In a recent interview Cde George Rutanhire poured blame on Joice Mujuru for the loss in battle of one Cde Chipembere and for climbing the ladder of command by using her then youthful good looks and affectionate indiscretions with senior commanders. This has left a bad taste in my mouth. Let me make one thing clear — I write as a genuine war veteran not as a Zimbabwe People First sympathiser. However, when an injustice is glaringly obvious, I will always speak without fear or favour.
Source: George Rutanhire’s unnecessary attack on Joice Mujuru – The Zimbabwean 24.08.2016
I prefer to write about principle and about truth as I know it. I lived with George and Susan Rutanhire during the liberation war. I was his “special assistant” — a nicer way to describe a bodyguard — just as Emmerson Mnangagwa was Mugabe’s special assistant and head of security. Cde Rutanhire named one of his children Takudzwa, as I have also named my first born son, for that was my first name during the struggle. I still respect Cde George as I benefited greatly from my close association with him. I trust he will not take offence at the truth I write here.
Cde George, as we affectionately called him, was the most senior member of the General Staff during my time and was always in the camps with us. He is the one who gave me the war name Takudzwa Nemass just before he deployed me to the front line on a research mission for the Commissariat under the command of the now Munyaradzi Machacha (who is still around to correct me if necessary). Machacha (aka George Kashiri) and fought in real battles in the Zimunya, Bocha and Marange districts of the Manica Province ending around September 1979. It was me who found Cde Duma’s body buried in sand after the very last bombing of Mavhonde Training Base 4. He was Rex Nhongo’s own brother. But let me not digress.
By Cde George’s own account Joice Mujuru was a chimbwido when Chipembere died. Assuming something happened between the two, she had no power whatsoever to stop Chipembere from doing what he wanted to do. After all he was the senior commander in the battle and chimbwidos were just vulnerable girls who were invariably raped against their will by the comrades without recourse. If a commander who was misbehaving died in a surprise attack by the enemy forces, can we really blame a mere chimbwido? How unfair is that to Comrade Teu as she was affectionately known?
Her subsequent indiscretions with only two commanders before Rex married her, if true, can hardly be regarded as so out of the ordinary to warrant any mention let alone blame. She was a young girl and young girls have freedom of choice much as young boys do before they get married. Unless we want to be sexist, Joice did not do anything in 1973 that warrants mention these days when she is a grandmother. A young woman cannot help it if she is good looking and if many a commander fell at her feet as men often do. She cannot be blamed for their weaknesses. Why did not Cde George give us a lecture on how many women Robert Mugabe had affairs with during or after the struggle?
If the commanders found Cde Teurai Ropa worthy and decided to reward her with promotions in rank, what was she supposed to do? The blame falls on the men who corruptly misconducted themselves, not on the victim of those men’s indiscretions. No one including Joice could say no to anything that ZANLA required them to do at the time and I don’t see how Mai Mujuru could have refused the responsibilities that she was given. It was called a “mission” or “missao” in Portuguese.
To my good comrades, especially to Cde George who was a good commander, I say please do not be petty by attacking each other unnecessarily because you may end up looking like you are desperately trying to gain favours from the one real enemy of the people, Robert Mugabe. He is not worth fighting for. Let us focus on uniting our people for the good of our nation and our own good. That is what we stand for in ZUNDE. Our political differences matter much less than the people we vowed to liberate.
Together we are much taller than we were yesterday. To my fellow war veterans I say, let us remember it is not every war veteran who abandoned the people. I did not abandon my people that is why I have been persecuted and exiled. Justice Charles Hungwe did not abandon the people that is why he was in trouble a few years ago. Cde Dzino did not abandon the people and we all know how he was treated by the vampires masquerading as liberators.
The majority of genuine freedom fighters were nowhere near the farms that were seized so violently nor were they at the Supreme Court when it was invaded. They were not there when David Stevens, Henry Elsworth, Terry Ford and other white farmers were killed. It is those few who have terribly lost their way who now must put things right with our people and the rest of the war veterans before it is too late. Now is the time for genuine liberators to be with the people and to rebuild our potentially great nation.
Justice Benjamin Paradza – Exiled Judge of the High Court of Zimbabwe and President of ZUNDE