Air Marshal Perrance Shiri says Professor Jonathan Moyo is a liberation war deserter, who had links with an outfit aligned to Rhodesian security services.
The Commander of the Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) said this in an exclusive interview with our Harare Bureau last week. This followed an “interview” Prof Moyo – a Zanu-PF Politburo member and Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister – gave to the private media in which he tried to rewrite both his own history and that of the Second Chimurenga.
Air Marshal Shiri was director of training at Zanla’s Mgagao Camp in Tanzania at the time Prof claimed to have been at the facility in 1976. Colonel Joseph Khumalo, who was one of the first commanders at Mgagao, having gone there in 1974, also trashed Prof Moyo’s tribally-driven agenda in his revisionist history.
Said Air Marshal Shiri; “Chekutanga, time yaari kutaura, arikuti June 1976; hakuna reinforcement kana trainee yakauya ku Tanzania during that time. Kwanga kusina. . . . he mentions two camps that he says were in Tanzania: hakuna ma-camp akadaro e Zanla ku Tanzania.”
The AFZ chief also laughed off Prof Moyo’s claims that he was with Zanu at the Liberation Centre in Zambia after leaving Tanzania. Zanu had at that time been essentially frozen out of Zambia, and only Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole and Bishop Abel Muzorewa had free political movement there.
President Mugabe was on March 29, 1976 to issue a communique strongly denouncing Rev Sithole and Bishop Muzorewa’s tribal politics and distanced Zanu from their activities. Air Marshal Shiri went on: “Anozotaura futi about going to Kenya. Kenya kwanga kusina Zanla camp zvachose, kana representative tanga tisina ku Kenya. Anotaura nyaya yekuenda ku Uganda. Ku Uganda kwanga kusina Zanla camp, kwanga kusina representative.”
He said the people who went to Uganda at that time were recruited by Rev Sithole, with assistance from Rhodesian security services who wanted to create a militia to sow confusion in the liberation struggle. The militia was, however, uncontrollable and Rhodesian security forces ended up killing many of them.
This is corroborated by no less than Ken Flower, the head of the Rhodesian Central Intelligence Organisation at the time, in his book “Serving Secretly”. On page 204 of the memoirs, Flower says: “. . . the CIO agreed to arrange the return of 50 of Sithole’s guerrillas from their training grounds in Idi Amin’s Uganda. Most of them proved too tough to handle and had to be eliminated by the security forces before they could do too much damage.”
Research by our Harare Bureau shows that the Kenyan broadcast training programme Prof Moyo refers to in his “interview” had nothing to do with Zanu and Zanla. And the broadcast work Prof Moyo says he wanted to do in Uganda could not have been for Zanu as well.
From 1976, the only Zimbabwe-related broadcasts coming out of Uganda were by Rev Sithole on Radio Kampala at a time his recruits had been assisted to go to that country by Rhodesian security services.
These include a September 9, 1976 broadcast in which Rev Sithole said he was pulling out of the ANC and claimed to still be leader of Zanu despite having been jettisoned by liberation fighters. And in 1977, Uganda’s President Idi Amin met President Mugabe, who was then the Zanu Secretary-General, at an OAU Summit in Gabon, and unwittingly bragged about hosting Zanu forces in Kampala and Entebbe.
President Mugabe, who was with General Josiah Tongogara, played along and allowed Amin to mouth off, in the process alerting them to what was happening. Air Marshal Shiri said, “Saka these people left Uganda at some point, came back to Rhodesia, worked with Rhodesian forces as extension of Rhodesian security services, Selous Scouts, trying to mislead povo vachizviti Zanla.
“If you read your history you will know about how vakazorohwa ku Gokwe. Vakashedzwa (by the Rhodesian military) kuparade ku Gokwe after they had confused the situation, going around raping and killing villagers, and messing things up for their handlers. Zvakamutsana ropa.
“It was military wing ya Sithole yanga iri staffed nevanhu vamwe vaanga aita mislead kuno kumusha achiti ndiri kukendesai ku training, achiti ndirikukuendesai ku training ye Zanla vakapedzisira vaendeswa ku Uganda. It was the equivalent of Dzakutsaku, Pfumo reVanhu ya Muzoerwa. Yake Sithole yainzi Ziso reVanhu, ndiyo yanga iri ku Kampala.”
He also said, “Jonathan was at Mgagao before 1976. He must have come nema reinforcements akanga auya early ’75. Akatiza ku camp; ndobva abatwa; ndobva adzoswa ne TPDF (Tanzania People’s Defence Forces). Pasina any problem, pasina chinongedzerwa akango tiza from the camp.
“Adzoswa, akaiswa mu chikaribotso for purposes of interrogation. Any security organisation would want to know kuti problem yacho chi, une different agenda here? He was released and he disappeared again. After the Mgagao Declaration (in October 1975), Sithole aitwa discredited, pakabuda information yekuti mukomana uyu (Prof Moyo) anga achionekwa ari mu team dza Sithole ku Dar-es-Salaam. Hence nyaya dzake dzekuzoenda kunana Zanla Kampala idzo. Ndiyo nyaya ya Jonso.”
In the private media “interview”, Prof Moyo mentions how he helped organise the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (Festac) in Nigeria in 1977. Interestingly, “The First World Festival of Negro Arts: Contexts and Legacies” (edited by Davud Murphy and published in 2016), states that Festac and three similar festivals “appear in retrospect to have been staging grounds for CIA (the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency) activity. In 1967 the magazine Ramparts published an exposé showing that the CIA had for years covertly funded cultural organisations.”
Perhaps coincidentally, Prof Moyo was to that year leave for the United States, stating in his acknowledgments in his book “The Politics of Administration: Understanding Bureaucracy in Africa”, that he was grateful for “liberation” from the Second Chimurenga.