, and nothing else. Despite the fact that Gukurahundi was the major issue that led Nkomo to the Unity Accord, the document does not even detail how they were going to address the emotive issue in terms of the victims, it is just silent.”

Describing the unity accord as useless as long as it does not address the marginalisation of Matabeleland Moyo added: “The Unity Accord was supposed to ensure that the next president after Mugabe came from Zapu. After removing former Vice-President Kembo Mohadi, they should have replaced him with another person from Zapu if Mnangagwa really believes in the Unity Accord.”

Source Newsday