Guerilla name not a war record: Chi­wenga

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Mabasa Sasa and Ti­nashe Farawo

OP­PO­SI­TION party ZimPF, led by Dr Joice Mu­juru, is por­tray­ing its base ig­no­rance by claim­ing Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe was not a veteran of the lib­er­a­tion strug­gle be­cause he did not have a nom de guerre, Com­man­der of the Zim­babwe De­fence Forces Gen­eral Con­stantino Gu­veya Chi­wenga has said.

In a 2016 He­roes and De­fence Forces Day in­ter­view with The Sun­day Mail, whose fi­nal in­stal­ment of se­ri­al­i­sa­tion will be pub­lished on Au­gust 21, Gen Chi­wenga pointed out that the late Vice-Pres­i­dent Dr Joshua Nkomo, Zanu Chair­man Cde Herbert Chitepo, and in­de­pen­dent South Africa’s first Pres­i­dent Nel­son Man­dela — among many oth­ers — de­lib­er­ately did not have guerilla names.

Ac­cord­ing to the pro-op­po­si­tion pri­vate me­dia, Dr Mu­juru two week­ends ago re­port­edly said Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe’s lack of a nom de guerre was ev­i­dence he was at the pe­riph­ery of the Sec­ond Chimurenga.

Func­tionar­ies like Mr Gift Nyan­doro have even gone to the ex­tent of rewrit­ing his­tory by say­ing Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe joined the strug­gle in its twi­light, yet all his­tor­i­cal ac­counts record the Zim­bab­wean leader’s ac­tive in­volve­ment in the na­tion­al­ist bat­tle for democ­racy dat­ing to 1960 — 20 years be­fore In­de­pen­dence and six years be­fore the war started.

And Gen Chi­wenga has shot back say­ing the fic­tion be­ing cre­ated by the op­po­si­tion demon­strated crass ig­no­rance of how the war was fought and the dif­fer­ent roles the lead­er­ship had in its ex­e­cu­tion.

He said, “The top lead­ers were elected by the peo­ple to lead the strug­gle and they made a supreme sac­ri­fice to go out there to lead the com­bat­ants. There was no need for them to change their names be­cause they were al­ready known.

“It would be naïve for Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe, for ex­am­ple, to change his name. Who didn’t know that this is Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe or Vice-Pres­i­dent Joshua Nkomo or Vi­cePres­i­dent Si­mon Muzenda or Ziyaphapha Moyo, or even our com­man­ders Josiah Magama Ton­gog­ara? They were known.

“Why fight­ers had to be given noms de guerre or to change their names was for two spe­cific rea­sons: for the in­di­vid­ual’s per­sonal pro­tec­tion and for the pro­tec­tion of their fam­i­lies.

“They had to be pro­tected. Can you imag­ine if I had used my real name, Con­stantino, and then I get cap­tured and killed, then they would take me to the vil­lage, my home, and make a lot of pro­pa­ganda? That would de­rail the strug­gle.

“Who would then want their sons and daugh­ters to go to war when they see bod­ies be­ing pa­raded in their vil­lages?”

Gen Chi­wenga went on: “Oth­ers wanted to use their own names but we said that was dan­ger­ous in a sce­nario that they are cap­tured or killed.

“For in­stance, I changed names twice of­fi­cially but dur­ing the war I had many names.

“When I changed sec­tors or prov­inces I would use an­other name so that the en­emy could not fol­low up on where I was op­er­at­ing.

“When I joined the strug­gle I was Sa­muel Mun­y­oro; that was my first name. Sec­ond, I was given Do­minic Chi­nenge. What they (his su­pe­ri­ors at the time) didn’t know was that Do­minic was my real name and I did not tell them that.

“So all those who talk about noms de guerre have no idea of how a guerilla war is waged. They have no idea on how an armed strug­gle is waged.”

Gen­eral Con­stantino Gu­veya Chi­wenga

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