Members of Zimbabwe’s former guerrilla liberation armies, ZPRA and ZANLA met in Bulawayo, Friday, where they forged a partnership to promote peace across the country ahead of the 2023 elections.
This development was motivated by the need to break away from the past where war veterans were used to intimidate communities, especially during election seasons.
In an interview with CITE after meeting on Friday, a former member of the ZANLA High Command, Bernard Manyadza, whose nom de guerre was Parker Chipoyera, said this initiative was based on the founding values of ubuntu that resulted in the liberation struggle.
“The struggle was waged on ubuntu and this is a new beginning bringing together the former fighters for one reason, which is peace,” he said.
Chipoyera said historically, ZANLA and ZPRA had a joint military command for the liberation struggle, therefore it was fit that this effort continues into the future.
“The values that motivated us have literally been forgotten yet that must be the main thrust of this country, especially towards elections. There must be no bloodshed because of elections. Zimbabweans are afraid of the coming elections because they associate them with violence but we want a new chapter where elections are supposed to be times of jubilation,” he said.
“People must practise the ‘one man, one vote’ legacy that was fought and died for. This is why we will be spearheading this movement of peacebuilding.
The former ZANLA fighter said the veterans would be visiting every part of Zimbabwe, with this key message of peacebuilding.
“We want to destroy the myth that elections are about violence. The founding value of true independence is people are free to make their choice without looking over their shoulder that they are spied on,” Chipoyera noted.
ZANLA spokesperson of the new initiative with ZPRA, Frederick Ngombe whose no de guerre was Fandada waFandafa concurred that their mission was necessary.
“Rather than using the word former fighters, we just want to be liberators of this country. We have realised that not much is followed when it comes to our founding principles of the revolution. We just want to resuscitate that and make sure we no longer have bloodshed,” he said.
“That’s why we see the fighters – ZPRA and ZANLA reorganising coming together to make sure that the fundamental values of the revolution are kept.”
ZPRA Veterans Association Spokesperson Buster Magwizi added that promoting peace was a noble project in Zimbabwe.
“We want to be peacebuilders in Zimbabwe, to remove fear among people who for under 43 years have stress because of its governance system,” he said.
“We are coming together with people who were instrumental in the structuring of ZANLA at cradle. This means there shall be no violence in Zimbabwe, over the years the people who are renowned for instituting violence were the veterans. If it would be left to the government, maybe it would be in the military and police to conduct that violence but according to liberators there shall be no more violence.”
Magwizi said this reunion was a vital programme that should be disseminated widely.
“It is interesting that it comes from the comrades and makes a lot of impact in the world to tell everyone that there is a very vital programme that has been instituted. People’s eyes must be wide open to see the same objectives of the need to take Zimbabwe to prosperity,” he said.