DISGRUNTLED former Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (Zipra) combatants, who recently broke ranks with the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA), yesterday said their new welfare organisation, to be launched next month, would also seek to re-write the country’s distorted liberation war history.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
The Zipra ex-combatants severed ties with the Christopher Mutsvangwa-led ZNLWVA, claiming the latter had digressed from its official mandate and was now engrossed in Zanu PF factional wars.
Zipra was the armed wing of Zapu, which fought alongside Zanu’s Zanla forces to defeat the colonial regime, culminating in the country’s Independence in 1980.
Opposition Zapu spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa yesterday told Southern Eye that the proposed ex-Zipra combatants’ welfare organisation would be an autonomous body, though aligned to his party.
The late former Vice-President Joseph Msika
“Zipra, as an armed wing of Zapu, had a history that is strictly peculiar to them, a history that has been trashed by the current regime that has on numerous occasions sought to ‘Zanlanise’ the liberation struggle,” he said.
“The association’s immediate task will be to rewrite the history of Zapu’s military wing, its contribution to the liberation of Zimbabwe. The history of Zipra has been so much trivialised and that has to be corrected.
“Our history is so distorted that citizens know very little about Zipra and the contribution of its cadres in the liberation struggle. The veterans have numerous reasons for regrouping, chief among them the sidelining of former Zipra cadres in almost all influential positions of decision-making and power, be it in the army, police or the State’s secret service, where appointment and promotion has often been done on partisan basis.”
Zapu has always been critical of the Zanu PF liberation war narrative and suspicious of government-backed attempts to come up with “patriotic” history.
The late former Vice-President Joseph Msika also once questioned the way Zipra’s history has been documented.
He died in 2009 without leaving any written account despite promises to correct the distorted records.
An organisation linked to Zapu, Mafela Trust, at one time tried to document Zipra’s history but its efforts were also fruitless.