Wednesday, April 27, 2016

‘Rhodies Part of Badza, Nhari Rebellion’
Josiah Tongogara.
April 28, 2016
Opinion & Analysis,
Hildegade Manzvanzvike
Zimbabwe Herald

ON Independence day, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantine Guveya Chiwenga was tough talking, and in his interview with The Herald, he collapsed the country’s historical, military and intelligence narrative, to describe the long road travelled so far.

He also spoke on issues that have taken so long to be part of the national discourse when he said the ZDF was alive to the machinations by the country’s detractors, through their local stooges, and that there was nothing new in whatever anyone was day-dreaming to do to usurp power and/or cause disunity in the country.

Said Gen Chiwenga: “We are aware of the ascetic warfare they are waging on the country, the country’s political system, the country’s economy . . . But if we defeated them in 1979 and got our Independence in 1980, what makes them feel that they can launch another war against us and defeat us? We are aware of them. We are aware of all the tricks.

“Even during the liberation struggle, we also had the same problems. We had numerous rebellions that you are aware of. The parties were being split left, right and centre. They tried all the tricks. In the case of us, we had the parties being destroyed — Zapu and zanu — when Frolizi was formed. It did not work. We had the rebellions of the Nhari/Badza. We had the rebellions of Vashandi 1 and Vashandi 2. Every trick which has been used, we have been prepared for it and here we are, prepared even more than what they expected,” he said.

So much history compressed in so short a statement!

What has always surprised the writer is how some people would be quick to label such information as propaganda, when these events are still being used by the enemy as templates to interfere in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs.

Take the Nhari/Badza rebellion for example. Some people have gone to great length to come up with spurious conspiracy theories, despite the fact that primary data provided by the Rhodesian security system is there to help solve the puzzle.

It is well known that the Rhodesian forces’ counter-insurgency activities were meant to derail the liberation struggle, and create divisions and disunity among the liberation movements zanla (zanu) and zipra (Zapu). They also created inter-and intra-party rivalry using sellouts they planted in the liberation movements.

We have also read the spirited denials by some regarding Peter Stiff’s claims in his biography on the assassination of zanu founding chairman Herbert Chitepo. Stiff, an ex-SAS soldier who acted as “agent provocateur in Rhodesia in the 1970s” makes it very clear how their undercover operations led to Cde Chitepo’s assassination in the Zambian capital Lusaka.

Those who have read the hard cover edition of his biography, “See you in November: The story of Alan ‘Tafy’ Brice: An SAS assassin”, published in the mid-eighties would have seen the plates that even had a hand-drawn map leading to the Chitepo homestead and other security diagrams.

There is no need to reinvent the wheel, when the agenda setters tell it as is.

Why would today’s researcher fail to see through the issues in the Badza/Nhari rebellion, when the director of the Rhodesian Central Intelligence Organisation, Ken Flower describes how the two were knowingly embedded with their system?

Flower might use language that is peculiarly Rhodesian, but he gives important information that should be used to revisit some of the events of the liberation struggle, in order to put closure.

In his biography, “Serving secretly: An intelligence chief on record, Rhodesia to Zimbabwe, 1964 to 1981”, published in 1987, (more or less the same period when “See you in November”), Flower captures what led to the Nhari/Badza rebellion in the chapter he titled “External escalation 1972-76.”

Says Flower: “A year after the coup I was in Lisbon again, to experience something of the changes . . . My friends in Lisbon were sure the pendulum would swing once again, though they conceded that the Portuguese empire had gone forever. For, after Portugal had handed over the reins of power in Mozambique to Frelimo in September 1974, full independence followed in June 1975.”

Flower continues, “The issue of joint clandestine action between Rhodesia and South Africa had continued to occupy much of CIO’s time during the period of our liaison with Portugal over the fate of Mozambique.

“In August 1974 I submitted a brief to Ian Smith which I suggested he use in his forthcoming off-the-record discussion with Vorster.”

Let us now turn to the specifics about the Rhodesian involvement in the rebellion led by Thomas Nhari and Dakarai Badza.

Flower on page 146 says: “By this time, CIO was in possession of Intelligence of vital significance concerning the numbers and deployment of zanla guerillas operating within Rhodesia, their tactics and the availability of supplies. Acting upon this Intelligence, we had met some of zanla’s junior commanders in the field (north-eastern region).

“From these meetings, it was clear that there was dissension within their ranks which we could turn to our advantage.

“Among those contacted were Thomas Nhari, zanla commander of the Nehanda Sector, and Dakari Badza, commander of the Chaminuka Sector.

“At a meeting with them at Mukumbura on the Mozambique border, our Special Branch representatives learnt that guerillas were the effects of indifferent command and serious shortages of supplies caused by the lengthening of their lines of communication.

“In the light of such disaffection, it was easy for us to convince them of the injustice of their fight for survival in the bush while their leaders ‘relaxed in comparative luxury’ in Zambia and Tanzania.

“We were offering substantial rewards at the time for surrender of ‘Terrorist Leaders’, or for their collaboration, and had something to bargain with. We could even talk of negotiating an end to the war,” says Flower.

How did they eventually use the Intelligence gathered at the meetings they held with Badza and Nhari?

Ken Flower says: “The opportunity to exploit this situation came in November 1974 when, with the release of nationalist leaders from Rhodesian gaols, CIO became aware for the first time of even greater dissension within the political ranks of zanu . . . Now that we knew the depth of the rift within zanu, and were convinced that neither zanu nor Zapu would accept each other’s leadership, it seemed that the only course open to the (Frontline) presidents in their pursuit of guerrilla unity was to turn to the ‘moderates’ of the ANC.

“To sow further dissension we had ready tools in Nhari and his companions, who became willing conspirators. Nhari seized command of zanla’s Chifombo base on the Mozambique/Zambia border indulging in random killings as he did so. His followers then planned to kidnap Josiah Tongogara, the Lusaka-based commander of zanla since 1972, but he was out of the country at the time . . .”

In the same chapter, Flower also talks about Cde Chitepo’s assassination.

From what Gen Chiwenga said, these were some of the lessons learnt. They are alive to the enemy’s tricks, and strongly feel that like in the past, they will prevail.

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