Do­ing se­cu­rity for Dr Nkomo

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - FATHER ZIMBABWE COMMEMORATION - Ne­hemiah Ny­athi

Next Satur­day marks the 18th an­niver­sary of the death of Vice-Pres­i­dent Dr Joshua Mqabuko Ny­on­golo Nkomo. Our Bu­l­awayo Bureau spoke to Cde Ne­hemiah Ny­athi, who pro­vided se­cu­rity for the late Um­dala Wethu. We pub­lish Cde Ny­athi in his own words.

IWAS priv­i­leged to work closely with Dr Nkomo in var­i­ous spheres of his po­lit­i­cal life giv­ing him se­cu­rity cover. I started my se­cu­rity du­ties with Dr Nkomo in 1980 when I re­turned from the war of lib­er­a­tion. Just be­fore In­de­pen­dence I was still at an in­tel­li­gence school in Kitwe, Zam­bia.

Be­fore I went for in­tel­li­gence train­ing I had done guer­rilla war­fare as a Zipra cadre hav­ing joined the armed strug­gle in 1977.

It was af­ter my guer­rilla train­ing that I was se­lected for se­cu­rity train­ing and then did what was then called State se­cu­rity.

It in­volved pro­tect­ing the coun­try and find­ing out what is trou­bling the na­tion and pro­tect­ing the lead­ers.

When I re­turned home from Zam­bia there was al­ready a new Gov­ern­ment and I was de­ployed into Dr Nkomo’s se­cu­rity team.

Prior to my de­ploy­ment I had been at Papa As­sem­bly Point in Mashona­land West, then later on in Chi­tung­wiza.

That is when I started work­ing with Dr Nkomo whom I had first met in 1961 when I was still a young pupil do­ing Sub-A at Khum­bula Pri­mary School in my ru­ral home of Tsholot­sho Dis­trict.

I was to see him for the sec­ond time in 1969 when again he vis­ited Tsholot­sho.

I’m not quite sure of the pur­pose of his visit but I re­alised when I was work­ing with him that he had these ten­den­cies of vis­it­ing places with­out any spe­cific mis­sion. He sim­ply loved meet­ing the peo­ple. When I joined the Zapu pres­i­dent’s close se­cu­rity unit around May 1980 af­ter the coun­try’s first gen­eral elec­tions, there was Al­bert Nx­ele as the head of se­cu­rity and he was deputised by Joseph Maphosa and be­low those there was Love­more Dube, who was com­monly known by his pseu­do­nym News­reel.

News­reel’s deputy was Fred Mu­tan­dah, whose war name was Chill­ies. Nx­ele was in charge of the over­all Pres­i­den­tial se­cu­rity. He was in­volved in all de­part­ments that con­cerned the pres­i­dent.

The pres­i­den­tial se­cu­rity unit was very big as be­fore we re­turned to the coun­try there were hopes that Um­dala would be­come the Head of State.

The pres­i­den­tial unit was very big with a num­ber of shifts. There were shift com­man­ders un­der News­reel and Chill­ies. When I joined I was put un­der a shift that was un­der Ai­den Th­wala whose war name was Lawrence.

Each shift had around 24 of­fi­cers. The other com­rades I worked with in­cluded the late na­tional hero Zenzo Ntu­liki, pop­u­larly known as Maphekapheka.

We also had Gar­net Mu­leya and Al­bert Ngu­lube, who is still serv­ing the State, and he was called Miles. Oth­ers were Siphithi Nkomo, Sec­tion Ncube, Prinslar Moyo, Henry Man­heru, Saun­ders Math­wasa, Cor­rect Dube and Boikano Ndlovu.

When our black Gov­ern­ment took over from the Rhode­sians, the se­cu­rity team from Zipra pro­tected min­is­ters from PF-Zapu while our col­leagues from Zanla pro­tected Zanu min­is­ters.

When the coali­tion Gov­ern­ment failed, I de­cided to leave em­ploy­ment and con­tin­ued pro­vid­ing se­cu­rity du­ties to Dr Nkomo to­gether with Boikano. Other com­rades re­mained serv­ing our new Gov­ern­ment. It was their per­sonal choice to do so as it was ours to go with Dr Nkomo.

It was not an easy de­ci­sion be­cause when I was em­ployed I was re­ceiv­ing a salary.

You know when we were com­ing from the bush we were now grown up men with am­bi­tions to build homes and have fam­i­lies.

It was more dif­fi­cult if you had chil­dren. I had to put all that aside to make sure that (Dr Nkomo) was pro­tected.

I told my­self that if I failed and Dr Nkomo was to die then the na­tion would be doomed. That is how I an­a­lysed the sit­u­a­tion. I thought that if he died there was go­ing to be a se­ri­ous civil war.

It was easy work­ing with Dr Nkomo be­cause he too was se­cu­rity con­scious. Some­times he would even alert us of pos­si­ble threats. He never used to ar­gue with us when we briefed him of our se­cu­rity plans.

Dur­ing that time of post-In­de­pen­dence dis­tur­bances, few peo­ple stood by him. Even among the Zapu lead­er­ship, few re­ally stood by him.

Yes, they would visit him here and there. The vis­its were er­ratic.

We couldn’t re­ally blame them. Ac­tu­ally we felt we were much safer with­out them be­cause we could carry out our se­cu­rity du­ties with­out any dis­trac­tions.

Of course it was ex­pected of them to be by Um­dala’s side dur­ing such try­ing times. They should have stood by him and even die with him if he was to die.

The only no­table politi­cians who stood with Dr Nkomo were Sikhwili Khohli Moyo, Vote Moyo, Makhathini Guduza, a gen­tle­man called Sigola, and Joseph Nde­bele, whom I be­lieve is the only one who is still alive.

There was also a Mbe­m­besi man, Nzom­bane.

To be con­tin­ued next week

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.