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After internal strife, Zapu reorganises

01 May 2020 at 07:55hrs | Views
Following the split in ZAPU in 1971, it was time to reflect and analyse the situation in order to meaningfully analyse and interpret events that led to the fallout. Armed with analysis and interpretation, it was time to reorganise and restructure the movement so that identified shortcomings were taken care of.

That happened after a meeting chaired by JZ Moyo who was then in charge of the movement. However, years later it was Edward S. Ndlovu in his own "Observations" document who gave a lucid account of what was happening and gave recommendations to arrest the recurrence of similar. That was in April 1978 when he came back from Canada where he underwent kidney transplant. His sister Matilda had donated to him a kidney.

In a document titled, "Critical Observations and Recommendations on Our Struggle," he wrote:

"It is a well known principle that, in any organization, an increase in volume of work must necessarily be accompanied by increased expertise among those who will be doing the work. For a political movement, technical skill alone does not produce expertise; a deep political consciousness is also required and it gives one a capacity to withstand the temptations of self-aggrandizement and misuse of the struggle to achieve personal glory."

His scathing document of self-introspection was relevant at the time when there was reversal of some of the principles that had been applied in 1971. In this article we focus on the changes that were wrought on the movement.

Clearly, what emerged from the critique by the March 11 Movement was the absence of a clear strategy of how the Rhodesian forces were to be tackled and, related to that, the absence of a clear program of action. The one thing that was given attention when ZAPU reorganized related to ideology.

The movement produced a document titled "Ideological Concept and Political Program." Contained in the document was formal adoption of Marxism-Leninism as the Party's ideology.

Scientific Socialism was the modus operandi. It was argued that the first weapon for a cadre was political education. This is the consciousness that Edward Ndlovu was referring to. Political commissars led in the drive to impart the ideology. Guerrillas who infiltrated Rhodesia planted it among villagers where they operated. As soon as the recruits arrived at Nampundwe in the later part of the struggle, politicization commenced. The likes of Enos Malandu were the champions in the politicization of recruits. In fact, within ZPRA, the Political Commissar was number two in the hierarchy, after the Chief of Staff.

For groups going for operations across the Zambezi River, there was always a political commissar amongst the units. It was his duty, in collaboration with the commander, to connect with villagers in order to politicize and mobilize them so they could commit themselves to the struggle. However, some groups, once in the field, became innovative and all of them played the roles of political commissars.

Each guerrilla took care of 2 or 3 villagers to politicize them. After all, had undergone training in political education innovation was adopted to avoid congregating large groups which would be exposed to the enemy and thus become vulnerable to Rhodesian attacks. In small groups, guerrillas managed to politicize the villagers, telling them about the two weapons at their disposal; gathering intelligence to pass on to guerrillas and ensuring they were supplied with food and later when military uniforms were hard to come by, denim trousers and shoes, preferably boots.

At the National Executive level George Silundika was in charge of ideology and the political program. His department was in charge of the print and electronic media headed by Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu. In their publications, notably the Zimbabwe Review, was distributed widely and copies did get to the University of Rhodesia. Other capital cities where it was made available were Cairo (in Arabic), Algiers (in French) and London (in English), among others. Some copies did get to the German Democratic Republic (GDR).

The Zimbabwe Review became an efficacious publication that propagated the Party ideology. Groups infiltrating into Rhodesia carried a copy of the Ideological Concept and Political Program and was used to differentiate between ZPRA cadres and the Selous Scots who sometimes wore ZPRA uniforms. In addition to ideological clarity, there was created the Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Council (ZPRC). This was a coordinating body which brought closer together the various organs of the Party. Then it was understood and appreciated that central to the struggle effort, was the fighting wing of the Party. The Council had a broad representation on it.

Foreign Party Representatives, Chiefs of the various departments of the fighting wing, including the commander, were members of the Council. The members of the National Executive were also included together with the leader of the Zimbabwe African Congress of Trade Unions(ZACU) led by Aaron G Ndlovu who together with Jane Ngwenya are the surviving members of PF-ZAPU National Executive from 1980.

The Zimbabwe African Women's Union(ZAWU) were represented. Equally, the Youth Wing had a representative. At the time when Edward Ndlovu wrote his "Observations," he noticed a general sidelining of both the youths and women. The idea of a Revolutionary Council had its genesis at the Cold Comfort Farm during a People's Council meeting and endorsed on 28 September 1975 by a People's Congress.

That was after the release from restriction camps of the nationalist leadership in December 1974. The main task of the Revolutionary Council was to lend material, moral, diplomatic and financial support to the revolutionary struggle. It was the task of the Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Council to mobilize masses for the revolution. As a demonstration of the centering of the armed wing in the revolutionary struggle, the fighting arm of the Party was renamed the Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army(ZPRA). It is important to note that the army's name was abbreviated to ZPRA, in capital letters and WITHOUT an "I" as happens when some people write the abbreviation today. I know Brigadier General Abel Mazinyane and myself have consistently given the original form of ZPRA.

ZPRA was represented on the Revolutionary Council. Its Chief of Staff was Alfred Nikita Mangena who was trained at Cheri Cheri in Algeria and went to do a commando course when others returned home. He went on to become a Training Instructor at Morogoro, in Tanzania. Effectively, he was the army commander deputized by the Political Commissar, Lameck Mafela (Lookout Masuku). The Political Commissar was Deputy Commander and indeed, when Mangena died in 1978, it was Mafela who took over as Commander of ZPRA, right up to independence in 1980.

The Chief of Operations was John Dube (JD), whose real name was Sotsha Charles Ngwenya from Zimnyama in Plumtree. He too had trained with Mangena but went back when Mangena and a few others proceeded to do a commando course. This was the man who commanded the Luthuli Detachment in 1967 when the ANC's Umkhonto we Sizwe(MK) launched a combined force with ZAPU's armed wing. Cephas Cele was Chief of Personnel and Training while Tapson Nkomani (Gordon Munyanyi, "Terror Man" was Chief of Military Intelligence).

Report Mphoko Ndlovu was Chief of Logistics and Supplies. This was the new High Command that provided leadership to ZPRA soon after its re-constitution and renaming in 1971. JZ Moyo then became the Commander-in-Chief in the absence of Joshua Nkomo who still had three years to go in restriction at Gonakudzingwa.

There was also the War Council whose origins dated back to the days before the split within the nationalist movement in 1963. Its members then were Joshua Nkomo, Robert Mugabe and JZ Moyo.

Its membership was no more than three members from the National Executive. Dumiso Dabengwa was its secretary, after leaving his former role in ZPRA as Chief of Intelligence and Reconnaissance. Former Commander of the armed wing, Akim Ndlovu was re-assigned to the post of Regional Commander based in Dar-es-Salaam while James Sakupwanya was Commander of the Zambia Region.

At the time, there were was Military Intelligence within ZPRA with its own chief as indicated above. Civilian or Party Intelligence was a stand alone under the Directorship of Ethan Dube. He was deputized by Victor Mlambo and Dingani Mlilo. Another arrangement that was instituted in 1971 was the Conference of Militants comprising participants including members of the Revolutionary Council. The cadres at the front were to be represented, together with Headquarters staff. Preparations for the biennial meetings was in the hands of the Administrative Secretary.

The meeting 's major role was to review progress or absence of same in the liberation struggle and identify issues on matters brought before it. The members who remained in ZAPU after the split undertook a pledge of loyalty to ZAPU and to uphold secrecy where deemed necessary.

A document was produced where each member appended his/her name and signature. What is worth noting and keeping in mind is that these changes were done before the nationalists were released from restriction in December 1974. When, in 1975, they engaged in talks with the Ian Smith regime, Zambian leader Kenneth Kaunda warned them about remaining relevant after the talks. As it turned out, the talks in 1975 stalled and following the death of JZ Moyo in 1977, the nationalists decided to leave the country and base themselves in Zambia.

They were not going to become spectators in a political game they had initiated many years ago. They worked tooth and nail to take over the reins, a move that was felt by some guerrillas operating at the front in Rhodesia. The third article in the series with delve into the takeover strategies resorted to by the nationalists and their repercussions and legacies.

Source - chronicle
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