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Nairobi, Kenya
I an ex member of both 7 and 8 Squadron's of the Rhodesian war spending most of my operational time on Seven Squadron as a K Car gunner. I was credited for shooting down a fixed wing aircraft from a K Car on the 9 August 1979. This blog is from articles for research on a book which I HAVE HANDED THIS MANUSCRIPT OVER TO MIMI CAWOOD WHO WILL BE HANDLING THE PUBLICATION OF THE BOOK OF WHICH THERE WILL BE VERY LIMITED COPIES AVAILABLE Contact her on yebomimi@gmail.com The latest news is that the Editing is now done and we can expect to start sales and deliveries by the end of April 2011

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Friday, August 1, 2008

THE WAR MUST END


PHOTOGRAPH DOMINIQUE HOYET
THIS WAR MUST END
TIME JAN 14 1980
We have been fighting so that the people could express their will. That is what the country has won."So said General Lookout Masuku, 40, commander of the 15,000-man ZIPRA forces loyal to Joshua Nkomo's wing of the Patriotic Front. The guerrilla general had arrived in Salisbury to oversee the peaceful withdrawal of his men to their cease-fire assembly camps. Following the death of ZANLA Commander Josiah Tongogara in a car crash two weeks ago, Masuku remains a key military figure in the guerrilla leadership. In an exclusive interview with TIME Johannesburg Bureau Chief William McWhirter, conducted in an unassuming dormitory he shares with officers of Robert Mugabe's ZANLA forces, somewhere in Salisbury, Masuku provided a personal account of one of Africa's bloodiest guerrilla wars and of his own commitment to ending it. McWhirter's report: It is a soldier's room, small, spartan, the single bed made up as tautly as if it were still awaiting the morning inspection. He is dressed in camouflage fatigues and parade-polished black boots with a small pistol tucked into a leather hip holster. For him, the long war began more than 16 years ago, when he first left Rhodesia as the son of a poor carpenter to join the little bands that first took up guerrilla training. Since then, traveling clandestinely, fighting under a series of aliases, he had witnessed the spreading of guerrilla warfare through the Third World from his earliest political and military in- doctrination under Soviet tutelage to later field experience in the Viet Nam of General Vo Nguyen Giap.
"I behaved like any other youth," the poor boy turned general says in fluent English, recalling the original conviction behind his career. "We wanted to vote and to be able to choose our own destiny. Instead, parties were banned, people were arrested and killed, and there was nothing left but to wage an armed struggle."
Masuku firmly denies a prevailing view among Rhodesian whites that his men have often lapsed into near terrorism bent on intimidating the peaceful African population. Says he: "Only if you treat the population with respect do you find it easier to fight the enemy. We are fighting for the liberation of these people. If we kill them, whom are we going to rule?"
Masuku admits that there were killings spawned by lawlessness, banditry and blackmail, but insists that soldiers responsible for such acts were treated as "outcasts" and turned over to "disciplinary committees." There were also summary executions of African "informers," he explains: "An informer is more dangerous than someone who is carrying a gun." But those, says Masuku, were sentenced according to disciplined channels of command.
In any case, risks and casualties have been high on the guerrilla side as well, he says, and Masuku has had his share of personal tragedy. During the daring Rhodesian army raid last April that destroyed Nkomo's home and party offices in Lusaka, the capital of neighboring Zambia, the general and his family were fired on from a roadside ambush as they dashed for safety in their car. The little finger of Masuku's left hand was blown off, but typically it was the innocent who suffered most: his wife and three-year-old son are still hospitalized.
Like some white Rhodesian officers, Masuku believes that it is time for peace. Says he: "We are here because everybody realizes that there is no sense in going on killing people. If we have to, we are determined to carry the war to its final conclusion. But both sides have agreed to free and fair elections and we will abide by what the people want. Our interest is to see that this war must be brought to an end." Outside the room his personal sentries walk slowly back and forth.

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I welcome comments from everyone on my book Choppertech.
I am interested especially on hearing from former ZANLA and ZIPRA combatants who also have thier story to tell.