The story of Eric Mandizvidza
I SEETHED with anger upon arrival at my grandfather’s homestead in Murungweni Village, Domboshava, after seeing an Auxiliary soldier pretending to be a freedom fighter.
This infamous soldier was a villain who was on a raping and robbing spree upon realising that they were losing the war after ZANLA forces bombed BP Shell tanks in 1979, in the then Salisbury (Harare).
The Auxiliary forces operated in their ‘home areas’ unlike the freedom fighters, hence there was great panic when the fuel tanks were bombed.
The war had come to the city and they feared they would be rounded up and receive the worst of punishment as they had sold out by co-operating with the enemy.
The auxiliaries had unleashed a reign of terror; raping and robbing villagers had become a standard of their operation.
I was summoned to Aloes Mavhunga, my grandfather’s homestead, where an Auxiliary soldier was waiting to collect money he had demanded from the villagers.
This sell-out had already collected money from Marco Dzimati and Godfrey Mavhunga by pretending to be a ‘freedom fighter’.
They, however, came to our house and expressed their suspicion about this supposed freedom fighter.
His behaviour was far from that of a typical guerilla.
He had no respect for vabereki and was rude.
Everyone back then knew that money, food and clothes were collected by the mujibhas and chimbwidos, not by guerillas.
He also carried an FN rifle, which was not used by vanamukoma, but Rhodesian forces.
The mujibhas and chimbwidos were so organised they never had to make demands but simply availed what was needed.
The freedom fighters rarely asked for money as they never had time to use it.
Besides, shopping would expose them to the enemy.
Thus we knew this was no guerilla.
We agreed to apprehend this impostor and take him to Tamborenyoka Mountain in Shumba Village where the freedom fighters had a base.
My homestead was not far from my grandfather’s and it took us less than 10 minutes to get there.
Upon arrival, I was shocked on seeing the Auxiliary soldier.
I knew him very well and he was from Govera Village.
This man had raped my aunt and robbed my relatives.
It was now around midnight.
The moon was full and I could clearly see my enemy sitting on a rock, waiting for the promised money.
Villagers had gathered and some money had been collected.
The villagers knew he was no guerilla but he had a gun and they were afraid of being shot if they did not give in to his demands.
I suppressed my anger because he was armed and we did not want him to open fire and alert his fellow auxiliaries.
During that time, the Rhodesian forces’ operations had intensified in Domboshava because someone had informed the enemy that the ZANLA cadres who bombed the BP Shell tanks had been hosted in the area.
We had to be careful and apprehend him without alerting the Rhodesians.
Everything went according to plan.
My colleagues and I swiftly disarmed him and we tied his hands and legs with a piece of wire, there was no way he was going to escape.
Takamusunga mbira dzakondo.
We then gave him a thorough beating.
That was when I told him that I knew him and that he was not a freedom fighter but an Auxiliary force member.
He confessed that he was indeed a member of the Auxiliary forces and was looking for money to flee from the area since they were on the verge of losing the war.
He pleaded with us to forgive him.
In his plea, he told us that he was just a victim of circumstances because he was forced into Muzorewa’s army on call-up, a system where Rhodesian Forces forced students to join their army.
In his confessions he revealed he had raped several girls.
We recovered R$300 from him after we searched him.
My grandfather told us to take him to the freedom fighters.
We then took him to Tamborenyoka Mountain, 14km from our village.
We handed him over to Cdes Voster Shambawamedza, Gore, Patience Santos and Farai.
We never made a follow-up but we know he got what he deserved for betraying the struggle and abusing his own people.
Compiled by Emergencey Mwale-Kamtande