Updated: Aug 13
You should always be prepared to truly consider evidence that contradicts your beliefs, and admit the possibility that you may be wrong. Intelligence isn’t knowing everything. It’s the ability to challenge everything you know. (Anonymous- America Forgotten)
For many years, I contemplated documenting the diaries I kept while operational in Hurungwe Tribal Trust Land, but never did it. With the appearance of some memoirs containing questionable accounts about events in Hurungwe, I felt compelled to set the record straight. "The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbour comes and examines him" (Proverbs 18:17). Veritatem dias aperit. My training and experience in both the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and Special Branch (SB) were of significant benefit.
The duties of a CID officer included the investigation of serious and complicated crimes. All evidence relating to the crime was gathered in order to establish the modus operandi and events prior to, during and after the criminal act. This included evidence from the crime scene, forensics and statements from victims and witnesses. Once the perpetrator was identified every effort was made to arrest the offender. Warned and cautioned statements, charge sheets and all evidence were forwarded to the public prosecutor to ensure a reasoned decision was taken about the prosecution of the offender(s). The process required the officer to remain open minded, void of prejudice and personal agenda.
Primarily, the Special Branch officer gathered intelligence relating to government opponents and extremist political activity including terrorism and subversion. Broadly speaking, in the war theatre intelligence was gathered to identify insurgents and their strategies, tactics and intelligence operations in order to locate and eliminate or capture them. In the process information regarding those who supported them was also sought. SB used various strategies to achieve these objectives. Our operations in the battle for Hurungwe were unique.
My approach to my book, Battle For Hurungwe, followed these CID and SB guidelines. Where possible three sources are quoted and referenced in order to verify incidents, thereby using the method of triangulation. As much evidence as possible was gathered. Substantial national and international political information was researched in order to give the reader a broad understanding of the issues of the day. Often authors and journalists make assumptions and jump to conclusions based on one thread of "evidence" that suits their prejudice and/or agenda. Preferably, they should investigate and present a broad based picture drawn from both sides of the argument or conflict without prejudice to either side. This is true investigative journalism and authorship.
I started the Special Branch Sub.JOC Rusape Duty Roster on 16 November 1976. The late Supt. Sloman kept the duty roster after leaving Rhodesia and passed it on to the late D/S/O Cutting. Bev Cutting handed it on to me after Pete's untimely passing. The duty roster proved vital in authenticating (triangulation of) evidence throughout the book. For example, I could confirm that I was on duty when involved in various operations. It was also possible to pinpoint dates when staff were transferred from Sub.JOC Rusape to the Hurungwe at my request.
Sub.JOC Rusape duty roster for March 1978. There were an additional 10 names on the following page. Left: Bev Cutting presents the duty roster to the author. Centre: work begins on the train. Right: D/S/O Cutting and the author.
Sub.JOC Rusape duty roster for March 1978. 10 more names appeared on the next page for March 1978. Note author confirmed on duty on 3 March 1978 for the Support Unit Fire Force deployment (pp 140-1).