Cde Changara: A generous and down-to-earth cadre
THE death of Senior Assistant Commissioner Winston Zindoga Museve Changara on March 27, 2006 at Parirenyatwa Hospital robbed the nation of a brave, hardworking, patriotic, revolutionary and loyal senior security officer. A freedom fighter and former Aide de Camp (ADC) to His Excellency President Robert Mugabe (see picture), Snr Asst Comm Changara – who was the Officer Commanding the Police Protection Unit (PPU) – died after a short illness. He was 52.
Cde Changara was born on July 17, 1954 to Elizabeth and Mabheka Muchembere Changara in the Changara Village under Chief Kandeya in Mount Darwin.
He was the fourth child in a family of 10.
He did primary education at Mangare and Tsengurwe primary schools and then moved to Mavhuradonha Secondary School in Mount Darwin for his post-primary schooling.
He did not complete his secondary school education as Mavhuradonha Secondary School was disrupted and later closed because of the escalating war of liberation.
The enemy forces descended on the school and the surrounding villages smarting from heavy casualties suffered in a previous skirmish with freedom fighters.
The villagers and school children, including Winston, were rounded up and severely assaulted.
So horrific was this indiscriminate attack and assault by the criminal colonial Rhodesian soldiers on the surprised and hapless villagers and school children that Winston, barely 16 years of age, made a decision to join the liberation struggle.
After the disturbance at the school, Winston linked up with a detachment of freedom fighters led by Cde Jokoringo (then MP for Muzarabani), and included Cdes Goho (in Dande), Zibwe, Nhari and Cephas (all late) and Cde Martin Ndlovu, now Assistant Commissioner Martin Kwainona and presently ADC to the President – at the border at Mukumbura and together they crossed the flooded Zambezi River into Tete Province in Mozambique.
At Kanyama Base, the group was met by the late General (Rtd) Vitalis Zvinavashe.
One of Cde Changara’s early assignments in the struggle was that of carrying material (guns, ammunition) to the front. The task required high levels of physical fitness and mental alertness to weave one’s way around the enemy with heavy loads.
Cde Changara was part of a section of 30 combatants that opened the Takawira Sector in Mutoko in 1976. He contributed immensely to the political orientation and mobilisation of the masses in the area and the recruitment of cadres for the war.
Cde Changara was in the thick of the first and legendary battle in Mutoko at the Haramba Mountains.
In one of the many battles in Mutoko, Winston was injured. He was withdrawn and taken to the rear in Mozambique for treatment. He, however, made a speedy recovery and was appointed base commander Tete.
Early in 1978, after the Tembwe attack, the late Winston was among the group that was sent to Yugoslavia by the party to undergo a security and intelligence course for two months.
After the course, he was assigned to go and work at the party offices in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He undertook close security duties to the then First Secretary and President of Zanu, Cde R. G. Mugabe.
He performed these duties from 1978 to the end of 1979.
The late Senior Assistant Commissioner Winston Changara was attested into the Police Force on March 1, 1980 as a Patrol Officer and attended a number of courses. He then transferred from Police- to the President’s Office (Central Intelligence Organisation under Branch 5) and attended courses dealing with the protection of VIPs.
In 1982, the late Senior Assistant Commissioner Winston Changara transferred back to the Zimbabwe Republic Police and was appointed an Aide de Camp to His Excellency President Robert Mugabe, who at that time was the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.
He was promoted to the rank of Inspector in 1982 and gradually but diligently rose through the ranks resulting in his eventual promotion to Senior Assistant Commissioner.
In 1987, he attended a command and staff course at Bramshile Police College in England. On his return home, he continued with his duties as ADC and was simultaneously appointed the Officer Commanding Police Protection Unit, a position he held until his untimely death.
The late Senior Assistant Commissioner Changara transformed the previous Ministerial Guard Unit (MGU) into a professional VIP security unit. Under his leadership the Unit was decentralised to all provinces.
He received four medals: the Liberation Medal, Independence Medal, Police Long and Exemplary Service Medal and Service Medal.
Senior Assistant Commissioner Changara, was appointed chairman of a committee that was set up to source funding for the reburial of freedom fighters where he worked tirelessly to give his fallen colleagues decent burial.
Cde Changara affectionately known within the Police circles as “Chief Dotito” was humble, generous, warm-hearted, a down-to-earth individual who gave his time and donated generously to disadvantaged communities and individuals.
Cde Changara made generous contributions to Karanda Hospital in Mt Darwin, provided books to Tsengurwe Primary School and assisted the girl child project in Binga.
He truly lived the song Nzira Dzemasoja. In his condolence message, President Mugabe said he had become very close to Senior Assistant Commissioner Changara having known him for more than 30 years.
The death of Senior Assistant Commissioner Changara indeed robbed the nation of a true hero, a hardworking and resourceful senior police officer.
Senior Assistant Commissioner Changara was survived by his wife, Buppe and five children.