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We won’t go anywhere unless we unite: Matambanadzo

By Daniel Chigundu

Kwekwe Central legislator Masango Matambanadzo (National Patriotic Front) says Zimbabwe is not going anywhere unless political parties come together in the same way they did for the Unity Accord and the GNU.

Zimbabwe is facing a lot of challenges economically, socially and politically and the current government appears to be clueless on how to solve them leading to some commentators calling for a transitional authority of a government of national unity.

Though there have been attempts on the ground for political parties to have some form of dialogue, differences and preconditions appear to be weighing down the attempts.

Speaking in the National Assembly during of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission 2017 Report, Honourable Matambanadzo urged current political leaders to follow the example of Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo (Unity Accord) and Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai (GNU) which were people-centred.

He said if each political party pulls from its own side, the country will go back to the situation where it would even find hard to sell its minerals on officially on international markets.

Below is the full text of Honourable Matambanadzo’s contribution in the National Assembly:

Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this important issue. Madam Speaker, we were elected to represent the people in this august House.  In order for this country to prosper and move forward as a nation, we have to look into the issues of human rights of the people of Zimbabwe.  It is not only Zanu PF that is being criticised but the whole nation in terms of human rights abuses.

We are supposed to unite as a nation, looking back at where we came from in 1980 where there were two political parties Zanu PF and Zapu.  These two political parties fought side by side with one operating from Mozambique and the other from Zambia.  These political parties were formed by two different groups and they managed to win the war of liberation and liberate the nation from the Smith regime.  It is from this that we are supposed to learn to work together, those from Zanu PF, MDC and NPF.  We should work for the progress of the nation relying on our history.

Immediately after independence, there was a misunderstanding between the two main political parties and then there was an uprising which was labelled Gukurahundi where many people died and some were injured.  The leaders of the two main political parties, Cde Joshua Nkomo and Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe realised that it was important that they should be united and they engaged in unity talks which led to the formation of the Government of National Unity.

The talks were nearly derailed on the modus operandi of sharing the top posts of President and Prime Minister.  Each of the two leaders was bragging about their prowess in the war of liberation, one fighting from Zambia and the other from Mozambique.  Finally, they agreed and one of them became the Prime Minister with two deputies and the other became the President also with two deputies.

We need to learn from our history.  If we do not learn from our history, we might as well scrap history lessons from schools but you know we cannot do that because history is important.  What boggles the mind is that soon after independence there were not many people who were educated.  Why do we have this misunderstanding and trampling on human rights when we have so many educated people in the country?  We should learn from our leaders, Cde Nkomo and Cde Mugabe who showed the importance of unity and came to a round table to solve their problems peacefully.

They then shared positions – one became the President and the other Vice President.  They governed this country well and Zimbabwe was declared the most peaceful country in the whole of Africa.  Why can we not relook that experience and copy it?  At that time, people were not yet as educated as they are now.  I am surprised now because it seems like education is now a poison to the people since it is disturbing people and they cannot copy what was done by our leaders who fought for this country.

An opposition party MDC was formed but the former President Mr Mugabe did not dispute it because he wanted justice.  In 2008 there was an election and there was a draw on results.  The leaders also sat down and there was a Government of National Unity.  We then had a President, his two Vice Presidents and a Prime Minister – Morgan Tsvangirai with his two Vice Presidents.  They led this country peacefully until their term ended.

During this time, all the sanctions on Zanu PF were removed except on Mr Mugabe.  These were removed because people had been in dialogue and were united but now we are ignoring this history.  Let us go back to our history and emulate it.

I think the people who are heckling me are despising what I am saying.  If they are educated, they should listen to me then correct my mistakes after I have finished because I am the only one who is not educated.  I am one of you Zanu PF members.  You cannot abandon me.  It is impossible.

This country should be able to maintain its dignity.  During the tenure of these leaders, our police or military went out to represent the country; they were given the top posts – commanders.  We should maintain that dignity in human rights.

From the election date, there has been disharmony on the Presidential candidate; people have been in and out of the courts until it was declared that President Emmerson Mnangagwa is the winner.  I personally believe that all people accepted it.

Zimbabwe Council of Churches has called us to resolve the issues after the President had called all the Presidents who contested during the 2018 elections to resolve the issue of sanctions.    How can sanctions be removed if we continue living in disputes and brag that my political party NPF is more superior to the others?  We are going nowhere.  We will go back to that state where we would not even sell gold or diamonds because sanctions were imposed on us.    We should learn from that as Hon. Members from different political parties.  We should unite and fight sanctions.  We should unite and follow our beautiful history.  I thank you

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Daniel Chigundu

Daniel Chigundu is a male journalist in Zimbabwe and has been practising since September 2009. He used to the editor for The Business Connect (newspaper) in Harare, has his own news website Tourism Focus which is biased towards the tourism sector. Daniel is also working with Magamba Network on their project called Open Parliament where they do live coverage of Parliamentary activities on Twitter and Facebook. He is currently the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Parliamentary Journalists Forum, is a member of Zimbabwe Small Broadcasters Association and a board member of Digital Communication Network. He holds a Diploma in Communication and Journalism from the Christian College of Southern Africa (CCOSA), a certificate in Youth leadership training from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), a certificate in Citizen Journalism from Magamba Network and is currently a first-year student at Zimbabwe Open University studying for a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Ethics and Organisational Leadership.

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