Vusumuzi Dube, Online News Editor
ZANU-PF vice President and Second Secretary Cde Kembo Mohadi yesterday visited his former prison cell at the Khami Maximum prison on the outskirts of Bulawayo, where he went down memory lane, noting the cruel manner of the colonial government.
Cde Mohadi, whose prison number was 73/75 was jailed in 1975, after he was convicted of distributing arms in the then Rhodesia and was only released in March 1980 at the dawn of independence. Although the prison books say he was arrested in August 1975, Cde Mohadi revealed that he was actually arrested in May, after which he underwent three months long torture, where he was moved around the entire region before being eventually brought to Khami. He was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.
“I was actually meant to be hanged but I survived because the person who had sold me out after he had actually been caught with the arms in Gweru, was given a wholly suspended sentence of 10 years after he had convinced the Rhodesian forces that he was defecting to them.
My lawyers brought this to the Judge’s attention, which is how I then got the 15 year sentence instead, as the lawyers argued that we were both trained guerillas and we were facing the same crime,” said Cde Mohadi.
The ruling party’s Vice President, who walked around the prison cell, without much guidance, revealed that instead of taking a back seat after his imprisonment, he became very active where together with other guerillas trained fellow prisoners within the prison walls.
“I remember I was in charge of intelligence and information in the prison, we actually trained a lot of prisoners in guerilla warfare and politics.
There were friendly prison guards who we worked with who helped us a lot in our activities.
We would gather at a certain spot in the prison yard where we dug and hid our material, we would dig it out whenever we wanted it. It is the friendly prison guards that helped us get information into and out of the prison walls, I always had the information and the intelligence from the high command,” he said.
On his arrest, Cde Mohadi revealed that he had been severely tortured but never at one point did he leak information.
“I know every form of Rhodesian torture, during the three months which are not recorded, I never spent two days at any given police post, they took me to all stations in the city and when they had rounded all of them they moved me to other prisons in the Matabeleland region and all this time they would torture me, wanting information regarding the armed struggle.
As intelligence officers we were trained that if one is captured they should not say anything for at least the first two weeks, to give those on the ground time to move and restrategise. They tried every torture trick but I did not give in, these were some of the sacrifices we went through so as to liberate this nation,” he said.
Cde Mohadi said it was important for the young generation to be inculcated into realising such sacrifices that culminated in the country’s independence.