2015/08/11 10:17 PM
The first few month in early 1976, the withdrawal of the South African Defence Force(SADF) which left UNITA running for the proverbial hills. Chiede became a very quiet town, almost abandoned except for the herdsmen who brought their cattle for water at the water pump.
Then slowly the system started functioning steadily, the communal administration, the school and the hospital followed by other infrastructures. MPLA knew how to mobilise and its propaganda mechanism was second to none. From an elderly man to a small child everyone fitted in the puzzle. There was ODEPE for the elderly and fragile man, OMA, JMPLA and pioneiro, the later was to be scratched of the operational plan as it violated the right of the child.
Chiede became a hub of activity and many people especially from the north east started moving, clustering on the south eastern side, between the water pump and the trenches dug around the old town parameters.
The new centralization soon became a disaster, a death trap.
From the north eastern side those who have survived the MPLA 1975/76 take over started regrouping and finally organizing a force to become a threat. Soon Chiede was caught between two forces, both equally lethal in their own ways and definitions.
In the south the SADF were trying to recover from their first international disaster or nightmare, and now were devising new comeback methodologies and tactics to restore democracy and freedom.
After all as the last god fearing democracy countries, the responsibility was on their laps to defend, if need be being aggressor will be justifiable.
Looking back at the eastern part of Chiede towards Chitumba UNITA was recovering remarkably well. Regrouping here and there, they started with uncoordinated sabotage and collecting more mahangu and “straying” cattle for their consumption and until Chitumba became a nightmare for the FAPLA’s neck. Eventually escalating into the a life threatening pain that was to grind the mechanism to a halt.
Chiede as the last town, geographically miss-positioned was at the receiving end and vulnerable. Even the Cuban internacionalistas refused to go to Chiede, so the town became more and more vulnerable.
As my father said once, “desperate times call for desperate measures…” yes, the situation was getting worse and the people of Chiede were at the end of their tether.
Despair was the order of the day, but the worse was to come. One old man who came to see my father, I overheard him saying, “this is the wickedest time that we are living… our cattle are being stolen and our villages burned down. We cannot work in our field.”