The Sunday News
WE continue our interview with Lieutenant-Colonel (Retired) Stanford Moyo, a former Zipra guerilla who trained in the famous Group of 800 at Morogoro in Tanzania and was later deployed for operations in January 1977 in the Northern Front Two (NF2) region, which covered Lupane, Binga, Nkayi and some parts of Gokwe.
Lt-Col (Rtd) Moyo who operated as Lloyd Zvananewako or Mabhikwa last week in his narration to our Assistant Editor Mkhululi Sibanda (MS) spoke about how they had to do a lot of political orientation of the masses in a bid to get their support.
He said some villagers were still of the view that it was not possible that the war could be won on the battlefield against the much resourced Ian Smith regime.
Lt-Col (Rtd) Moyo said the Rhodesian regime also used traditional leaders such as village heads, headmen and chiefs to influence their subjects against supporting the armed struggle.
He said the traditional leaders would be summoned to Lupane Centre where the Rhodesian government officials would try to brainwash them.
Lt-Col (Rtd) Moyo said they came face -to-face with a village head in Lupane who told his subjects not to cook for “terrorists”.
Today he continues the interview by narrating how the guerillas dealt with that defiant village head. Below are excerpts of the interview. Read on….
MS: Last time you were still talking about the village head who instructed his people not to feed guerillas. How did you manage to deal with such a delicate situation?
Lt-Col (Rtd) Moyo: Like I said last week we were heavily divided on how to handle the situation and we were still new in the area. Our section was still made of the 13 men we were deployed with.
To remind the readers a bit, we went for a vote on how to deal with him. Seven voted that we should leave him alone for sometime, their argument being that we should not be seen killing people, the povo.
Among those against his immediate elimination was Mafutha who felt it would be political suicide to announce our arrival with the killing of the local traditional leadership.
The other six thought otherwise. Like I said I was one of the seven but I turned around and said we should visit him, give him some political education.
We then separated and came up with a GP (plan) for the following day which was to be at Manyanda in Binga.
The village head was from Dongamuzi in Lupane. The other six moved towards Binga while the seven of us went to the man’s home.
MS: How was the atmosphere when you got to the village head’s home?
Lt-Col (Rtd) Moyo: We arrived at that man’s home around 7pm.
We found him and his wife preparing to retire to bed. We took him out of the homestead to talk to him. One of the comrades, Lot then came up with a decision to pardon him after we had explained to him about the ethos of the revolution.
He seemed to understand. Cde Lot further ordered me and Cde Ramnyanyiwa, uRams to continue talking to the man about politics while the rest of the comrades went to the man’s kitchen hut with the man’s wife to prepare supper. Myself, Rams and the village head went to his main bedroom for our discussion.
Little did I know that Rams was against the pardoning of that old man.
During the discussion Rams walked out of the room and stood outside just near the door.
Our discussion had changed to light hearted issues and it was while I was laughing with the old man that I saw his eyes switching followed by a bang of a gun, I responded by pointing my gun towards the door only to hear Rams saying he was the one who had fired the gun.
The old man was dead, shot at point blank. At first I thought it was the enemy.
I was shocked and the rest of the guys came running and they were also shocked. We quizzed Rams and others returned to the kitchen to continue cooking. I did not eat the food. We left for Binga where we met the other six at Manyanda.
MS: I suppose they were also shocked.
Lt-Col (Rtd) Moyo: They were. We told them what transpired. There was then a serious discussion over the issue and Rams was seriously reprimanded for his actions.
That man was the first civilian to be killed by a guerilla when we got to the area. It was then resolved that we should not kill unarmed personnel.
The resolution held on for some time, however.
The group of six then briefed us about the information they had got. They said they had been told about the pending pay date at Tinde Mine.
We then agreed that we should raid the mine during the pay day.
MS: What was the reason for raiding the mine, was that still part of the war effort?
Lt-Col (Rtd) Moyo: The reason to raid the mine was very simple, we wanted to get money and buy boots which were getting worn out.
When we were deployed each man had just one pair and after covering those distances up and down, we were getting shabbily dressed.
The other reason was economic sabotage, we wanted to ground the day-to-day economic activities of Rhodesia. We then prepared for the raid and the day came.
MS: Take us through the raid.
Lt-Col (Rtd) Moyo: On pay day we laid an ambush just outside the mine gate which was situated on the direction towards Kamative Mine.
We got into three groups, the main force ambushed to hit the escorting troops, two men were tasked to cut the telephone lines, myself and Majority were tasked to grab the money soon after it was offloaded to the office.
Around lunch time the vehicles approached from the western direction.
Those that got in parked outside the offices.
Majority and myself cut the security fence using our AK-47 bayonets. We approached the offices from different directions.
When they saw us they froze, there was no resistance at all. I took two bags full of silver coins while Majority took bank notes.
While carrying that raid we heard heavy sound of gunfire in the westerly direction along the road, which suggested that it was not our group.
MS: It was another unit?
Lt-Col (Rtd) Moyo: Yes, it was another Zipra unit that had just been deployed but we were not aware of its presence. That unit was under the command of Cde John Chironda.
What happened was that when they were going down south, they heard the sound of vehicles going towards the mine. The vehicles were armed escorts, protecting the money.
Cde Chironda summoning his military instincts called for a haste ambush to get his men baptised or initiated into battle without knowing that he was covering for us. In fact, Cde Chironda who had operated under ZIPA from Mozambique was a trigger happy fellow.
MS: Then yourselves after getting the money, what did you do with it?
Lt-Col (Rtd) Moyo: We got out of the mine without any incident, it had just been a stroll in the park. Our unit then retreated to Lupane after sharing the money equally, it was a lot.
We then lay low for some time, sending individuals to buy us some boots, jeans (stings) and some groceries. On these buying expeditions we agreed to send our friends from the local population to different areas to limit detection from the enemy agents.
From there on we were well dressed and some civilians even remarked that the whites were lying in saying “terrorists” were dirty people who did not bath.
However, the Tinde Mine raid was the only incident where it was organised that it be carried out that way.
All other incidents of people taking money from buses and stores, businesses for black people were carried out by few loose individuals without the blessings of the commanders.
To be continued next week