African Exile Armies: ZANLA, ZIPRA and the Politics of Disunity
Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA) and Zimbabwe Peoples Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) comprised the official military wings of the two main parties opposed to the white supremacist Rhodesian Front regime led by Prime Minister Ian Smith. Smith’s government had consistently refused to accept the principle of black majority rule and, under British and international pressure, had finally rebelled against British rule in November 1965.2 ZANLA was attached to the political party ZANU (Zimbabwe African National Union) ultimately led by Robert Mugabe, and ZIPRA comprised the military wing of the Joshua Nkomo’s ZAPU party (Zimbabwe African Peoples Union). Both movements fought a protracted nearly 15 year bush war against the Rhodesian Security Forces drawing support largely from the adjacent African host countries of Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania, Botswana and Angola (commonly referred to as the Front Line States).3 They also received limited support from two other African liberation groups the African National Congress (ANC) and Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO).
KeywordsHost State African National Congress National Liberation Military Culture Factional Rivalry
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