This article from The Chronicle it gives an insight to ZAPU Cadres during the war.
Gordon Munyanyi — the untold history of a great freedom fighter
By Phelekezela Mphoko
Comrade Tapson Sibanda whose liberation name was Gordon Munyanyi and was recently declared a National Hero and laid to rest at the National Heroes' Acre in Harare, was trained at the prestigious Algerian military academy of Cherichell.
He was among those selected to do an officers’ course from a group of more than 100 Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) cadres who had been sent to the North African nation for military training.
He trained together with some of our great military commanders such as Rogers Mangena, Naison Khezwana, Lieutenant Chirinda, Chappy Masuku, James Paratena and others. In their final exams in military strategy, Mangena was top of the class, followed by Munyanyi, Khezwana and Chirinda in that order. The best sharp-shooters in the group were Khezwana, Mnyanyi and Sikhosana (Malombo) — registering all 35 rounds in the bull's eye.
Cde Munyanyi was called to the ZIPRA Command together with Mangena from Morogoro Military Training Centre, where they were both military instructors, following the reorganisation of the military wing of ZAPU from the former Military Planning Committee to the Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) in 1972.
Cde Munyanyi was one of the six founder members of ZIPRA. ZAPU had two subordinated bodies, namely the military wing, ZIPRA, commanded by Mangena, and the Party Security Department, headed by Comrade Dumiso Dabengwa. These were two different stand-alone structures with separate commands.
First ZIPRA Command
Rogers Mangena: Chief of Staff, CS0; Lookout Masuku: Political Commissar, CS1; Gordon Munyanyi: Chief of Military; Intelligence, CS2; Charles Ngwenya (aka JD): Chief of Operations, CS3; Phelekezela Mphoko: Chief of Logistics and Supplies, CS4 (and the only surviving member of the command. I thank God for the gift of life!); Cephas Cele: Chief of Personnel and Training.
All the former comrades-in-arms mentioned above, except for Cde Ngwenya (JD), were accorded National Hero status. Cde Ngwenya was the commander of the joint ZAPU/ANC Wankie detachment of 1967. He died in Nigeria when he was part of a Patriotic Front delegation co-led by President Mugabe and is buried in Lusaka, Zambia. Letters requesting for National Hero status for both Rogers Mangena and Ngwenya were written through the then chairman of the National Hero Status Panel, the late Cde Simon Muzenda, during the early days of our Independence with the blessings of the late Dr Joshua Nkomo.
The unity front
On the unity front between ZAPU (ZIPRA), ZANU (ZANLA) in 1972, when the two parties formed the first Joint Military Command (JMC) under the leadership of Cdes Jason Moyo and Herbert Chitepo, Cde Munyanyi was appointed Chief of Military Intelligence, Mangena became Chief of Staff, Josiah Tongogara was appointed Chief of Operations, and Mphoko became Chief of Logistics and Supplies, deputised by Cde William Ndangana.
In Mozambique, under yet another Joint Military Command, the Zimbabwe People's Army (ZIPA) — formed between ZIPRA and ZANLA — Cde Munyanyi was appointed Chief of Military Intelligence, Cde Solomon Mujuru was the Commander, Ngwenya was Deputy Commander, Mangena was Chief Political Commissar, and Mphoko was Chief of Logistics and Supplies.
Cde Munyanyi was one of the four ZIPRA commanders who turned down an offer to take over political power from the political leadership as a third force. He also believed that ZIPRA was a military wing subordinated to ZAPU and, as such, could not co-lead the armed struggle with ZAPU, the mother body.
In 1972, when Cde Munyanyi was called to the ZIPRA High Command, ZAPU was in serious internal crisis.
This was at a time when some of our cadres left the party to join James Chikerema and formed FROLIZI. A number deserted the armed struggle completely. During that period, because of Chikerema's influence, ZAPU was not allowed to bring into Zambia recruits from Zimbabwe through Botswana, or trained personnel from Tanzania, for deployment inside Rhodesia and, as a result, the combat strength of ZIPRA from Jason Moyo down to a combat soldier including members of the ZIPRA High Command was reduced to 39 people.
Combat operations inside Rhodesia were conducted by members of the command including Operations Assegai, Spearhead and Operation Xhoxhoza which led to the closure of the Rhodesia/Zambia border, which was only opened upon Zimbabwe's attaining independence in 1980.
There were a number of operations conducted after Operation Xhoxhoza between the Fifth Gorge and Devil's Gorge. As a result of these combat operations, the Rhodesians introduced armour-plated troop-carriers which were not affected by a single anti-tank mine. After an explosion, you would hear the truck roaring along, continuing with the journey.
In the meantime, the Rhodesian security forces were laying combat anti-tank mines on routes inscribed "Homba Section 5", which were easily removed. The removed Homba Section 5 mines were used against the enemy forces and were now reinforced by placing two mines in one hole. When Cde Munyanyi inspected one of these, his comment was: "This is terror!" He was commonly known as “Terror Man”.
The daring Operation Xhoxhoza was through the Fifth Gorge. Three members of this combat unit which conducted this operation were members of the ZIPRA Command, namely Cdes Munyanyi, Ngwenya and Mphoko, with Cdes Abel Mazinyane, Makheto Ndebele and Roger Ncube (aka Matshimini). After Operation Xhoxhoza, ZAPU was allowed to bring into Zambia recruits from Botswana and combat units from the then Soviet Union and elsewhere through Tanzania.
In Spungabera, Cde Munyanyi with Cdes Tshipa Ncube (aka Nyamupingidza), Captain Nyathi (aka Mlindiseli), Javan Maseko, Joseph Dube (aka Donkey) and Mphoko, ambushed an enemy section that was camped just near the Mozambique/Rhodesia border along an infiltration route.
Cde Munyanyi was in charge of a ZIPRA command strategic unit that carried out Operation Old Woman with Mazinyane, Kwela, Makanyanga, and others in the North East, jointly with some members of FRELIMO. During this operation, Cde Munyanyi distinguished himself as a commander, leader and fearless freedom fighter.
Comrade Gordon Munyanyi, you will be remembered for your professionalism, dedication to true revolutionary principles and great personal sacrifice. The party, ZANU-PF, accorded you National Hero status not because you were a ZAPU representative in Libya, but because of your revolutionary principles and your contribution to the liberation of Zimbabwe. ZIPRA was built on your shoulders. No-one can take that away from you.
Remember the toyi-toyi song: "ZIPRA! ZIPRA Yishumba, Simith Yinyama, Hayi-Hayi Unengozi/Unengozi Yempisi, Hayi-hayi Unengozi!"
May your soul rest in peace.
About the Author: Cde Mphoko is Zimbabwe's Ambassador to the Russian Federation. He writes from Moscow
- Beaver Shaw
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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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