Ridzai a military strategist, intel supremo

Source: The Herald – Breaking news.

Ridzai a military strategist, intel supremo 
Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Affairs Minister Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa (centre) and his deputy Monica Mavhunga console mourners at the funeral wake of national hero Colonel (Retired) Kenny Ridzai Mabuya in Harare yesterday. – Picture: Kudakwashe Hunda

Freeman Razemba Senior Reporter

NATIONAL hero Colonel (Retired) Kenny Ridzai Mabuya was a military strategist and intelligence supremo who contributed to the establishment of the intelligence services in the country, Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Affairs Minister Ambassador Chris Mutsvangwa said yesterday.

Ambassador Mutsvangwa, who is also the Zanu PF national spokesperson, said this when visited the home of Cde Mabuya in Tynwald South, Harare.

Cde Mabuya will be buried at the National Heroes Acre in Harare on Wednesday.

In an interview, Ambassador Mutsvangwa said Cde Mabuya joined the liberation struggle when he was young and when the liberation army was “very small”.

“Because of the arrival of the cadreship of Cde Kenny Ridzai under the late military genius, Cde (Josiah Magama) Tongogara, we had an alliance with Frelimo in Mozambique which was fighting against the Portuguese and using the experience and territory Frelimo had liberated in Mozambique, we managed to then infiltrate our own guerrilla army into the North East of Zimbabwe and Cde Kenny Ridzai was among those early cadres who implanted a home-grown guerrilla army on Zimbabwean soil. This is in the early 1970s,” he said.

Ambassador Mutsvangwa said Cde Mabuya played a key role during the liberation struggle.

He said in the Zanla forces at that time, they did not have professional military intelligence training and Cde Mabuya teamed up with the now President, Cde Mnangagwa, when he came back to the war for the second time to set up the first professional military and political intelligence school of Zanu PF at Takawira base.

“He was in the top four of people who set up that training. We took advantage of the fact that there were people who were defecting from the Special Branch of Rhodesia, they came with their techniques. But we also took advantage of the fact that we had Zipa, which was Zanla and Zipra and Zipra had the advantage of having trained with KGB (of Russia) in professional military intelligence.

“So the manuals of Zipra from the KGB landed up in Cde Kenny Ridzai and Cde Mnangagwa’s hands and the other team. So we started our own military intelligence training; so he is the pioneer of that effort under the leadership of Cde ED Mnangagwa,” said Ambassador Mutsvangwa, himself a product of that school after having trained in Tembwe, Zambia, where he met Cde Mabuya for the first time after coming from university.

He added that Cde Mabuya was part of the people who moulded Zanla forces into a military machine which overcame the Rhodesians.

Ambassador Mutsvangwa said Cde Mabuya used his intelligence skills to foil assassination attempts on the lives of VIPs by Rhodesian Security Forces.

“So it’s a colourful life of dedication to Zimbabwe in a variety of endeavours which can only make  Zimbabweans feel proud. After Independence, he was again defending the party. He was instrumental in the formation of the association to safeguard war veterans in the recovery of our land, in making sure that education is available to make Zimbabwe a star in Africa because that was the work of the war veterans, telling people to build schools for free and getting teachers as a reward because the budget was small.”

“This is a Zimbabwean invention which Africa and the world has never come to terms with, because it delivered the highest human resource index on the African continent when we are among the last three born on the African countries,” he said.

As a result of his contributions, Ambassador Mutsvangwa said they were saddened by Cde Mabuya’s death and they will “miss him at this hour when the President is building and transforming a settler colonial economy into a global economy, which is opening up more opportunities for Zimbabweans”.

Cde Richard Nyasha Chinengundu, whose Chimurenga name is Cde Twarai Tipone, said he first met Cde Mabuya in 1976 in Chimoio when he was coming from Nyadzonia.

“By then, he was a member of the Zanla general staff responsible for security. The only man I knew who was senior to him at that time was the late General (Vitalis) Zvinavashe.

“He is the person who worked so hard with Cde Kenny Ridzai. You cannot speak of Zanu and Zanla security and intelligence without putting Cde Kenny Ridzai at the centre. He was the centre pivot of the security and intelligence of Zanu and Zanla,” he said.

Cde Chinengundu said Cde Mabuya was an intelligent officer who also loved his colleagues.