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Dare- Re- Chimurenga

  1. For closer proximity to the centre of the struggle and for better coordination, ZANU moved its Headquarters to Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, in 1966. The membership of the Revolutionary Council had grown to 19 amd proved ineffectual as a political organ. The name ‘Revolutionary Council’ was subsequently dropped and replaced by DARE – RE – CHIMURENGA (War Council) or Supreme Council, after the War Council of the Shona people of the late 19th Century. Above the DARE was the Chimurenga General Council, which was answerable to the entire membership of the Party both inside and outside Zimbabwe and which was composed of:
    (i) members of the DARE
    (ii) members of the High Command
    (iii) full – time officials of the Party
    (iv) members of the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA) General Staff.


  1. In 1969, membership of the Executive (now the DARE) was for the first time determined by elections. This was a departure from the old policy of appointments. But as subsequent events were to prove, this was a regrettable step. It ultimately led to conflicts and serious division in the DARE, and in ZANU itself. From this point in time, the history of ZANU was characterised by the struggle for ascendancy between rival groups which employed tribalism, thereby creating conflicts between the Karangas and Manyikas. Chitepo himself was a Manyika, and this fact eventually put him (as Chairman of the Party), in an awkward position.
  2. The Dare was limited in composition to a membership of eight, and the elections of 1969 saw the Manyikas in the majority – five Manyikas, three Karangas. Then began a dangerous struggle for power in the DARE, a situation which imposed a severe test on the solidarity of the Party as a whole in the course of the national liberation movement.
  3. ZANU operated at two levels: political and military. These were represented by particular officials in the DARE, and both important strategic posts, as it were, fell to the Manyikas. Noel Mukono, a Manyika, was the Secretary for Defence in the DARE, and consequently, operational matters came under his direct control. On the political level, too, a Manyika, Simpson Mutambanengwe, occupied that office.
  4. At the first Biennial Review Conference in April, 1969, those elected to the DARE were:

(a) Herbert Chitepo …. Chairman
(b) Mukudzei Mudzi … Administrative Secretary
(c) Henry Hamadziripi … Secretary for Finace
(d) Nathan Shamuyarira … Secretary for External Affairs
(e) Taziana Mutizwa … Publicity Secretary
(f) Stanley Parirewa … Secretary for Welfare and Social Affairs
(g) Noel Mukono … Secretary for Defence
(h) Simpson Mutambanengwe … Secretary for Political Affairs

  1. On April 28th, 1966, ZANU started its armed struggle in Zimbabwe. On that day, ZANLA engaged the enemy on the home ground, in what has come to be known as the ‘Battle of Sinoia’ in ZANU military annals.
  2. The years of 1964 to 1971 saw the training and equipping of fighting cadres for guerilla and regular warfare. Military bases were established at strategic points in Zimbabwe and Mozambique from which liberation troops, called cadres, crossed over into Zimbabwe and opened campaign centres.
  3. The leaders of ZANU saw in this armed struggle the only way to achieve the independence of Zimbabwe – especially after the victory of the people of Mozambique over the Portuguese colonialists.
  4. Evidence of power struggle within the rank and file of ZANU based on tribalism started showing at the 1971 ZANU Conference held at Kafue, Zambia, for the elections to the DARE (Supreme Council). After the elections, the successful candidates were:
    (a) Herbert Chitepo ….. Chairman – Manyika
    (b) Mukudzei Mudzi ….. Administrative Secretary – Karanga
    (c) Henry Hamadziripi ….. Treasurer – Karanga
    (d) Simpson Mutambanengwe ….. Political Commissar – Manyika
    (e) Noel Mukono ….. Secretary for Defence – Manyika
    (f) Washington Malinga ….. Publicity Secretary – Zezulu
    (g) Richard Hove ….. Foreign Affairs – Karanga
    (h) Stanley Parirewa ….. Secretary for Welfare and Social Affairs – Zezulu
  5. Nathan Shamuyarira and Taziana Mutizwa, who were not re-elected, resigned from the Party and later joined FROLIZI when it was formed. Parirewa also resigned his post after two weeks and he, too, joined FROLIZI. His vacant post in DARE was never filled.
  6. The elections in 1971 again showed the Manyikas in greater strength. The Karanga elements more than ever now intensified the struggle to correct the imbalance in the DARE and to establish their ascendancy.
  7. They realised this objective in the DARE elections of 1973, and at once proceeded to vigorously implement their policy of having Karangas in key posts and offices, both at the political and military levels – and they succeeded.
  8. At the Review Conference of September, 1973, the following persons were elected to the DARE:
    (a) Herbert Chitepo …… Chairman – Manyika
    (b) Mukudzei Mudzi ….. Administrative Secretary – Karanga
    (c) Noel Mukono ….. Secretary for External Affairs – Manyika
    (d) Kumbirai Kangai ….. Secretary for Labour, Social Services and Welfare – Karanga
    (e) Rugare Gumbo ….. Secretary for Information and Publicity – Karanga
    (f) John Mataure ….. Political Commissar – Manyika
    (g) Henry Hamadziripi …..Secretary for Finance – Karanga
    (h) Josiah Tongogara – Chief of Defence – Karanga
    The Karangas won majority seats at this election – five Karangas and three Manyikas.
  9. Josiah Tongogara, a Karanga, took over from Noel Mukono, a Manyika, as ZANU Chief of Defence. As a member of the DARE and also leader of the ZANU Military High Command, he was in a position to effect major changes in the military sphere. The Karanga elements came into effective control of ZANU in both its political and military aspects. In the process, much ill- feeling was engendered in the Party and ZANU lost the cohesive strength necessary for waging a national struggle of the scale on which they had embarked. The petty wranglings and wrong methods of dealing with real or imagined rivals for power plunged ZANU into utter confusion.

ZANU and the UNITY Accord of December, 1974

  1. To bring the Zimbabwe warring political factitons to the sense of responsibility they owed to their country, the OAU and the Presidents of Zambia, Tanzania, Botswana and Mozambique attempted to unite them and their efforts resulted in the Unity Accord of December, 1974.
  2. The decision for all the Zimbabwe nationalist movements to merge into the ANC was, however, strongly opposed within ZANU. According to the evidence of the Rev. Ndabaningi Sithole, President former ZANU, at the time they came to Lusaka for Unity talks, the atmosphere was tense in the camp. There were two strong schools of thought, he said. One school believed in Unity and the other believed in the opposite. He stated further, that at the time the Zimbabwe Declaration of Unity was signed, there was a strange feeling in the ZANU delegation. Rev. Sithole in his own words said : ‘Some felt that we should not have signed it, whereas others felt that we should sign the document.’ Joshua Nkomo said in evidence that ZANU was against unity and was reluctant to subscribe to the Unity Accord.
  3. Members of the ZANU Executive (jncluding Chitepo himself for some time) put up a solid wall of opposition to the Unity Accord. They saw in it the destruction of their ambitions. Convinced that the liberation movement could only have meaning in the context of armed struggle, and that ZANU’s Military Wing was in fact succeeding, they were not prepared to sacrifice all this in a large entity where their identity would be lost; their own ambitions would go over-board, and others would step in to reap that for which they had not toiled. This was not to be, and so the struggle continued even after the signing of the Unity Accord and waxed strong.

Stay tuned for next Friday’s installment – Chapter 4 – The Nhari Rebellion.

Source: Special Commission on the Assassination of Hebert Wiltshire Chitepo, published in Lusaka in March 1976 by the government of Zambia.

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