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December 31, 1979

Telegram, From Salisbury, Priorite Secextern Pretoria, Funds Needed for Mawena

This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation






MY NO 306


Mawena of NFZ came to see me this morning and said that he desperately needed a further 18,000 Rhod. dol. Reason is that on Thursday he has to speak to Karanga group of Mugabe’s terrorist leaders who intend breaking away from Mugabe and that funds are lacking to make arrangements. He regards it as extremely important to get support from this group as they will then throw in their support against Mugabe.Their intention is to lay down arms and not to go to assembly points so that they can participate in election against Mugabe. As you know, Tongagara who was recently killed in an accident was a Karanga. Suspicion, however, is strong that he was liquidated by Mugabe and this suspicion can be exploited against Mugabe.


My impression is that if we do not urgently help Mawena his campaign might fall flat. That would be a pity, because Mawena could indeed play a role in lessening Mugabe’s support amongst Karanga. Funds that have already been given to Mawena have apparently been well spent.




10 JANUARY 1980


Dear Prime Minister


A member of our Mission in Salisbury recently discreetly met a few members of ZAPU. During the conversation the latter emphasized that it was a great lack that there existed no contact between them and us. They further expressed concern about South Africa’s “open” support of the Bishop and a gift of 300 cars was also mentioned in this respect. They wanted further information or confirmation about this, but the relevant member of the Mission said that he had no knowledge of this.


Later some of these representatives stated clearly that the lack of communication is actually between South Africa and Nkomo. One of them (Kophas Msipa) voiced the thought that a meeting between Nkomo and me should be considered. Our man only said that he would bring it to my attention.


Our Head of Mission pointed out that as ZAPU is now legal there can be nothing irregular in discreet contact with representatives of that party. We should also consider that Nkomo could still play a reasonably important role in Rhodesian politics, especially if he can gain a reasonable number of seats in the election.


My own feeling is that in the meantime we should indeed discreetly keep contact with ZAPU but that a meeting with Nkomo is too early. We first have to sit tight and wait to see which way the cat jumps, and in the meantime I have instructed Salisbury thus.


With kind regards


Yours faithfully




Mawena needs extra funding to convince Karanga people that could be used against Mugabe in upcoming election. Great opportunity to act now because suspicion exists that Mugabe is responsible for the killing of Tongagara, a Karanga.

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South African Archives, Department of Foreign Affairs, BTS 1/156/3 SADFA BTS1/156/3 VOL. 4. Included in "Southern Africa in the Cold War, Post-1974," edited by Sue Onslow and Anna-Mart Van Wyk.


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Leon Levy Foundation