South­ern Africa in re­volt: A jour­nal­ist’s re­port shaped Nige­ria’s his­toric role

Sunday Trust - - PERSPECTIVE -

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

Robert Mu­gabe

Ken­neth Kaunda

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