6th ZANU PF Congress: Liberation war veterans honoured

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THE just ended ZANU PF congress must be commended highly for recognising in a very big way the party’s liberation war veterans whose tremendous sacrifices brought about black rule in Zimbabwe.
Many liberation war veterans during the above mentioned ZANU PF congress were elevated to the highest echelons of the party.
And because of that they also landed very high posts in government.
And to cap it all a special Ministry to specifically cater for the welfare of liberation war veterans is already in the pipeline and will soon come on stream. Well done the ruling party ZANU PF and your wise leadership.
Below we celebrate the big recognition given to liberation war veterans by the 6th ZANU PF Congress by going over the long and glorious story of the Second Chimurenga from the very beginning by looking at early fighters, the later fighters, their great stories and great battles.
We do hope this will act as an inspiration to our young people to fight today’s enemies who are bent on turning this country into a colony again.
History records that the very first Zimbabwe black freedom fighters were trained in Egypt during the old ZAPU days.
And one of those freedom fighters was Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa.
Not much came out of this group because ZAPU soon split into two with the formation of ZANU in 1963 in August of that year.
Once ZANU had been formed, it immediately formed an army which became known as the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA).
And in no time the freedom fighters who had been trained in Egypt were among the first ZANLA freedom fighters who formed the new ZANLA army and went on to be trained militarily by the Chinese.
“ZANU’s first group of five freedom fighters went to China for military training on September 22 1963.
“The group was led by Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa – whom we have just seen, John Shoniwa, Eddison Shirihuru, Jameson Mudavanhu and Lawrence Svosve.”
A second group which also went for military training to China was made up of William Ndangana, Bernad Mutuma, Silas Mushonga and Felix Santana, etc.
It is important to mention that one big group had earlier on in 1964 been trained in Ghana where William Ndangana himself was also involved.
The third group which went to train in China went there in 1966 and was led by none other than the man who was to become ZANLA’s Commander all the way to the end of the Second Chimurenga in 1979.
His name Josiah MagamaTongogara.
These freedom fighters were trained at Nanking Military Academy.
The most outstanding things achieved by these early freedom fighters was the declaration of war on the racist monster regime of Rhodesia.
They also pointed out to the rest of the country especially blacks that the only way forward to liberation was by way of the gun.
And ZAPU via their military wing ZIPRA sent the message loudly and clear by engaging the Rhodesian enemy in battle in the Hwange area in 1967.
From then on, there was no question then that the Second Chimurenga had started. But a hiatus of some years set in where there was not any meaningful military activity against the enemy to talk about until the 1970s.
At that time another group of pioneer freedom fighters came onto the scene. They were nicknamed ‘vakomana’ the boys.
These freedom fighters opened the north-east of the country as the first area where the decisive phase of the Second Chimurenga commenced.
This second group of pioneers was made up of four men.
“The first four ZANLA freedom fighters sent to join FROLIMO (Front for the Liberation of Mozambique) in Tete in mid-July 1970 were led by Mayor Urimbo who was to become ZANLA’s first provincial military commander and ultimately the political commissar of ZANU.”
His colleagues were Justin Chauke, Cornelius Mpofu, and one Shumba.
The above quartet entered the country – into Muzarabani and Mt Darwin districts in the north-east of the country in 1970 as already indicated.
They politicised the local people about the need to fight the Rhodesian racists. They also encouraged young men and women to cross the Zambezi and go for military abroad.
Happy that they had done enough groundwork for other freedom fighters to come and start the war, the pioneers sent word for their colleagues to come from their bases in Zambia into their operational area of Muzarabani to start the war. Their fellow freedom fighters obliged.
And so on December 21 1972, a farm owned by one Marcde Borchgrave which was named ‘Altena’ was attacked an act which started the decisive phase of the Second Chimurenga.
And this made Ian Smith the Rhodesian Prime Minister cry bitterly, but ironically praising the work of the four pioneers.
Just listen to Ian Smith’s cries.
“There have been some unusual developments over the past few weeks and as facts and the trends are now emerging I would like to put you in the picture as far as I can without breaching our security requirements.
“Terrorists have been operating in this area (Muzarabani) quietly and methodically undermining the local population.
“They have done this in a number of ways, firstly through intimidation at the point of a gun, secondly they found a few witchdoctors of doubtful and of little substance and succeeded in bribing them to their side.
“These were then used to good effect in misleading local tribesmen into accepting that the terrorists were worthy of their support.”
Great praise indeed for the good work Mayor Urimbo and company had gone by the racist monster himself, Ian Smith.
Once the decisive phase of the Second Chimurenga had been started by the pioneers, the floodgates opened and the young people of Zimbabwe joined the liberation war in droves.
They left everything: school college, nursing, teaching, working, farming, sport, herding cattle – everything to fight the Rhodesian racists.
A bitter war covering the entire country ensued.
Deaths, injury, etc became the norm.
Happily the young freedom fighters defeated the racists in 1979.
The 6th ZANU PF Congress held in Harare took cognisance of the fact that without the great work that had been done by all the freedom fighters from the earliest ones to those who came later, blacks would still be under minority rule in Zimbabwe.
And so the congress made sure a lot of liberation war veterans were put in key positions in the party which are going to translate into key positions in government.
Therefore the 6th ZANU PF congress must be praised for a job well done.
Thanks ZANU PF.

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