School to defend country’s sovereignty

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LATE last year, ZANU PF parliamentarians were introduced to lectures from experts of the proposed Herbert Chitepo School of Ideology in order to acquaint them with the Party’s ideology.
This will equip them to fight the changing dynamics of neo-colonialism and defend the country’s sovereignty.
And, the structures of the Herbert Chitepo Ideological College are made up of experts drawn from different Government departments with plans in place to build an ideological school in future.
As Zimbabwe commemorates 42 years of the death of Cde Chitepo, Cde Sam Geza, a liberation war veteran, recounts how the death of Chairman Chitepo robbed the liberation struggle of a dedicated cadre.
Said Cde Geza: “The whole ZANU community in Zambia felt like a black blanket had sealed their fate in a coffin when Chairman Chitepo was assassinated.
The ZANLA combatants at the rear in Zambia swore to finish off the work of liberating Zimbabwe which the Chairman had been executing.
People resolved to carry on with the struggle despite the major setback of the assassination.
I knew Chairman Chitepo from 1967 when I enrolled at the University of Zambia as a student up to the time he was assassinated in a car bomb in Lusaka in March 1975.
He struck me as one of Zimbabwe’s most revolutionary patriots, having given up the comforts of his job as Attorney General of Tanzania to lead ZANU’s external wing in the Second Chimurenga.
He was humble, unassuming, totally committed to the struggle, clear-headed, very articulate; a seasoned negotiator and diplomat, someone who fitted into any society whether local or international.”
It is against this background, Cde Geza said, the Wampoa College which started in 1976, was renamed Herbert Chitepo School of Ideology in 1977.
The mandate was to provide cadres with advanced political, military and ideological training for the transformation of our struggle and to bring about qualitative changes in the execution of the war with the establishment of liberated zones.
And, to establish new institutional arrangements – People’s Power Bases — in the liberated zones for the socio-economic, cultural and administrative development of an independent Zimbabwe and train cadres in regular warfare to defend the liberated and semi-liberated zones.
Cde Munyaradzi Machacha, a war veteran, said the death of Cde Chitepo plunged the whole region into mourning and in the then Southern Rhodesia, leaders such as Cde Robert Mugabe organised groups that were supposed to go to Nyanga to bury Cde Chitepo, but the Smith regime disallowed it.
They described Chairman Chitepo as a ‘terrorist more dangerous dead than alive’.
Hence, Cde Chitepo was buried in Zambia although his remains were reburied at the National Heroes Acre after independence.
“The party leaders had just been released from prison to facilitate the détente exercise when Cde Chitepo was assassinated,” Cde Machacha said.
“Both the détente and the assassination of Cde Chitepo was an attempt to foil the liberation struggle.
“However, this was not the case because Cde Chitepo’s death spurred thousands of recruits from Manicaland, Masvingo and the Southern parts of the country who were now determined to liberate the country.”
Cde Fay Chung in her Book, Reliving the Second Chimurenga, said there were arrests of more than 1 000 ZANLA cadres and leaders as a deliberate attempt to stop the liberation struggle.
The 300 freedom fighters who were inside Zimbabwe were now totally isolated, unable to get supplies of food, armaments and other basic necessities such as medicine.
A meeting was held and it was agreed that this should not happen and a number of support committees were established.
David Martin and Phyllis Johnson in their book Struggle for Zimbabwe note that the events in Lusaka caused a lot of confusion in the country.
The trickle of recruits of earlier years turned into a flood following Mozambique’s independence in June 1975.
On July 25, the Rhodesian Government announced a curfew from dusk to dawn along a one-kilometre-wide strip stretching 400km along the Mozambican border, which encompassed 23 mission schools.
Rhodesian radio said the decision followed hundreds of children absconding from schools near the border.
On August 6, a similar curfew was placed along the 640km-stretch of Botswana border.
In September and October 1975, recruits were crossing into Mozambique at the rate of 1 000 a week.
Cde Fay notes that by December 1975, it was clear Ian Smith did not intend to relinquish power and that he had accepted détente only as a ruse to disarm the guerillas when he was losing the war.
In the meantime, the Frontline presidents Julius Nyerere and Samora Machel, had decided that only a resumption of fighting would cause Smith to make any real concessions.
A ZANU Central Committee meeting was held in Mozambique in 1976, just before the Geneva Conference.
Cde Mugabe emerged as the new leader of ZANU.
Cde Mugabe was the next person in the leadership hierarchy, and he was unanimously accepted as the replacement of Rev Ndabaningi Sithole who had been rejected earlier as leader of ZANU and ZANLA.

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