Unity Accord: A continuation of Zimbabwe’s aspirations

Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu
THE observation of the December 22, 1987 Unity Accord is a continuation of Zimbabwe’s national aspiration to remain a united people. It is a universally recognised fact that unity breeds harmony, peace and progress in every field of human endeavour. In Zimbabwe, national unity was openly recognised as early as 1896 at the launch of the First Chimurenga when Makwati was dispatched from the Ntabazinduna area to the Mhondoro area of Mashonaland to participate in the coordination of the uprising.

He effectively carried out his mission when he teamed up with the Sekuru Kaguvi’s fighters in the region, and earned a place on the revolutionary historic register of Zimbabwe.

That spirit did not wane or end with the death of Makwati (Ncube) or the ruthless emergence of settler’s colonialism under the auspices of the British South Africa Chartered Company (BSAC) of Cecil John Rhodes.

On September 12, 1957, it was practically applied to the unity implemented in Salisbury (now Harare) between the Salisbury City Youth League led by James Robert Dambaza Chikerema and the Southern Rhodesia African National Congress (SRANC) headed by Joshua Nkomo.

That historic revolutionary unity agreement brought the city Youth League into the SRANC under Nkomo’s Presidency with Chikerema as deputy.

After that, a great deal of revolutionary activity occurred, resulting in a free and independent Zimbabwe being born on April 18, 1980, under the armed tutelage of the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (Zanla) of Zanu-PF and the Zimbabwe People Revolutionary Army (Zipra) of PF- Zapu.

To consolidate the peace and harmony, development and progress expected following the attainment of national independence, the two leaders, Joshua Nkomo of PF-Zapu and Robert Mugabe of Zanu-PF signed a unity accord in Harare on December 22, 1987. The accord brought PF-Zapu and Zanu-PF under President Mugabe’s effective leadership.

Today, Zimbabwe is under a Zanu-PF government following the July 31 ,2013 harmonised elections. That government replaced an administration (government) of national unity comprising the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Zanu-PF.

Facing the country now is a challenge to revive the national economy. The new Zanu-PF government has repeatedly said that is one of its major tasks.

The opinion of the author of this article is that Zimbabwean government policy generators would be very well advised to focus their economic development programmes on the environment over which they have control rather than on external factors.

Without completely ignoring the external environment, it appears advisable to identify the strengths of Zimbabwe’s economic environment and take advantage of the available resources to create employment.

This can be done by, among other things, the planned increase of industrial capacity utilisation, a planned and coordinated indigenous investment policy, and a realistic, well thought out management policy of such state enterprises as Air Zimbabwe, National Railways of Zimbabwe, Zupco plus others which instead of being currently labour-intensive they are capital-intensive but without the capital.

They are looking for capital instead of labour. We also need to identify our national earnings, and how the country benefits from each sector. That is important to help the national fiscus from losing resources through either inefficiency or or irresponsible behaviour such as what the nation witnessed at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) and other such state enterprises.

It is important to guard most jealously the use of public funds to ensure they are used productively.The funds should be utilised on sectors or schemes that generate sustainable employment and revenue.

In 2003, the government appointed what it called a National Economic Consultative Forum to look into ways and means to revive the national economy. It produced recommendations in a document launched on January 23, 2003 but whose lifespan ended on June 30, 2013.

It appears that Zimbabwe needs another economic development formula but this time based on the Zanu-PF election manifesto.

The formula could spell out details that can help Zimbabwean investors source funds from banks and/or any other indigenous finance companies.

That is an economic development area the government needs to look into to enable most indigenous companies to access working capital. Without such sources of investment finance, most Zimbabweans will own but not develop or exploit means of production, making indigenisation virtually meaningless.

Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu is a Bulawayo-based retired journalist. He can be contacted on cell 073428136 or email sgwakuba@gmail.com

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