TODAY, December 22 marks one of the most important holidays, Unity Day, on the calendar of this country’s liberation history, as it brought an abrupt halt to hostilities based on tribal grounds then bedevilling our polity.
Just after independence, in 1980, some disturbances in Matabeleland and parts of Midlands cost a number of precious lives.
Travelling in those provinces , especially at night, during those days, was at own risk.
Indeed, a number of people lost their lives.
It needed the the joint intervention of the late Cde Robert Mugabe and Dr Joshua Nkomo to sign the historic Unity Accord on December 22 1987 to stop the rot.
Immediately, calm was restored.
The unfortunate bloodletting during this period, known as Gukurahundi, suddenly became an evil of the past.
To this day the country has enjoyed sustained peace and, with it, the phenomenal development following the advent of the Second Republic.
It was befitting that this outstanding achievement was by non other than the stalwarts of the liberation struggle Cde Mugabe and Dr Nkomo.
These two were the founding fathers of Zimbabwe, whose liberation movements they led (ZANLA and ZIPRA) defeated the white imperialists.
And these brave sons of Zimbabwe had inherited the spirit of patriotism from their predecessors.
To them, the love of one’s country and peace superseded everything else.
We are all aware of of how King Lobengula resisted white settlers despite their Maxim guns. We all remember the heroics of General Mtshane Khumalo who wiped out Allan Wilson’s battalion at the Battle of Pupu on the banks of the Shangani River.
On the other hand, we also have the likes of Mbuya Nehanda who predicted the demise of white settlers when her bones would ‘rise again’.
This was fulfilled by the Second Chimurenga on April 18 1980.
Thus, it was ZANU and PF ZAPU that continued with the struggle that eventually ended white settler-occupation.
These are the only two parties that braved the settler-ammunition for us to get our independence.
These are the only two political parties whose amalgam into ZANU PF brought the peace we are enjoying today.
These are the only two liberation parties which could look straight in the cunning faces of settlers like Ian Smith and tell them to go to hell.
This is unlike puppet parties, like the CCC, that still believe in the superiority of the white race.
We know it is characteristic of our white colonialists to divide-and-rule along tribal lines.
For instance, let’s look at the Roman Catholic report about the disturbances in Matabeleland.
To make Ndebele people hate Shonas, they put the number of people who died in Matabeleland during the five years of the disturbances at an outrageous figure of 20 000.
They want us to believe that this number is the same as those murdered by the white settlers during the 15 years of the liberation struggle.
This is the time when whole villagers were wiped out for no apparent reason other than the colour of their skin by the Smith regime.
The number of unmarked mass graves, some of them in mine shafts, bear testimony to the level of white settler-genocide.
To further disprove the figure submitted by the Catholic clerics, let’s look at Gaza.
With two months of scorched earth policy which has seen incessant daily bombing of schools, hospitals, residential places, refugee camps, churches and whatever else by the Israelis, the number of deaths is put at nearly 20 000.
This is less than those who perished in Gukurahundi, according to the learned Roman Catholic clerics – just imagine!
It’s quite obvious these are cooked up figures to prop up their divide-and-rule game.
We know the five-year Gukurahundi opened some tribal wounds, and ill-feelings which have to be healed.
But definitely not by outsiders, especially our former colonisers.
‘Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo/Ilizwe lakhiwa ngabanikazi,’ should be the principle.
Over 70 chiefs in Matabeleland, the scene of the disturbances, have been tasked, through public hearings, to investigate and document their findings.
This way, solutions to ensure healing among the victims of the disturbances might help in promoting reconciliation and consolidation of our peace.
Where there is a will there is always a way!
We have confidence in the ability of the Second Republic to bring about amicable finality to the disturbing past.
Meanwhile, as we celebrate our Unity Day, celebrations which are going to spill into the festive season, let’s do it with caution.
For those driving, please remember: It is better to be late than to be the late.