Southern Africa in revolt: A journalist’s report shaped Nigeria’s historic role
In the case of the Third Force, which is actually no more than the military wing of a political organisation (ANC), and it identifies itself as such, the local support and commitment is simply not there; or if latent, very little attempt has been made or is being made to develop it. The organisation which has the ability to organise for such support, Nkomo’s ANC, seems to be organising itself in the form of a conventional political party which denies it the militancy to prepare the minds of the people to fight or help commit acts of sabotage in support of the outside liberation fighters. The ZAPU army officers denounced their own leadership, principally Mr Nkomo. Presidents Nyerere and Machel played an important role in bringing the two separate armies together - under the umbrella of ANCZimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ANCZIPRA) although there existed no longer an ANC umbrella over the two political organisations - ZANU and ZAPU.
In the early stages, there was great disparity between the size of the two armies. According to a reliable source (I cannot vouch for these figures), ZANU alone had about 90 of the freedom fighters, while ZAPU had the remaining 10. In spite of this disparity, parity was maintained at the leadership level. An eighteen-man Military High Command was established. Below is a list of the members of the Military High Command: (1) Rex Nhongo - Commander (ZANU) (2) Alfred Nikita - Pol. Commissar (ZAPU) (3) Webster Gwanye (4) Saul Sadza (R.I.P.) (5) Hondo (6) D. Dabengwa (7) Ambrose Mfrrikiri (8) Parker Chipowera (9) James Nyikadzineshe (10) Charles Gwanyi (11) Gordon Munyanyi (12) Kennedy Taifezri (13) Augustus Mudyingwe (14) Dziilashe Machingra (15) Enoch Tsangane (16) John Dabe
The following is a list of those who provide intellectual and ideological guidance to the Third Force:
(1) Robert Mugabe. a former high-ranking ZANU official as of August, 1976, now a leader of a new breakaway party formed inside Zimbabwe from the ANC Muzorewa group. (A favourite of the United States to take-over Zimbabwe).
(2) Michael Mawema postgraduate student in the US and Canada.
(3) Rex Chiwara - Zanu representative in Europe.
(4) Dr. Barnabas Mutambukaex-lecturer, University of Zambia.
(5) Dr I. Taderera - with Third Force inside Mozambique.
The Third Force’s Military High Command lives in Mozambique, the centre of military activity against the rebel regime. They are composed as shown above by the two main opposition parties, ZANU and ZAPU, under the umbrella of an ANC which is neither that headed by Nkomo nor that of Muzorewa. This presents a serious contradiction which must be resolved.
If they do not accept Nkomo, whose party, the ZAPU, has a clear idea of what type of Zimbabwe they would like to inherit and have rejected *Bishop Abel Muzorewa, who is essentially ZANU, which too, has Its own plans and policies; what then is the “Third Force”? This contradiction is further complicated by the current recruitment policy. New recruits are admitted, processed and registered and located on the basis of their political affiliation. The recruits are either ZAPU or ZANU and the military camps are divided on this basis. An experiment to have all of them under one roof as unity camp ended disastrously as the two groups fought each other instead of the enemy they were recruited to fight. But this is a manifestation less of tribalism than of environment and condition (This theme will be developed later). As long as Nkomo stays within Rhodesia, he could not effectively mobilise for war without running into serious trouble with the Smith regime. Beside the lack of actual political direction, cohesion and political support inside Rhodesia, in the Third Force, the Third Force has other problems. Let us consider the most serious one - the diplomatic aspect. Most of the militants in the Third Force are very young people, majority of whom are protégés of the political leaders whom they now disown. The political leaders, in particular Nkomo and Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole, have been around for a long time. They had been colleagues of the two leaders of the frontline states, Kaunda and Nyerere, during the independence struggle in the early sixties. These two leaders have also endeared themselves to rival communist countries, Russia (Nkomo) and Sithole (China). The Third Force, as a force of its own, would find it rather difficult to displace these two politicians externally. The leaders are very well-known abroad and in spite of repeated demand by frontline states that all aid to the Zimbabwe liberation movement be channelled through the Liberation, Committee, international aid still goes through these personalities. Diplomatically therefore, the Third Force has so far not been able to gain acceptance outside the borders of the frontline states. This confusion, as to which is the legitimate machinery for the prosecution of the war in Zimbabwe has affected adversely the in-flow of financial and material assistance to the liberation movement Finance, indeed, has ‘become a serious issue in the current Zimbabwe liberation war. I have mentioned above that there is more international aid going through the hands of Bishop Muzorewa, Nkomo and Sithole than is received by the Liberation Committee. The aid received by the Liberation Committee. The aid received by these individuals is being used solely for their upkeep. Indeed, the Tanzanian Daily News. a government newspaper, charged rhetorically in an editorial (Daily News, June 8, 1976) that “is not Bishop Muzorewa and his friends who instead of doing liberation work, sat down in Maputo (Mozambique) a few months ago and helped themselves to wines worth £250 in three days?” There are accounts in Lusaka that the aides of these politicians spend a good deal of time in Casinos playing Kalo-Kalo.
Unless therefore something can be done regarding the streamlining of financial assistance to the liberation movement in Zimbabwe, what is received by these politicians which constitutes the bulk of international aid would be spent on themselves and on sustaining the fragile structure of their political parties. With substantial international aid blocked by the powerful politicians, the Third Force is left to rely heavily on the frontline states and on the OAU members’ contribution to the liberation fund administered by the secretariat of the Liberation Committee. These two sources of aid to the liberation struggle are not reliable. Indeed, President Kaunda of Zambia, at the last non-aligned nations meeting in Colombo, lamented that the developed economies give more aid to the liberation effort in Southern Africa than developing countries.
The two most important nations who have the will to help, Mozambique and Zambia, are in the throes of serious economic problems. Economic problems, as they -intensify, inevitably breed political instability. As a result, financial and material assistance to the liberation movement will certainly be minimal. Africa should be satisfied that these countries have provided the rear and operational bases. The third interested party, Tanzania, cannot do much more than it is presently doing: provision of training camps. The contribution by the OAU members to the liberation fund still remains the most potentially important source of financing the war. It will also be important if Africa would finance the war with minimal assistance from abroad, which has so far marked the liberation effort in Africa.
Unfortunately, the OAU members’ contribution to the liberation effort is disappointing. At present, there are very many countries, Nigeria included, that are in arrears. Indeed, the total amount outstanding - that is money pledged by African countries but not paid - amounts to S20 million (twenty million US dollars). It does not seem that they would be able to pay. Nigeria, unfortunately, has outstanding arrears to settle. The amount stands at about two million dollars. This was accumulated because of Nigeria’s policy not to contribute to the liberation effort since it was alleged that Nyerere had been using the money and material meant for liberation movements to sustain Odumegwu Ojukwu’s Biafra rebellion. This policy has not been reversed and the figure is still marked against Nigeria.
While one can appreciate Nigeria’s stand then, one should suggest that it was time we changed the policy, especially now that we have a cordial relation with Tanzania. The issue here is larger than Nyerere and could make the difference between freedom and subjugation for our black brethren in Zimbabwe, Namibia - and finally in South Africa. If we do not wish to pay it to the Liberation Committee, for emotions die hard, the same amount could be set aside to finance the education of Zimbabwean refugees in this country. At any rate, in whatever form, let us pay the money.
There is no way to coerce the rest of Africa to pay up their contributions. Most of them have very serious foreign exchange problems and some have their budget deficit made up for them by friends. Under the circumstances, it is unreasonable to expect such countries to play any role other than supporting resolutions. The pity of it is that some don’t even support the resolutions. The duty, therefore, revolves around the most able nation to shoulder the responsibility. The financial constraint has led to the existence of deplorable conditions in the military camps. I managed to sneak into one of the camps in Tanzania. The camp is located about two hundred kilometres from Dares-Salaam, in a hilly, cool area. As we drove into the camp, I saw over one thousand recruits in uniform - being drilled. I inspected their sleeping quarters and kitchen. Some are quartered in old worn-out tents. Beds are rarely used in order to gain maximum space advantage. Where twenty are supposed to sleep, forty are squeezed in. In some places, the sleeping quarters are made out of grass and the inmates are at the mercy of rain.
Although, not a military man myself, I see the urgent need for these tents. Soon, the rate of recruitment will be high and these camps will face population explosion. As accommodation situation worsens, chances of conflict will rise among the soldiers with its attendant tribal overtones. The recruits undergo training for four months and are then shipped to Mozambique. Since the level of conflict is low, reduced to hitand-run tactics inside the country without any captured territory, the recruits who have been trained to fight suddenly find themselves without arms and are compelled to sit down and rot for months, and for some, for years on end. This has been the fate of most of those who underwent training and are dispatched to the Mozambique front. Under the circumstance, frustration could develop even in the most well-trained army. Those who underwent the present fou