MDC spokesperson Jacob Mafume said that the national unity day celebrations held on 22 December every year are meaningless. He said that as long as the government fails to compensate the people who were affected by the genocide, the celebrations will be devoid of meaning. Mafume told NewZimabwe.com that
Everyone who is harmed is entitled to compensation…it is like uniting an axe and a tree after the axe has cut the tree and you say there is unity, ‘it’s ok to let us move together. The past is forgotten.
It is a bad practice. It perpetuates impunity and that is why things are repeating themselves.
There cannot be total healing if you have not compensated. So, there cannot be total unity if you are walking with the person you have beaten up and not taken to the hospital. We need that to be addressed.
The Unity Day celebrations are held to commemorate the signing of the Unity Accord between ZANU PF and PF ZAPU in 1987 after years of conflict. The conflict which killed an estimated 20 000 people is referred to as Gukurahundi. During this period, the government deployed a North Korean-trained army unit, the Fifth Brigade which allegedly massacred thousands of civilians for who were accused of supporting rebels in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.
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