Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist)

Documents of the Fifth Consultative Conference of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) Nov. 11-13, 1977

Speech of the External Secretary of the Zimbabwe African National Union To the Closing Rally of the Fifth Consultative Conference of CPC(M-L), November 13, 1977, Montreal



Comrade Chairman, Comrades and Friends,

I feel very much honoured to be given this opportunity to deliver a message of solidarity to the 5th Consultative Conference of CPC(M-L) from the Central Committee of ZANU and from the fighting forces of ZANU. We of ZANU very much appreciate the solidarity and the relationship which have existed between the two parties for quite a long time. On top of that, we very much appreciate the stand taken by the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist). It fights its struggle in the midst of international capitalism. It has upheld the international struggle and it has upheld the banner of the international proletariat. It is very rare that a communist party grows strong in such a capitalist country and that it goes on to maintain and fulfil its internationalist duty. I should say here that ZANU, amongst other parties you have been helping, has been most fortunate that your Party has stood by our side in times of trouble, in times when we score victories. The victories which we score are only possible because you assist us. The revolution which we are fighting is your revolution. You are assisting us by carrying the revolution here in the midst of the capitalists. The job you do here only weakens the enemy all over the world, and that means hastening the defeat of international capitalism and imperialism, the arch-enemy of the proletarian community.

Comrade Chairman, Comrades and Friends,

I am sure that most of you are aware of our struggle, the historical background of our struggle. It is not a new thing to you. You have been contributing to it and you know what it stands for. ZANU was born to carry out the revolution. ZANU adopted a motto that We Are Our Own Liberators! We realized that if we had gone on with the reformist parties, hoping that the British or other imperialists would then liberate us, we would not have got to the stage where we are today. It is not that we have accomplished the job that we have set for ourselves, but the way is being paved. And we feel that with that motto and with the assistance of all those organizations and parties which are progressive, we shall achieve our goal.

Comrade Chairman, the armed struggle in Zimbabwe is being waged. It has achieved the momentum. We started in 1966, using modern weapons. But at that time, it was not very effective. The enemy, Ian Smith, never wanted the world to know that there was a struggle going on. But after we had examined our position and our struggle, the failures and the successes which we had achieved, we realized that we had to mend our ways of carrying out the struggle, and 1969 to 1972 were years in which we concentrated on adopting new measures of carrying out armed struggle, of effecting the revolution. And we realized that we had lacked one thing. We had not paid more attention to the masses. We were saying that we were carrying the struggle for the liberation of the masses, but yet we were not working with them. After we had provided military instruction to our cadres, we also paid more attention to political mobilization so that any military cadre who gets into the country to fight is well equipped politically. That is the best weapon he holds. Getting amongst the masses, mobilizing them, telling them who is the cause of their suffering, making them understand what they are suffering from - this has helped us a great deal. Today we are operating amongst the people. We are carrying out the people’s war, and the people themselves have taken to arms. The people are providing the shelter for the fighters. The people are providing food. The people direct us to where the enemies hide. And it is only because of operating together with the masses that we are being successful.

In 1972, Ian Smith admitted that our presence was felt. And the war went on, up to 1974, when the imperialists devised their method of destroying the armed struggle. They felt their economy, their system of government was in danger, and they felt they had to rescue the white settler. Not only the white settler. What they are more concerned with is to maintain the economy, the investment of multinational companies who are terrorizing the people all over the world, and these are found in southern Rhodesia, to be Zimbabwe. These are found in South Africa. They are found in Namibia. They are found even in some of the independent African states. The people of Africa are today trying to liberate themselves politically and economically from these oppressors. It is through the economic means that the oppressors are able to oppress the people all over the world. And if we would be able to shake them, then many countries would be liberated.

This is only possible when we all are guided by Marxism-Leninism. As Chairman Mao said, if you are carrying out a revolution, you have got to have a revolutionary party which is guided with an ideology, which knows what it does. If we are not guided by that, then we cannot achieve our goals. ZANU, despite the fact that it is still fighting the national democratic struggle, is guided by Marxism-Leninism because without that we will not be able to beat international capitalism, colonialism, imperialism or even neo-colonialism.

Now the armed struggle has been intensified. We are operating all over the country, and not as the enemy says, that we are only operating on the border. This is not true. We are operating on the borders and in the interior of the country where he has felt our presence. We have covered almost two-thirds of the country. (applause)

We have stretched the enemy’s forces. By stretching them, we have been able to make them weak. And because of this weakness, we have been effective against them by directing our forces against the enemy’s economy and against his bases. He has decided to hunt us, the masses; to hunt us, the people in the countryside, where we are operating from, where most of the masses are found. When he gets to any village where he suspects that there are freedom fighters, he gets there after the freedom fighters have left. Then he harasses the people, arrests them, he restricts them, he takes them to the so-called “protected villages”. These are large villages, large areas which are fenced at times with electrified fences. This is in the style of the hamlets which were found in Vietnam, which was applied by the Americans. They are also applying the same tactic. Because of our being effective the enemy has turned to depend on mercenaries who are recruited from all over the world, even from Canada. And I ask you comrades, that it is your duty to see that the citizens of Canada are not recruited to come and massacre the Zimbabweans. And I think that you have got to fight this in any method you possibly can. And in this will be a part of your contribution to the Zimbabwean liberation. (applause)

Comrades, you have heard that the enemy attacks the neighbouring states, particularly Mozambique. Since June, the enemy has made many attacks under the pretext that he is in hot pursuit of the freedom fighters. And he says he is attacking the camps of the freedom fighters. This is not true, because we are found right inside the country. He leaves us in the country and goes to attack Mozambique. And the enemy does this for the following reasons: 1) he would like to intimidate the People’s Republic of Mozambique so that Mozambique should not continue to support the liberation struggle; 2) he attacks Mozambique in order to have an opportunity to provoke Mozambique to attack Rhodesia and then to have an opportunity of inviting his allies, the Americans, the British, and internationalize the war; 3) he does so, to create some conflict between the People’s Republic of Mozambique and the liberation movement of ZANU. But the people of Mozambique are aware of the tactics of the imperialists. They have resisted this. And they have defended heroically their borders. And we are certain Mozambique will continue to stand with us in the war which we are fighting.

Having said this, I should also point out that because of the tortures and harassment which are applied by the enemy to the masses, to the schoolchildren, many have left the country to swell the forces of liberation. Many have become freedom fighters. Others are refugees in Mozambique. And those who are refugees number more than 45,000 and they are the responsibility of ZANU. The clothes you have been raising for us, the medicines and the many other material aids you have been affording us go to assist these people and they also go to assist the armed struggle.


After we tried every possible avenue to recover our long-lost dignity in vain, we finally resolved that the present antagonistic contradiction could only be carried through a hard and difficult struggle. Without a shadow of doubt, ZANU has been winning and is winning the war. There is not a shadow of doubt that we are right on top. The map of Rhodesia does indeed look “bad”. It shows the freedom fighters in clashes not only along the seven-hundred mile eastern border with Mozambique, but also all over the country. So far, signs are glaringly clear that the Rhodesian economy is on the edge of collapse. It is easy to identify the alarm signals: the widespread disruption of the rural population, a sharp decline of export and real income, reduced living standard, emigration and the attenuation of manpower. Although there are no declines of Rhodesia’s foreign exchange position, evidence has it that this is being underwritten by South Africa, without which Smith could not go on for a day. As confidence begins to slide on the part of Smith’s supporters, its most drastic effect registers in the severe decline in manpower. As a matter of fact, the demand of one so-called “invisible” fascist military machine has now reached a ceiling beyond which further recruitment would damage the economy beyond recovery.

As our freedom fighters begin to win victory after victory, the western fortune seekers begin to hedge, to sabotage our imminent independence. The western nations support fascist Rhodesia to the hilt. The NSM 39 Memo came into the picture with the idea of sabotaging the attainment of our independence through armed organized struggle. The Byrd Amendment, which violated the UN resolution became the order of the day. In addition, there was a relaxation of the ban of arms to the fascist regimes in southern Africa. South Africa became a new tentacle in the nuclear arsenal, not only to guide the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf states, but also to keep a tight grip on the fortunes of dominated southern Africa. Any weapons which go to South Africa are also intended for southern Rhodesia. Whoever trades with South Africa is directly trading with southern Rhodesia.

At this time in the history of the development of our struggle, we notice that American involvement might signify that international strong-arm measures were about to be used to confuse our situation. The Kissinger-Geneva conference collapsed and they got a replacement in the Owen plan. The Owen plan contains the dangerous seeds of the British Vietnam, or the now Anglo-American Vietnam. This is because the Owen plan has three interdependent components. The first is a constitutional agreement, purporting to respect the democratic adage of “one man, one vote”. The second is the arrangement to form the Zimbabwe Development Fund. The final, and the most important, is the mechanism of transferring power from the fascist settlers to the people of Zimbabwe, particularly since Britain has ruled out any form of military involvement.

In other words, this Anglo-American plan which envisages the independence of Zimbabwe in 1978 is built on eight principles: a) an assumption of the surrender of power by the illegal regime of Ian Smith; b) an assumption of an orderly and peaceful transition to independence in the course of 1978; c) a free and impartial election on the basis of one man, one vote; d) the establishment of the colonial model of a transitional administrator who would conduct and supervise elections; e) UN presence, a UN peacekeeping force to supervise the transition; f) an independent constitution guaranteeing democratically elected government; g) a bill of rights guaranteeing the abolition of discrimination, the protection of individual human rights and the independence of the judiciary; h)a development fund to revive the economy. Perhaps we should stop here and analyze the implications of each one of these proposals. The Anglo-American plan has been accepted by the Ian Smith regime as the basis of negotiations.

ZANU sees serious limitations in this proposal. The surrender of power by Smith smells of the recolonization of Zimbabwe. In the past, the British abdicated their responsibility over Zimbabwe for lack of power. We begin to smell a rat. The colonization of Zimbabwe was in the first place a one-man affair, headed by the British government. Now a new one-man affair has also been reintroduced, but now with more support than that of weakened British imperialism. The Americans are also going to participate in this.

One requirement, as expounded by Dr. Owen, is that Britain was not likely to enact necessary transitional arrangements until the hot war between the settler forces and the ZANU forces had been stopped. But how can there be a ceasefire on the part of ZANU before the nature of the force maintaining internal security during the six-month transitional period has been clearly spelled out? Who is going to hold the guns in the transitional period? The British have disassociated themselves from the possibility of dismantling the Ian Smith security forces. The freedom fighters have to put down their guns according to the British proposal. The brutal and colonial Rhodesian police would have been given a free hand in practising their brutal acts under an equally brutal and tyrannical British colonialist. This is supposed to be what we have been for years fighting for.

As far as the role of the UN representative and the UN peacekeeping force to supervise the elections and the ceasefire and to support the civil power and the liaison of existing forces, this calls for complete surrender on our part and is therefore unacceptable. The record of the U N in areas of health and food is excellent, but the same cannot be said about it in its peacekeeping assignments. Our memories are still too fresh with their activities in the Congo. In fact, why would a so-called peaceful world body be dragged in on the side of the colonial power in order to help it further entrench its waning authority?

The principles upon which the appointment of Lord Carver is made is equally false. Their principle of neutral policing up to elections is to say the least very unsound. It neutralizes ZANU in favour of the so-called neutral forces. By what height of imagination can one conclude that Lord Carver is neutral? In the case of the UN representative, his role will be passive rather than active. The alternative being the worsening of the situation.

Similarly, we cannot see a British marshall being entrusted with building a future Zimbabwe military force. Would it be answerable to Zimbabwe or to Britain? The fact of the matter is that enlistment into this puppet army would be strictly monitored by the politicians who accept the settlement proposals. If ZANU stays out, then its army would vanish forever. And besides, why would freedom fighters be required to enlist as individuals rather than as units loyal to ZANU? In the first place, why would the people’s army be made to lay down its arms as a condition for acquiring true independence, when at the same time, it is the same forces that have made possible the fulfilment of that Zimbabwe dream, the attainment of complete autonomy over our own affairs?

In addition to the ceasefire, it is hoped that the negotiations will produce a date for Ian Smith’s voluntary resignation and the handover of power to the British resident commissioner. Sanctions would then be lifted, and yet Smith is notoriously known for prevarications and procrastinations. If ZANU were to see the plan as potential basis of negotiations (ZANU does not see the proposals as a potential basis of negotiations), with whom would ZANU be expected to negotiate under these proposals? These negotiations are only meant to buy time. We of ZANU feel it would be treacherous to accept a ceasefire and to spend much time in negotiations, because this would be a betrayal of what the people have been fighting for for years. Then the only alternative is to intensify the armed struggle and this is the only assurance for the future of Zimbabwe.

Maybe we should spend a few moments examining constitutional provisions in the plan. There would be a conference to develop a constitution during the transitional period. There would be adult suffrage to elect a unicameral assembly of one hundred constituencies, and a new election by the elected members of the assembly of a quarter of the national assembly, those who would be representing a minority population. There will be a president and a vice-president. In addition, there would be provisions for a judicial bill of rightsand independent judiciary, a publicservice, citizenship and finance, which are all spelled out in great detail, again containing serious limitations and which try to tie the future government of Zimbabwe for eight long years to a life of two parliaments. And this would mean that during that period, the new Zimbabwe government would not be allowed to alter the constitution. And if the government would try to acquire land for those who do not have land, then the person who has been privileged to own the land has the right to sue the government. And because of that, there would not be any transformation of the society and the economic system would be maintained as it is. Now in that nature we feel the revolution which we are carrying out shall not have achieved what it is intended to.

One point which we do not agree with in the proposal is the powers concentrated in the resident commissioner. One man is given to be a sole legislator, to be the administrator, to be the commander of the armed forces, to be in charge of the civil service, to be everything during the six months. And the people of Zimbabwe and ZANU and all other people who would like to see a truly independent Zimbabwe would only be expected to participate in elections, elections which would be conducted on the present laws, present existing fascist laws. Besides that, the resident commissioner is going to inherit all the government institutions of Ian Smith, which means we are expected to be living under the same conditions which we have been fighting against for years. We felt that this cannot be acceptable to ZANU and its forces and the masses of Zimbabwe. Besides that, we find that a resident commissioner will be just as good as Ian Smith. He will be representing the same colonial power which Ian Smith is representing at the moment. He will also be representing the capitalist system. Now our intention is not to remove one imperialist and replace it with another, but to replace it with the people’s government.

Comrades, we feel we cannot also accept that the present judges should remain in the courts, the very people who are sentencing our people to the gallows, who are sentencing us to death as terrorists, when in actual fact they are the people who are terrorizing the people of Zimbabwe. How can they be trusted to carry out justice during the six months?

Comrades, we find that the proposed Zimbabwe Development Fund is dangerous and we are very suspicious that the Americans or the imperialists as a whole are prepared to contribute to an unborn nation or to provide a loan of $1.5 billion. We don’t think that they are being generous to the people of Zimbabwe. The Americans intend to provide 40 per cent of the total amount. Yet, yesterday and today they are the people who have been assisting the illegal regime. They are the people who have violated the economic-sanctions applied by the United Nations. What trust are we supposed to have in the manoeuvres of the imperialists? Are we going to accept such a loan which intends to create a puppet government in Zimbabwe? Are we supposed to take a loan which is going to tie us down to apply an economic system which is favorable to the western powers or to international capitalism when we have been fighting to destroy international capitalism? This we are aware of. We are aware of their intentions. Their intention is to subject the people of Zimbabwe to perpetual neo-colonialism. As you know comrades, neo-colonialism is more dangerous than colonialism. Colonialism can be identified by anybody, but neo-colonialism has a subtle way of penetrating through. Therefore we cannot accept this.

Comrades, we feel it is an insult for the British government and the American administration to say ZANU or the revolutionary forces of Zimbabwe have been fighting to bring about legality, or have been fighting against illegality. We have been fighting against colonialism. We were fighting to bring about true independence in Zimbabwe. Therefore for the British to say we were fighting to help them to bring about legality is just absurd. And for the British to say when transitional government comes about, that there should be amnesty to those who carried out rebellion and also amnesty to those we have resisted, this amnesty is just an insult to us, because we are not resisting UDI. We are fighting against colonialism.

Comrades, as far as we have judged the proposals, the conclusion we have come to is that we have got to intensify the armed struggle. (applause) There is no other way we can destroy imperialism, fascism, capitalism in Zimbabwe besides applying armed struggle. The forces of revolution are therefore left with no other alternative but to carry the revolution through to the end. ZANU has given itself to this, and the struggle will achieve what we intend it to achieve, what the international proletariat expects it to achieve.

I should assure you comrades that the aid you are providing us with is being utilized in the right direction. Don’t listen to those who claim that our representative here is sending the clothes somewhere else where he will benefit as an individual, or that the money you contribute through him is not being forwarded to us. We have been receiving all you have contributed through our representative and he remains our representative here. We trust him. He is part of us. He is part of our struggle. (applause)

Comrades, before I end I would like to say a few words about the Patriotic Front. The Patriotic Front was formed first as a tactic to face the Geneva Conference which was held in 1976. We realized that if ZANU was to go and face the imperialists alone, then the’other forces from Zimbabwe would be outmanoeuvred and then ZANU would be left on its own. Then we agreed with ZAPU to form a Patriotic Front. The Patriotic Front is an alliance of two independent organizations which maintain their identity, which maintain their policies, that is ZANU and ZAPU.

One other reason why we decided that we have got to maintain the Patriotic Front is that it is necessary to unite the people of Zimbabwe, and it is necessary to unite our two armies. No independent state can afford to have more than one army. It would only cause chaos.

But the question of the Patriotic Front should be left to us. And when we have reached the position when we have meshed, we will inform you. If we fail we will let you know, but our intention is to bring the people of Zimbabwe together, to unite them. Those who would like to join the Patriotic Front can do so through the two organizations, through ZAPU or through ZANU. Anyone who tells you that the Patriotic Front is already one party is only cheating you. We are making efforts to see that we are united.

When you form a front, all that you do is to gather all the national democratic forces who are prepared to fight against the principal enemy. We felt it is a necessity to the people of Zimbabwe to unite in the Patriotic Front. We have tried to see whether our militant cadres are prepared to come to work together. Some of them really feel it is necessary to avoid civil war. And we also realize that in the long term it is necessary to be united. This is the view of ZANU.

ZANU at the moment feels that unity is essential to mobilize the people of Zimbabwe and that to have a Front is necessary. But at the same time, we strongly believe that the Front should have a purpose. It should have a common ideological stand. If we cannot achieve this then there is no need deceiving ourselves by saying: We have a Front. Not when it is a useless body.

At the moment the Patriotic Front is mostly organized at the high level, at the level of a co-ordinating committee. The whole intention is that anyone who wants to join the Patriotic Front will have to do so through ZANU or ZAPU who united to form the Zimbabwe People’s Army (ZIPA). While ZANU and ZAPU have their differences, they do agree on the armed struggle.