Takakunda Kuda Kani

The Honourable

Takakunda Kuda Kani
Mobutu.jpg
Takakunda in 1983
1st President of Garambura
In office
16 February 1969 – 14 May 1984
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byTapfuma Nkondo
Secretary-General of the Congress of Bahian States
In office
20 June 1984 – 9 February 1989
Preceded byKhulani Hluphizwe
Succeeded byGetasew Merhawi
Leader of the East Riziland Liberation Front
In office
18 March 1964 – 16 February 1969
Personal details
Born(1928-03-17)March 17, 1928
Sainte-Germaine, Baséland, Gaullican Empire
DiedMay 14, 2001(2001-05-14) (aged 73)
New Mina, Garambura
Resting placeNear Mambiza, Garambura
(ashes scattered)
Political partyRépublicains de l'Est (1947)
East Riziland Liberation Front (1964–1969)
Garamburan National Party (1969–1984)
Spouse(s)Biria Mudzuri
(m. 1957; his death 2001)
Children3
Military service
Allegiance ERLF
 Garambura
Branch/serviceArmy
Years of service1967–1968
1969
RankGeneral
Battles/warsGaramburan War of Independence:
AwardsPRT Military Order of Aviz - Officer BAR.png Gamba reRudzi

Takakunda Kuseka Zvinavashe Mutongo Kuda Kani (17 March 1928 – 14 May 2001; aged 73) was a Garamburan anti-colonial activist, Garamburan independence activist, statesman, politician and author who served as President of Garambura from the position's establishment following the conclusion of the Garamburan War of Independence to May 14, 1984, and Secretary-General of the Congress of Bahian States from 1984 to 1989. Takakunda's official tenure of 15 years makes him one of the longest serving democratic leaders in post-colonial Bahian history. He is also renowned for his number of re-elections, totaling three over his lifetime, with Garambura rating high on political freedom indexes throughout his tenure and into the modern day due to his influence.

Takakunda began his political activism in 1946, aged 18, when he made headlines in Estmere over his political stunt by standing on top of the Central Bank of Sainte-Germaine and waving a sign saying "Freedom for Bahia! Death to Imperialism!, a phrase that would later famously become attributed to him. He was arrested in 1947 after marching with a parade of independence activists through the streets of Sainte-Germaine, and imprisoned for two years for dissident behaviour. Released in 1949, Takakumba embarked on a course of starvation, only drinking water, until Rwizikuran police arrested and imprisoned him again, force feeding him in prison to keep him alive. Released yet again in 1954, the foundation of the United Bahian Republic saw Takakunda keep his public profile low, whilst still participating in assorted protests in Sainte-Germaine throughout the 1950s and 1960s. When Tabora seceded from the UBR in 1964, Takakunda again began campaigning for a similar Garamburan secession. When the UBR dissolved in 1968, Takakunda had already assembled large amounts of freedom fighters and guerrilla forces due to his publicity, seceding from Rwizikuru in 1969.

Successfully achieving Garamburan independence in April, Takakunda set about reforming the Garamburan economy and culture to "de-imperialise" the nation. The Garamburan denier was introduced as legal tender in 1970 and diplomatic relations were established with Mabifia and ex-UBR member Djedet. Takakunda was re-elected in 1974 after record economic growth - the highest in Bahia at the time - lifted many out of poverty in Mambiza. Following his re-election, he successfully negotiated with Kupakwashe Ngonidzashe in lifting the Rwizikuran veto on Garamburan accession to the Congress of Bahian States, which Garambura joined in the 1979, leading to further re-election in the same year. In the 1980s, Garambura established friendly ties with the Euclean Community and became an economic associate of COMSED, reaffirming Garamburan neutrality in world affairs and its "commitment for global peace". Under Takakunda, Garambura was subsequently modernised and Mambiza became one of Bahia's most influential economic hubs in Garambura, followed closely by New Mina, who Takakunda introduced policies to incite its growth into a modern Bahian city. Takakunda was supported by Estmere, Gaullica and Werania throughout his tenure as an influential non-communist figure in Bahia, particularly after revolutions in Tabora and Djedet. Takakunda announced his retirement from politics in 1984, and was succeeded in the subsequent election by fellow party-member Tapfuma Mkondo. He subsequently served a five-year term as Secretary-General of the Congress of Bahian States between 1984 and 1989.

Takakunda's influence on the modern Garamburan state and Bahian democracy as a whole has led him to widely regarded as one of the greatest Bahian post-colonial leaders in history. Takakunda was cremated and had his ashes scattered into the Banfura Sea on the coast of Mambiza, and given a full state funeral, attended by many world leaders. A five-day mourning period was instated due to Takakunda's death, with a snap election being called after the mourning period, with fellow party member Chisi Ndlovu winning the presidency.

Background

Takakunda Kuseka Zvinavashe Mutongo Kuda Kani was born on March 17, 1928, in the city of Sainte-Germaine, then part of the functionalist-controlled Baséland colony, to veRwizi parents, both of whom were manual labourers for a nearby industrial firm. Takakunda's parents both earned minimal income and he, his parents, and his seven other siblings lived a life of extreme poverty that was amplified massively by the outbreak of the Great War in Bahia. Takakunda has stated he only has "vague memories" of the war, and it had ended by the time he had turned seven. Takakunda also details his parent's celebrations when the colony was transferred to Estmere in 1935, and the mass demonstrations in Sainte-Germaine, both positive for its liberation from Gaullica and negative for its lack of self-rule and independence, that followed.

When it became apparent that East Riziland was not going to gain its independence from the Riziland, Takakunda became a political activist and joined the mass protests in Sainte-Germaine in 1946, aged only eighteen. He joined the controversial Républicains de l'Est, group in 1947, after they had shot and killed four people in Port Fitzhubert just two months prior. He took part in one of their organised marches through Sainte-Germaine's main street, and was arrested during the march for association with the group and dissident behaviour. He was released in 1949 but would quickly gain notoriety with the Rwizikuran police as he was arrested again for disobedience and public indecency when he began to shout through the streets of Sainte-Germaine to promote his hunger strike. Only five days into the strike, he was detained and imprisoned against by Rwizikuran police, and sentenced to a further five years in prison, which he served in Port Fitzhubert. Takakunda details borderline torture and humiliation by Rwizikuran guards while in prison, and was force fed by the guards to keep him alive and end his hunger strike, which he described as a "backhanded way of silencing their opponents".

Takakunda was released in 1954 as scheduled, but did not re-enter a prominent activist role in fear of being imprisoned for a third time. He moved east to the city of Makumba, where he met and married his wife Biria Mudzuri, and had their first child in 1958. Takakunda would write a political book, titled L'échec du pan-baïenisme ("The Failure of Pan-Bahianism"), extensively detailing his experiences at the hands of the Rwizikuran justice system whilst it was a member of the United Bahian Republic. Takakunda did not publish the book until 1969, where it became a popular manifesto and autobiography, and one of the only to discuss persecution within the UBR. Takakunda re-entered the mainstream of calls for Garamburan independence when he formed the East Riziland Liberation Front in 1964, in lieu of Tabora's declaration of secession from the UBR. The ERLF began as a independence activist organisation but quickly began to pick up traction as a rebel paramilitary group as the Mabifian-Rwizikuran War over Yekumavirira continued in the east. Takakunda would serve as the only leader of the ERLF from 1964 until 1969.

Takakunda giving his famous UDI speech in Sainte-Germaine, 1969

On February 16, 1969, Takakunda would give his public address declaring an independent Garamburan state, issuing its unilateral declaration of independence the next day, triggering the Garamburan War of Independence. Takakunda would garner much support as nations from Euclea (such as Estmere and Gaullica), enemies of Rwizikuru (Mabifia) and other international powers (such as Senria and Valentir), as well as socialist nations who wished to transform Garambura into a socialist state (Djedet and Tabora). The overwhelming amount of support led to a quick breakthrough by the Garamburan forces as Rwizikuran morale dropped at the Battle of Ntawha and April Offensives, both of which he personally fought in. An offer of mediation was put forward by Dezevau between the two states, and Takakunda met with Rwizikuran Mambo Izibongo Ngonidzashe in the Dezevauni capital to sign the Treaty of Bazadavo, officially recognising Garambura as an independent state. Takakunda's comparatively right-wing politics in an overwhelming left-wing Bahia led to widespread recognition through eastern Euclea and the Asterias, which quickly ended any immediate threats to Garambura's international recognition.

Presidency

First term (1969–1974)

Although Takakunda technically assumed the post of President of Garambura on February 16, 1969, most historians prefer to place the starting date of his first term on April 30 of the same year, with his leadership during the War of Independence being referred to more as an interim Presidency by many. Takakunda's immediate policies set about establishing a solid electoral framework for which the state could be run from, with universal suffrage being implemented under a mixed-member proportional representation system seen today in the National Assembly. An important uniting ideological framework for Takakunda's early days was the desire to "de-imperialise" the nation, both from Euclean influence and years of rule from Rwizikuru under the United Bahian Republic. The desire of de-imperialisation at home was coupled with an ambitious foreign policy abroad that sought to establish friendly diplomatic ties with many of the world's powerful nations. Relations were quickly and positively established with the likes of the Euclean Community member states, Halland, Cassier and Narozalica. Most of these nations agreed to support the new Garamburan state under Takakunda as an influential anti-communist figure in the region, and Garambura began to receive materiel support, military and economic advisors, foreign aid and infrastructural aid from many of these countries, allowing Garambura's economy to recover fairly quickly from its independence war.

However, despite the desire from these powers to prevent Garambura from stepping out of its ring of influence, relations and advisors were established and accepted from the Auspicious Republic of Xiaodong in October 1969. Takakunda announced plans to introduce a new Garamburan currency in November 1969, creating the Garamburan denier on November 17, initially pegging it to the Gaullican denier for stability whilst the currency entered widespread circulation. On January 1 the denier was unpegged from its Gaullican counterpart and introduced fully into Garambura with success. Takakunda increased his amount of foreign visits and visitors in 1970 to try and reintegrate Garamburan relations with its Bahian neighbours. Relations were established with Mabifia and Djedet in 1970, and the countries formed a strong relationship, particularly following on from both countries' support of Garambura during its war of independence. Takakunda attempted to re-establish relations with neighbouring Rwizikuru in 1970, however was firmly rejected by Izibongo Ngonidzashe, who referred to Takakunda as a "traitor to Bahia" in a public address a week later. Despite generally positive relations with the socialist states of Bahia, Takakunda still regularly denounced the ideology and espoused his right-wing, neo-liberal views more akin to those in Euclea and Asteria Superior as a more "complete" and "correct" ideology.

Takakunda with Valentiri President Raymond Whitmore in 1972

Towards the end of 1970, drafts for the initial Garamburan constitution and implementation of a codified electoral system began. The initial draft for the Constitution of Garambura was presented to the Garamburan Congress on October 19, 1970, and was read out by co-draftee Taurai Magwa. The constitution underwent three more drafts and was pushed through Congress by Takakunda, who gave his full backing to the draft. On December 2, the first Constitution of Garambura was unanimously accepted by the Garamburan Congress, now the upper house of the Garamburan Parliament after the constitution established the lower house - the National Assembly - as a directly elected body every five years. As per the new constitution, many cities had their names changed from the colonial Gaullican names to ones that better reflected the native cultures of Garambura. The most notable of these was the historical city of Sainte-Germaine being renamed to Mambiza. Congress chose to schedule elections for 1974, five years after Garambura's independence, rather than in 1975, five years after the constitution's implementation. Early preparations for elections, such as the building and delegation of country-wide polling stations and seat allocations were all spearheaded by Takakunda, who was commended by the Community of Nations for his "commitments to the institutions of democracy".

Takakunda secured guaranteed international recognition for Garambura, who still saw some limited recognition throughout the socialist world due to its violent split from Rwizikuru, when it was admitted as a member state of the Community of Nations on March 5, 1971, which became a major ideological victory for Takakunda halfway through his tenure, who began to be revered for spearheading Garambura's swift reintegration with the outside world. By this point, Garambura had established relations with most nations that weren't aligned with Rwizikuru, with Izibongo still holding a large grudge against Takakunda for his actions. Some of the first political summits involving Garambura took place towards the end of 1971, with Takakunda meeting Xiaodongese Premier Sun Yuting in September 1971 to discuss the future relationship between the two nations. Garambura's warmer relationship with Xiaodong distanced Garambura from the likes of Senria and its allies, however Takakunda is continually documented as "caring little" for the divide between Xiaodong and Senria, and welcomed positive relationships with both. On December 14, Garambura secured an arms deal with the Commonwealth of Halland, which saw small armoured units, old patrol boats from the Hallandic Navy, arms and advisors sent to Garambura to bolster its anti-socialist influence in the region.

Takakunda secretly approved the funding of Njinji anti-communist rebels in Tabora, who were planning an uprising against its socialist government, in 1972. Tabora caught wind of the funding and cut relations unanimously in May 1972, by which Garambura's funding of the rebels was exposed to most of the world, suffering heavy condemnation from most of the socialist world. Takakunda scaled back funding but did not cut it completely, with Njinji rebel leaders often being brought into Garambura for military training, often under Hallandic advisors. Takakunda prepared an application for Garamburan entry into the Congress of Bahian States in September 1972, however when the application was presented it was definitively vetoed by both Rwizikuru and Tabora, who had begun to form a small alliance to surround Garambura. Takakunda became wary of the forming axis against him and sought after Euclean aid, however the request was not given, largely as a result of Estmere still having large financial influence in Rwizikuru, sending foreign aid to the country regularly. Halland agreed to materiel support as a result of this, with Takakunda calling Halland Garambura's "greatest ally" in the process. With the accession of Ewan Montgomery to the post of Prime Minister of Halland in 1973, the two countries formed an even closer bond through the personal friendship of the two politicians.

Hallandic Prime Minister Ewan Montgomery with Takakunda in 1973

Preparations for the upcoming elections began in December 1973, with elections scheduled for May 1, 1974. Takakunda began his campaign extremely positively, delivering a number of successful political talks and speeches across the country. Takakunda's main opposition was Masamba Samkange, who led a joint left-wing coalition of the Social Party of Garambura and the Worker's International in Garambura, which would later become Garamburan Section of the Workers' International during the election campaign. Samkange's coalition was backed by many socialist nations, including Rwizikuru and Tabora. Samkange's relationship with the leader's of the two countries was regularly used against him during his campaign for the Presidency by Takakunda. When the election came around, Samkange was soundly defeated as Takakunda and the Garamburan National Party were re-elected with 63.6% of the vote. Samkange's resounding loss is often cited as one of the main causes for the outbreak of the Nativity War seven months later.

Second term (1974–1979)

Nativity War (1974–1976)

Third term (1979–1984)

Foreign policy

Final years and death

In popular culture

Legacy