Ndabaningi Sithole was no hero
was going on in Zimbabwe-Rhodesia between 1978 and 1979 but I am now seriously beginning to doubt his ability to comprehend things.
It is a fact, and Tsvangirai should know this, that apart from the regular Rhodesian army and BSA Police fighting the Zanla and Zipra freedom fighters there were also two groups of Auxiliary forces fighting againstmajority rule.
One was the “Dzakutsaku” or “Pfumo revanhu” belonging to Abel Muzorewa then there was a shadowy group which called itself Zanla and these belonged to Ndabaningi Sithole.
I came across both groups in not so friendly encounters. Muzorewa’s Pfumo revanhu was a pitiful in terms of combat capability to say the least, they were mostly unemployed ghetto teenagers hastily trained by the Selous Scouts then clothed in brown combat fatigues, armed with G3 rifles and unleashed on the rural population to fight Zanla and Zipra.
Their urban background produced some humorous incidents in the raging war.
They also helped as a ready source of kit for the freedom fighters since they were very efficient at abandoning all their rations, kit and weapons just on hearing the chattering of the Zanla or Zipra AK47s.
When I see MDC T youths getting drunk and violent these days I see the “Dzakutsaku” and their brown uniform and Super-Pro tackies getting drunk at Chinengundu Township in Sanyati in 1979.
Re-incarnation might be real after all.
Now the second group of Auxiliaries was the Zanla Sithole.
These were truly confusing and one could think they were genuine freedom fighters until you listened to their commissars or heard their songs or worse still when either the genuine freedom fighters appeared and then a bloody gun battle would erupt.
Yes! A real gun battle between Ndabaningi Sithole’s fighters (the MDC-T hero today) and true freedom fighters.
These Sithole people “Vanhu va Sithole” as we called them were on a Rhodesian army pay ticket and they really confused the rural people while effectively filling the void left by the now stretched Rhodesian forces.
The “Vanhu va Sithole” formed mini governments in the areas where they were based and only an attack from real freedom fighters would free the povo from these armed thugs.
To this end, I challenge Tsvangirai to go to Nembudziya, Chinyenyetu, Ganyungu and Sanyati areas in Mashonaland West and repeat his praise of Ndabaningi Sithole.
While still at that, he should do one of his addresses just across Munyati river bridge near Arda Sanyati where the Sithole Auxiliaries were later mercilessly bombed by the Rhodesians for beginning to defect to join real freedom fighters and as we were later told, for demanding more pay.
The survivors of this bombing ran around Sanyati and Gokwe looking for real freedom fighters to take them on board and these people will testify to what happens when whites decide to discard a used black person.
This is what I personally know about Ndabaningi Sithole from my own experiences. I also remember one Zipra freedom fighter Cde Themba who used to say “haikona kutengesa saSithole akatiza kuhondo, ufuzi uSithole wabaleka empini”.
I remember him vividly with his purple “Chiltern sunbeta” cap, his laughter and high level of political ideology.
He was later ambushed and killed by the Rhodesian forces at dawn one day at Kasirisiri business centre in 1979.
His bullet-riddled body was put on public display for days on the lawn at Kadoma Central police station and members of the public were forcibly dragged to view the body to deter them from joining the struggle but still things became worse for the Zimbabwe-Rhodesia arrangement.
Now in 2012 we are told Ndabaningi Sithole is a hero well fine, it depends on who you are and what you stand for.
After all, Tsvangirai is a hero to the Australians.
Cde Tarwireyi Matsika Chifambayi Tirivavi was a Zipra combatant.