Today we celebrate Unity Day which is a day set aside to celebrate an agreement between Zimbabwe’s two major nationalists movements namely the Zimbabwe African People’s Union led by Joshua Nkomo and the Zimbabwe African National Union led by Robert Mugabe. Here are 5 things you probably did not know about the day:
- 22 December was made a public holiday in 1997
- The day came about after Mugabe and Nkomo signed an agreement, known as the Unity Accord on 22 December that merged the two parties into Zanu PF and on 18 April 1988, Mugabe announced an amnesty for all dissidents, and Nkomo called on them to lay down their arms and 122 dissidents surrendered in the following weeks
- The Unity accord was signed after a brutal suppression of Zimbabwean civilians, mostly supporters of Joshua Nkomo, by Zimbabwe’s 5th Brigade in the predominantly Ndebele regions of Zimbabwe. The sad event which become known as the Gukurahundi massacres claimed an estimated 20,000 innocent lives.
- The Unity Accord provided for the appointment of two vice-presidents.
- The day is marked with national celebrations among them sporting events, including a soccer championship in which the winning team receives the Unity Cup.
You can read more on the day by clicking here