Back to Index
wanted freedom, democracy, respect for human dignity, social justice
and peace" - Interview with war veteran Wilfred Mhanda
July 18, 2011
Inside/Out with Wilfred Mhanda
View audio file details
Mhanda (aka Dzinashe Machingura) is a veteran of Zimbabwe-s
1970s liberation war. He is a founder member of the Zimbabwe Liberators
Platform (ZLP), an association of war veterans. He has recently
published his autobiography titled Dzino, detailing his experiences
before, during and after the war. Mhanda is a steadfast advocate
for the realisation of the objectives of the liberation struggle,
that is, social justice and the preservation of human dignity.
prompted you to write your autobiography?
Three things. Firstly there is a need for us to give an account
of what happened during the struggle, to share our experiences with
the rest of the country. Secondly, a number of people kept prodding
and encouraging me to write my experiences so I could share it with
the people. Lastly, there was a need to correct a number of factual
distortions and misrepresentations.
were these distortions or misrepresentations?
There were three; like the Mgagao declaration, which was instrumental
to the resumption of the war in 1976, after it had stalled in 1975.
A lot of politicians, writers and historians have claimed that that
document was written by some other people, not by ourselves as fighters.
Secondly, there was the Zimbabwe People-s Army, which was
formed on 25 November 1975, which resumed the war in 1976. This
is the war that is responsible for independence. Some people claim
responsibility for having done that. That is incorrect. The other
one is we had problems and differences with Mugabe and some of the
members of the leadership during the struggle. It was said that
we had rebelled against them, that we wanted to overthrow Mugabe.
Those are pure fabrications.
reading a 2001 interview with yourself and R. W Johnson, and Johnson
alludes to your suspicions that Mugabe was somehow secretly supported
by Ian Smith. Do you believe this?
I have no evidence and it-s a matter of interpretation. But
what I write in my book is that the Rhodesian intelligence were
aware that Mugabe was about to leave the country and through which
area, yet they did nothing. I quote Stannard, who eventually became
head of the CIO, and he was at Special Branch in Rusape. I leave
people to make their own conclusions.
read an address you gave during a SAPES Seminar, where you speak
about war veterans being a political force. Do you think war veterans
have the ability to effect political change?
They have the potential to play both positive and negative roles,
but largely they have played a destructive role by serving partisan
interests. But there is still scope and potential for them to make
a positive contribution to the development of this country. One
problem is that what we call war vets . . . and who they actually
are totally different.
is the difference?
There are some people whose war record we are not aware of like
Jabulani Sibanda or Chinotimba and you call them war vets. I can-t
call them war vets! Where did they fight? Were they actively involved?
That is the problem, the obfuscation of this concept of a war vet
and then you get third Chimurenga, and people are saying veterans
of the third Chimurenga. Which war vets are those?
feel that your objectives during the war were met through Independence?
I think the only objective that I-m satisfied with is that
the war we started eventually led to the negotiations that led to
independence. We started the war, not Mugabe. But in terms of the
objectives, because the war was just a means to an end, the end
has not been achieved. We wanted total liberation, by that I mean
freedom, democracy, respect for human dignity, social justice and
peace. Those have not been met at all. If anything we are in a worse
situation than before.
feel that Mugabe betrayed the revolution?
Visit the Kubatana.net
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.