The Herald, November 29, 1979
A MEMBER of the Patriotic Front yesterday called for the integration of the Zimbabwe Rhodesian and PF Forces, saying that failure to do this now would lead to civil war.
Mr Cephas Msipa, Education Secretary for ZAPU, and an alternate delegate at the Lancaster House talks, told what was announced as a “Press conference”, that the prime objective of the interim arrangements would be to create and maintain the necessary conditions for “free and fair elections”.
Under such conditions, the PF would accept the verdict of the people as reflected in the results of the poll, he said.
At the moment, the external alliance was seeking an end to the war so that a suitable climate for reconciliation could be speedily achieved.
Apparently, said Mr Msipa, the British Foreign Secretary, Lord Carrington, was trying to “stampede” the PF into accepting “a treacherous ceasefire” that was a sure recipe for chaos as soon as the governor left Zimbabwe Rhodesia.
He said: “This is what the South African government is waiting and praying for. However, we have not driven out one imperialist in order to receive new and more oppressive one in the form of apartheid South Africa.
“It is the interest of our people to show that it is possible for our young men who have been fighting each other to work together in defence of their country. A start must be made now because failure to do this is a prescription for civil war immediately the election results are made known.”
On the issue of land, Mr Msipa said a PF-led government would acquire any land if this was deemed to be in the public interest, and compensation would be paid only for the improvements made on it.
Pensions that had been rightly earned would be paid to all employees in the public and private sectors. He attacked the media, which he said had been “harnessed into a propaganda machine” for disseminating “downright lies, half-truths and insults against the Patriotic Front”.
“It is no wonder that the majority of Africans in this country now listen to Radio Lusaka, Maputo, the BBC, Moscow, etc instead of the Voice of Zimbabwe Rhodesia, because this voice has been totally discredited in the ears of the majority of Africans.”
LESSONS FOR TODAY
- National hero Cephas Msipa’s sentiments on merging all fighting forces were a step in the right direction because a free Zimbabwe could not afford splinter militia forces that would be antagonistic towards one another. This has happened in other African countries, resulting in conflicts and humanitarian disasters.
- Now President Mnangagwa was given the task of uniting the former warring parties, and he was the chairman of the Joint High Command.
- Despite the amalgamation of the security and intelligence forces, what Cde Msipa feared eventually happened. The insurgency within the ZIPRA wing spiralled and led to the Gukurahundi problem, which founding President Robert Mugabe described as a “moment of madness” in Zimbabwe’s history.
- This led to another round of talks, which resulted in the Unity Accord of December 22. By now, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces was fully operational.