Mnangagwa war history record under scrutiny

The state media on Sunday reported that Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa was among the pioneers of the armed struggle for Zimbabwe’s liberation, engaging in military activities well before the famous Chinhoyi Battle.

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Historical records indicate VP Mnangagwa was militarily before the 1966 battle that is usually cited as the beginning of the Second Chimurenga.

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The historical accounts put the lie to claims by the Daily News that the VP was a marginal figure in the liberation struggle.

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Further, the records show that the man the Daily News pinned its spurious claims on – Mr Amos Kademaunga – actually jeopardised military operations because of his “timidity” and deserted the liberation struggle before it even really took off.

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Mr Kademaunga told The Daily News that VP Mnangagwa was not part of the Crocodile Group that sparked the armed phase of the liberation struggle, and yet he jumped ship in 1964.

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He participated in, and threw into disarray, two operations.

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Historical accounts demonstrate that the Crocodile Group Operation had three units, and VP Mnangagwa and Mr Kademaunga operated in different ones.

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The units operated independently of each other and members did not know of the other groups for tactical and operational reasons.

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And while VP Mnangagwa distinguished himself, Mr Kademaunga deserted.

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The record is set straight in Dr Baxter Tavuyanago’s paper published in the Global Journal of Human Social Science, Political Science, titled “The ‘Crocodile Gang’ Operation: A Critical Reflection on the Genesis of the Second Chimurenga in Zimbabwe”.

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The three units operated in in Manicaland, Masvingo (Fort Victoria) and Mashonaland. The Daily News claimed the Crocodile Group only operated in Manicaland.

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Dr Tavuyanago says, “Other youngsters such as Emmerson Mnangagwa were inspired to follow suit when in 1965 his group blew up a goods train along Fort Victoria-Chikwalacuala railway line.”

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He goes on to say that on July 1, 1964, the unit constituting Cdes William Ndangana, Dlamini, Mazwani, Mlambo and Kademaunga planned an attack on the house in which the member-in-charge of Nyanyadzi Police Station.

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“Kademaunga broke line with others as he was already growing timid. He was spotted by an African constable on patrol, Chinembiri, and he rose and started running.

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“Chinembiri lit his torch and barked ‘hini ndava’ (what is wrong)? Ndangana threw his bomb at the constable but missed him…. Back at their base, Kademaunga was given a stern warning for disrupting their plan.”

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Dr Tavuyanago says their next assignment was erection of a makeshift roadblock on Chikwizi River Bridge around 8pm on July 8, 1964.

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“Kademaunga had shown signs of timidity … and had told Ndangana that he was opting out. He was subsequently threatened with possible execution as his withdrawal would expose the rest of the group.

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“Meanwhile, Ndangana withdrew the fighting knife from Kademaunga because he no longer trusted him. What was coming out was that young Kademaunga had underestimated the hardships and field risks … They had just conducted one operation and one of them was already backsliding.”

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The first car to approach the makeshift roadblock was driven by a black African called Mr Lucas Siyomo.

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The car was stoned and Mr Siyomo identified himself saying “I am one of you” at which point the attack stopped.

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Mr Siyomo was allowed to proceed, but Cde Ndangana was “worried” by Mr Kademaunga’s conduct.

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A police van came to the bridge soon afterwards and a pistol was fired.

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Dr Tavuyanago says: “Kademaunga rose and ran for dear life and that was the last time they were to see him. What was clear was that henceforth this young man posed as a security threat.”

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The last word the researcher has on the deserter are: “Amos Kademaunga, who left the group after the Chikwizi Bridge incident, was arrested by the police in (Mutare) on the 5th of July (1968), tried and sentenced to ten years imprisonment with hard labour for erecting illegal roadblocks and petrol bombing offices.”

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In an interview with The Sunday Mail in February 2015, VP Mnangagwa corroborated aspects of Dr Tavuyanago’s account.

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“It was in 1964, around about June, I think, we were called in Old Highfield, we had come; my team … There was myself, Shirihuru Edson, Jameson Mudavanhu, Phoebion Shanhiwa, Lawrence Svosve, Ndangana, James Dlamini, Victor Mlambo, Master Tresha and Felix Santana.

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“So we assembled in Highfield. We were called in at night. There was Sithole’s house, Edison Sithole’s house. Now looking at it with hindsight, Sithole was a regionalist. At the time I didn’t see i – Sunday Mail

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