The Sunday Mail
Cde Munyaradzi Machacha
Emilio Munemo, Comrade Revolution, the Brigadier-General is no more.
Indeed the Chitepo School of Ideology, the Munemo family and the entire nation of Zimbabwe are in deep mourning.
The nation has lost a gallant son and true revolutionary; the family has lost a son, a brother, a father, a son-in-law, a father-in-law, an uncle and a pillar of support.
At Chitepo School of Ideology, we have lost a rare cadre of immense discipline, a teacher of outstanding ability, a worker of uncommon mental and physical stamina; and a scholar of incisive intellectual power.
He was more than that. He was a brother, a friend and a true revolutionary comrade. Words alone fall short in describing our national hero, Brig-Gen Munemo.
Inspired by a deep sense of social justice and having experienced the brutality, dispossession and deprivation perpetrated by the Rhodesian colonial regime, Brig-Gen Emilio had joined the liberation war at a tender age.
His outstanding intellectual qualities had been noticed very early in the rear bases and he had been given the assignment to join the teaching department of ZANLA, where he taught cadres and school children, both academic and ideological-political lessons.
He was well known for developing teaching methods that put everything into the socio-economic context of the Rhodesian crisis and the liberation war.
Like all other freedom fighters from ZIPRA and ZANLA, Comrade Revolution returned home to Zimbabwe in 1980 after the liberation war had ended.
He was attested into the Zimbabwe National Army where he was assigned a number of responsibilities and excelled to rise up the ranks.
These assignments culminated in him being tasked to operationalise the concept of Civil-Military Relations, a doctrine based on the tried and tested liberation war time philosophy of the Fish and Water relationship between the freedom fighters and the civilian population.
That is how he became instrumental in the establishment of the Civil-Military Relations Department in the Zimbabwe National Army.
Through the work of that Department, the reputation of the Zimbabwe National Army, in International Peace-Keeping Missions, grew to become an exemplary peace-keeper.
The policies pursued by the revolutionary Zanu-PF Government since Independence had always been viewed, by the West, as a threat to their economic interests built on colonial foundations. By the mid-nineties Western countries including the United States were already devising ways to remove Zanu-PF from power and replace it with a political outfit that would carry out its bidding. In February 2000 the Zanu-PF Government made that fundamental decision to repossess indigenous farmland that had forcibly been taken through colonial conquest.
In response, former colonial powers — led by the United Kingdom and supported by the United States — decided to provide massive funding and technical assistance to the counter revolutionary forces they had created in Zimbabwe in order to remove Zanu-PF from power.
As a consequence, ZANU-PF nearly lost the Parliamentary Election held in June 2000. That near-loss shook the Party to the core leading to many members to begin doubting their own Party, its philosophy and leadership.
Many had begun to think that it was time to throw in the towel and surrender; even to follow what looked like the new direction of the wind.
It was not so with Comrade Revolution. To him and a number of his comrades, this was the time to rise and defend the revolution.
This was the time to provide revolutionary leadership; to make other members of the Party understand the true nature of imperialism and its motives; how it works to keep other nations under its control in order to maintain its exploitative grip and how revolutionary political parties must prepare themselves to defend the people’s freedom and independence.
So when it became clear that imperialist countries were determined to involve themselves in the politics of Zimbabwe with a view to launch a counter revolution, Cde Revolution started networking with other comrades; the likes of Cde Dickson Dzora, the late Air Commodore Mike Karakadzai, the late Comrade France Bonzo, Cde Austin Chirisa and others to figure out how to respond to the developing threat.
They formed themselves into a team that started working with the Commissariat Department on a part-time basis under the late Political Commissar, Cde Border Gezi and the then Director of the Commissariat, Comrade Mabel Chinomona.
Their answer to the looming threat was to develop an educational program that would make members of the ruling party understand the true nature of imperialism and its motives; how it works to keep other nations under its control and how revolutionary parties must prepare themselves in readiness to defend the gains of their liberation.
That is how the rebirth of Chitepo School of Ideology in independent Zimbabwe was conceived and Brig-Gen Emilio Munemo was at the centre of that revolutionary move.
Comrade Revolution had always been keenly aware of the need to have a critical mass of ideologically clear cadres of the Party; cadres who would occupy critical pillars of the new state of Zimbabwe; cadres upon whom the nation would depend when subjected to external and internal threats.
It is because of that ideological clarity that even before the creation of the counter-revolutionary opposition forces, Comrade Revolution had initiated the establishment of the Civil-Military Relations Department in the Defence Forces where members were made to understand what it was they were defending, why and what was expected of them when national interests were at stake.
And indeed Chitepo Ideological College was to be founded with teaching materials from the Civil-Military Department under the leadership of Brig-Gen Emilio Munemo.
Even today the anchor subjects and content taught at Chitepo College are the same as were developed by Cde Munemo’s team.
In June 2001 the Commissariat Department started a program of political mobilisation anchored on four core subjects: National and Party History that included Party Ideology; Party Achievements and Future Plans; Topical Issues and Communication Strategies and Tactics in that order.
Cde Revolution took the first. That was the beginning of a school of Ideology without walls.
By the time the nation held the 2002 Presidential Elections, Zanu-PF had fully recovered from the June 2000 shock, its membership had become fully confident that no matter how sophisticated the enemy machinery might be, a revolutionary party that understands the nature of imperialism can never be defeated.
Indeed Zanu-PF not only won the presidential election of 2002, but also got two-thirds majority in the Parliamentary elections of 2005.
This was all possible because of the immense contribution of Brig-Gen Munemo towards the ideological education of the nation.
Cde Revolution never rested his revolutionary fight in defending the interests of the people through the people’s party. When the formal establishment of the Chitepo School of Ideology finally commenced, he was heavily involved in the development of the Concept Paper, Founding Principles and the Charter of the school.
Cde Munemo continued to lecture at Chitepo College and also participated in its activities in spite of ill-health for many years until his passing on.
He never wavered from that which was at the heart of his soul, like his Chimurenga name says, the revolution.
Cde Revolution may no longer be amongst us but his energy, his teachings and his revolutionary comradeship will live with us forever.
May his soul rest in eternal peace.
Cde Munyaradzi Machacha is a Zanu-PF Politburo member and principal of the Herbert Chitepo School of Ideology. He wrote this obituary for The Sunday Mail.