HomeFeatureCelebrating the birth of ZANU: Part Three…an invincible willpower

Celebrating the birth of ZANU: Part Three…an invincible willpower

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“AS a result, Ndabaningi Sithole was arrested and charged. I happened to have been a lawyer and I went and defended him on those charges. It was a little booklet of thirty…nearly thirty pages of charges which I think he was served with. It was alleged that he had been responsible for all the violence that had been taking place in the eastern and southern districts, because he had advocated it.” (Chitepo:1974)

Whites were thoroughly scared. 

ZANU advocated the elimination of the white menace by force of arms and the whiteman knew he was up against an invincible force.

Sithole was tried. 

Even before the case was over, the Party was proscribed and banned.

In April 1964, Ian Smith wrested power from Winston Field and declared that ‘there would be no African nationalist rule in his lifetime’. 

That was his mantra and ticket to power.

On August 26 1964, the Rhodesia Front (RF) government acted and declared a state of emergency in the Highfield African Township of Salisbury (Harare). 

It also banned ZANU and the People’s Caretaker Council (PCC) and placed leading members into restriction camps. 

The ZANU hierarchy were sent to Sikombela Camp in the Zhombe District of Que que (now Kwe kwe) while the ZAPU leaders were sent to the remote Gonakudzingwa Camp in the south-east. 

The Rhodesian police para-military Support Unit was posted guard over the nationalists. 

Not all the leaders were arrested and James Chikerema and Hebert Chitepo went into exile in Zambia. 

Through a network of couriers and agents who smuggled communications between Rhodesia and Zambia, contact was maintained with the detained. Chitepo went on to become the major architect of the Rhodesian nationalist armed struggle and chief proponent of Chimurenga, the Zimbabwean war of liberation. (Henry Ellert:1982) 

Ellert is a former Rhodesian Special Branch member.

Nothing changed with the arrest of the ZANU leaders. 

The liberation war rolled on. 

Violence against the Rhodesian regime rocked the country throughout 1964 and 1965. 

The Rhodesian regime was forced to declare a national state of emergency on November 6 1965 and the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) from Britain on November 11 the same year.

Still nothing changed on the Chimurenga front. 

ZANU was way ahead of Smith and the UDI. 

In early 1965, ZANU had already issued the Sikombela Declaration.

The Sikombela Declaration by the imprisoned ZANU leadership invested Chitepo with full powers to prosecute the armed struggle. 

Chitepo and the exiled ZANU leaders formed themselves into a Revolutionary Council, Dare reChimurenga of which Chitepo was the chair. 

The Revolutionary Council included the following: Noel Mukono, Henry Hamadziripi, Washington Malianga, Simpson Mutambanengwe, Percy Ntini, Steve Parirehwa, M. Chihota, Don Muvuti, Alfred Mutasa, Silas Mushonga, William Ndangana, Felix  Santana and Benard Mutuma.

There was no need to arrest anyone, you cannot arrest the spirit. 

ZANU marched on to achieve the greatest for this country with all the incessant detentions, trials and executions — nothing changed. 

The spirit force was, and still is, invincible.

Chairman Chitepo wasted no time, he went right ahead and made plans to train ZANU guerillas to become ZANLA — its military wing. 

In late 1965, Cde Chitepo asked President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania for logistics and training facilities. In November and December of that year, training of guerillas commenced at the Intumbi Reefs Gold Mine near Mbeya. 

Imprisoned as the ZANU leaders were, they still directed the armed struggle and from this nucleus was born the Chinhoyi 7 who engaged Rhodesian gunships for over nine hours until their ammunition was exhausted, thus they perished.

As Smith and his UDI were boasting ‘…no African nationalist rule in his life’, ZANU was setting landmines to the foundation of the edifice to blast it and end the white menace.

ZANU was formed to end white minority rule by force of arms after the nationalists had tried everything else unsuccessfully.

As we celebrate the birth of ZANU, 60 years ago, let us carefully examine and clarify something. 

What was the problem with the white menace? 

Was it just a question of race? 

What was it all about? 

To answer this, we will reiterate what Chairman Chitepo said in 1974:

“We looked at the situation we were facing. 

It was clear we were facing a situation of assault – a situation of violence. 

We were to all intents and purposes being made under compulsion, under force, under duress of a very vicious type to serve in the mines, to be minions, to have no place, no education, to live like serfs in the country of our birth.

The establishment of the country by the white people was really as a commercial enterprise.

The company that established it was known as the British South Africa Company, whose chairman was Cecil Rhodes.

Its purpose was to exploit the mineral, the land and animal resources of our territory.

And the history of Zimbabwe by the white settlers ever since, has been to exploit, not only the natural resources of the country, but the people.

In fact, the people were looked upon as an exploitable natural resource.

What is the form of that struggle?

We realise that what we are dealing with is not simply racism, but imperialistic exploitation.

The white people who are in Zimbabwe are largely of the post-Second World War generation.

They left Europe after the war, to seek greater opportunities, to seek more fortunes, greater status in society which they couldn’t get in their own countries.

It is our determination in the attacks that we have embarked on, to remove that whole structure of society based on corruption, on privilege, on exploitation backed not only by the Rhodesians themselves, but backed by huge international capital.

Zimbabwe’s situation, the settlers there, can and truly should be looked upon really as the immediate local agents of a huge international capitalistic manouver to control and continue to exploit the resources of Zimbabwe.

We are just a natural resource, to be exploited for the benefit of these big companies.

The companies are the biggest influences in America and in various other countries.

If these companies are threatened by the indigenous people, you will no doubt find that their countries will send troops to go and save their so-called properties in these areas.

They want to use the resident white minority as their immediate agents for carrying out their exploitation on their behalf.

I say this because I think it is very important for us to appreciate that the struggle we are engaged with is not simply against the immediate European settlers by themselves.

In the background is a whole lot of other people; South Africans, the Portuguese, the British, the French, the Germans, the Americans.

They are all part of the exploiting machine.

That is what we are fighting against.”

What Chairman Chitepo highlights here explains why ZANU is anathema to the West because it is the nemesis of exploitation of the land. 

ZANU PF is birthed on the same premise that stole and won the hearts and minds of the people of Zimbabwe. ZANU PF is there to protect and defend the land and wealth from imperialist exploitation, and that is precisely why sellout after sellout is sponsored by the West to form parties to get rid of ZANU PF. 

The contradiction between ZANU and the white menace is an antagonistic one. 

It is our land and wealth or death and that is why thousands perished to liberate, protect and defend this precious edifice called Zimbabwe.

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