‘Bennett forced me to join Rhodesian Forces at gunpoint’

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The story of Cde David Munemo

IN the 1970s, in Domboshava, at Makumbe Business Centre, there was only one shop owned by one Magwaza.

This was the place where most people did their shopping and met for drinks after work.

As usual, I was at this shop having some drinks after a hard day’s work at Makumbe where I worked as a general hand when Roy Bennett, who was operating in the area as a Selous Scout, called me to his car. 

He ordered me into his car and I wandered what wrong I had done to ‘Muzezuru’, as he was known in the area. 

When I got into the car, he pointed his gun at me and told me that he wanted to shoot me because I was a gandanga

“Let us go to your parents’ home so that I shoot you in front of them.” 

I was so terrified because we knew Bennett was a murderer.

When we reached home and he told them what he intended to do to me, they cried and pleaded with him. 

Bennett told my parents that if they wanted me to live, then they should persuade their son (me) to join the Rhodesian Forces. 

We went straight to Chikurubi, which was the training centre for a ‘special force’ of blacks in the Rhodesian Forces which was called ‘Guardforce’. 

We trained for six months and the conditions were very bad as the blacks who trained us were very harsh; they were quislings who wanted to please the master.

Whites used to come here-and-there to monitor the training; they knew their lap-dogs were doing a splendid job. 

We were given plain tea nenzungu mbishi in the morning or sometimes tea with three slices of bread, then sadza and vegetables in the evening. We were not allowed to a.

The ‘hardships’ were said to be necessary to condition us for war while whites trained under different conditions.

After Passout, we were deployed to Honde Valley, Mutasa, kumaKeep. 

One day we had close contact with the guerillas when we were escorting tea workers to the fields. We were armed with 303 rifles. 

We saw them from a distance and they just looked at us as we drove past in tractors. 

Maybe they did not attack us for fear of killing the innocent civilians or they just regarded us as harmless. 

I operated in the force for two years. 

I ran away in 1979 when I was warned by the local people that our place was about to be hit by the guerillas. 

Surely, as soon as I left the place, Ruda Camp, was hit by the comrades. 

I went to stay with my brother in Chitungwiza and later went and worked in Avondale kumayadhi — but not for long. The Rhodesians fished me out after someone betrayed me. 

I was forcibly made to work at Goromonzi Base under tight supervision. 

I then resigned and they agreed to let me go but refused to give me my gratuities.

Compiled by Fidelis Manyange

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