Wednesday, August 04, 2010

(STICKY) (TALKZIMBABWE) General Walls will not be missed

General Walls will not be missed
By: By Nancy Nyamhunga
Posted: Tuesday, August 3, 2010 8:23 pm

BELOW is my response to General Peter Walls orbituary published in the Telegraph on the 27th of July, 2010. He died on July 20 this year. Gen. Walls was the Commander of the Combined Operations Headquarters of the Military of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) from 1977 until his retirement on 29 July 1980 during the guerilla war. In his latter years, he was in self-imposed exile in South Africa.

I have selected few passages that I felt deserved some comments. My comments are not italised.

STATEMENT: “Walls continued to shine, and in 1964 assumed command of the 1st Battalion, the Rhodesian Light Infantry (RLI), a unit of tough young professional soldiers which was to become famous in the bush war. He was the ideal commander for "troopies", as the soldiers of the RLI were known. When the first tentative incursions were made by nationalist guerrillas crossing from Zambia, the RLI went into action with swift success.”

COMMENT: Swift success, really? Butchering the guerrillas for daring to re-claim their land. How about respect of property rights? The land that Walls' family forcibly took away from my grandparents, the many cattle, chickens, goats, sheep.

“Walls was quick to realise that UDI would mean an intensification of the guerrilla war from neighbouring countries, specifically from Zambia and Botswana by Joshua Nkomo's largely Matabele ZIPRA, and from Tanzania and Mozambique by Zanla, drawn from the majority Shona people. He put his troops on full counter-insurgency readiness.”

Walls and the white settlers were the insurgency – the guerrillas were on a misson to counter the insurgency.

“He knew from his Malayan experience that a key element in any anti-guerrilla war strategy would be the gathering of intelligence from within the enemy ranks. He summoned his old friend and colleague from the Malayan emergency and the RLI, Ron Reid-Daly, and asked him to form the Selous Scouts, a unit that ostensibly would be for tracking but would operate clandestinely behind and within guerrilla ranks.”

Indeed, we know the Selous Scouts were instrumental in the massacre of thousands of our sons and daughters who lie in unmarked graves in Nyadzonya, Chimoio and many other places. No need to remind us.

“Efficient and experienced as they were, the Rhodesian forces knew that sooner or later they would be overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of the nationalists, backed by a world which perceived them to be gallant freedom fighters opposed to an oppressive white supremacist regime.”

Our nationalists, dead or alive, were and still are GALLANT FREEDOM FIGHTERS. No need to use the word “perceived”. They gave us, we the black people of Africa, 'One Person One Vote'. Personally, they gave me the opportunity to attend my secondary school at a former “whites only” school.

My grandfather who worked half his life for the Meikles empire, was not allowed to walk on the pavements, lest he rubbed shoulders with the white 'boss and madam'. He had to walk on the dangerous roads. My father, a postman for most of his entire working life, rode his bike on dangerous roads. On several occasions he had dogs set on him by white children, and whilst he struggled to free his trousers that would have been caught by the dog, the children poked fun at him. Even when he sustained injuries from the dog bite, he was not entitled to any compensation. In short, he was treated like an animal, so were most if not all black Zimbabweans.

Our nationalists led a Movement for Social Change. So far they have succeeded to got political independence. We are currently fighting an economic war. We have succeeded in taking back our land, and we have been punished with economic sanctions. The Movement for Social Change cannot be stopped with or without sanctions, we will shoulder on.

“Walls was made head of Joint Operations Command (JOC) in 1977 and, as Rhodesia desperately tried to bolster its numbers, assumed command of more than 45,000 men.”

Head of Joint Operations Command (JOC) in 1977 – really? Why isn't he being referred to the Hague for the atrocities he committed? Why was Smith's inner circle not referred to as a “millitary junta”? Is it because they were white? So it is only black commanders who turn into “juntas”? What hypocrisy!

“For a time, Rhodesian special forces attempted to take and hold key areas of Mozambique to halt the unceasing flow of guerrillas into Rhodesia.”

Right, in other words, this military junta was trying to invade Mozambique? For what? Trying to stop an idea of a people trying to liberate themselves from the clutches of oppression, segregation and colonialism?

“Ian Smith and his Rhodesian Front party also realised that their only hope of survival rested in political negotiations. With Margaret Thatcher in power in Britain, anxious to rid herself of "this tiresome Rhodesian problem", Smith sought British mediation in the hope of political salvation.”

So it was about them, their survival and salvation but not about African independence?

“Contingency plans for the elections which resulted from the Lancaster House agreement were drawn up by the military in consultation with the Lord Soames. The hope was that Bishop Muzorewa, the moderate Shona politician who had surprisingly won a previous election, would be able to hold Mashonaland while Joshua Nkomo, the moderate leader of the Matabele people, would comfortably hold his homeland in the west of the country.

The officially-approved safety net beneath this hastily-arranged scheme was that Robert Mugabe would be "eliminated" should he win the election. But the contingency plan was never implemented in the confusion that arose after Mugabe's ZANU party swept the board with a convincing majority.”

Interesting. So they wanted to divide Zimbabwe on tribal lines, and break it into two. And Robert Mugabe was supposed to be eliminated if he won? Does this tell us something about the disturbances that happened soon after independence? And more importantly, can we read something into the Mavambo/Kusile project, or the devolution proposals?

“As Mugabe's guerrillas rode through the streets of the capital brandishing their weapons, Walls became a main target for the blame. The beleaguered general decided that the best option was to opt immediately to serve the Mugabe regime by organising the amalgamation of the rival armies, believing this would offer the best future for the many thousands of professional officers and men who had fought for him for so long and with much sacrifice.”

So it was not about accepting reconciliation, but more to do with securing the future well –being of those who fought hard to deny us our dignity, our heritage and our land.

To be overly polite Mr Walls, we, Zimbabweans will not miss you.

Nancy Nyamhunga writes from Leicester, United Kingdom.

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At 4:10 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Nancy,
"General Walls will not be missed". How blindfolded are you. He was a much bigger and better man than the moron that is in there at the moment. I bet you voted for Mugabe - a moron who has killed more of his own people than any security force could ever dream off.

At 11:53 AM , Blogger Acorn said...

Dear Ms Nyamhunga
If Zimbabwe is such a brilliant place to live and Mugabe is the 'saviour' of your people (except the 20 000 Ndebele he had massacred by Rex Nhongo and the Fifth Brigade) why are you living in Leicester. Or perhaps you have come to like the tolerant and easy going attitude of white people in UK? Surely you should contribute to the building of Zimbabwe by returning to your homeland - you can join the bread and petrol queues and tell everyone queueing with you how lucky they are.

At 4:23 PM , Blogger MrK said...

If Zimbabwe is such a brilliant place to live and Mugabe is the 'saviour' of your people (except the 20 000 Ndebele he had massacred by Rex Nhongo and the Fifth Brigade) why are you living in Leicester.

Economic sanctions? You know, the ones the MDC, UK and US government's don't have the guts to admit exist?

You sort of didn't mention those. They are however what destroyed the Zimbabwean currency and trade surplus in the year 2002, the year they were introduced.

Now if you want to have an honest debate, I am more than willing to engage in one. However, if you want to pretend there are no economic sanctions, or admit their devastating effect, or want to pretend that life was wonderful in Rhodesiana, then you have something else coming.

If rhodesia was such a wonderful place, how can you explain the rise of armed resistance against it, including in Matabeleland?

You MDC types are very keen on 'blaming Mugabe', but you are not very keen on any kind of self examination.

At 4:42 PM , Blogger MrK said...

And by the way, economic sanctions killed an estimated 500,000 children in Iraq. What makes you think their effect would be more benevolent in Zimbabwe?

The truth is that the MDC has a lot to answer for. They helped to draw up those sanctions, in order to make them more damaging to the Zimbabwean people.

In the words of Reagan functionary on Africa Chester Crocker to the ZDERA commission: "To separate the people of Zimbabwe from the ZANU-PF, we will have to make their economy scream. And I hope you Senators have the stomach for what you have to do."

That is the origin of misery in Zimbabwe, not land reform in the year 2000, which never even dented not only the trade surplus (which rose from 2000 to 2001), but didn't even dent tobacco exports, which also rose from 2000 to 2001.

Only ZDERA coming into force in 2002 explains the crash of the Zimbabwean currency (it fell more in 2002 than in the 5 years previously) and the turning of the $322 million trade surplus of 2001 into an $18 million trade deficit in 2002.

What did the MDC's Eddie Cross say? It is better to let Zimbabwe 'crash and burn' so we can pick up the pieces.

That is your MDC.


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