Hebert Chitepo Right

ZIMSEC O Level History Notes: The Struggle for Independence in Colonial Zimbabwe 1900-1980: Assassination of Hebert Chitepo 18 March 1975

  • The assassination of Chitepo saw crisis rocking ZANU as there were leadership struggles
  • Chitepo was a lawyer by profession and very intelligent and was a dedicated nationalist who facilitated the supporting relationship of ZANU from Tanzania
  • He moved to Zambia after the 1966 Sinoia Battle so that he would assume the coordination and organization of the liberation struggle
  • He was killed by a petrol bomb which exploded at his home in Zambia
  • His death was followed by massive arrests of the Karangas in Dare and those with high posts in ZANU
  • The Zambian government argued that Chitepo’s death was because of tribalism as the Karanga were trying to take power from the Manyika
  • The Karangas who included Tongogara were arrested and detained in Zambian prisons for 20 months over the death of Chitepo
  • An inquiry was done by an International Commission as to the cause of the death but it could not find anything but managed to clear Zambia’s name
  • However the Zambian involvement was not totally ruled out as had been a stumbling block to the détente (an agreement ) between settlers and nationalists across Africa
  • ZANU faced a leadership crisis after the death of Chitepo and the discrediting of Sithole
  • Robert Mugabe was later declared its leader at Que Que prison

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