‘Gumbo, Tongo helped Mugabe’

via ‘Gumbo, Tongo helped Mugabe’ – DailyNews Live 2 December 2014 by Fungi Kwaramba

HARARE – Contrary to the contrived manipulation of historical facts, ousted Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo and the late Zanla commander, general Josiah “Magama” Tongogara propped up President Robert Mugabe by marketing him to both guerrilla leaders and the frontline states, a living war legend, Benard Manyadza has said.

Speaking exclusively to the Daily News in Wedza yesterday, Manyadza a member of the Zanla High Command, whose Chimurenga name was Parker Chipoyera said Gumbo was always respectful of the leadership of the day but opposed the creation of a one man rule.

He denied state media reports that Gumbo and Tongogara were enemies.

With Zanu PF limping into a “dump squib” congress after removing all persons linked to embattled Vice President Joice Mujuru, Manyadza opened up to the Daily News and gave his perspective of the war including the role played by Gumbo and Tongogara in helping Mugabe to be accepted.

He said after the arrest of members of Dare ReChimurenga (the War Council) in 1975 on allegations of assassinating  Zanu chairperson Hebert Chitepo, it was due to the bidding of the likes of incarcerated Gumbo that the war combatants endorsed Mugabe.

“When the Dare members had been arrested, we joined the Zimbabwe Liberation Council and when we realised that there was nothing there, we visited our members who were at Mpima Prison in Kabwe.

“We visited them twice and when we fled from Zambia with other comrades, James Nyikadzinashe, Dzinashe Machingura, Cde Soul Sadza kana kuti (or) Arthur Magaya, and myself.

“We fled after having gone through Mpima Prison where the likes of Tongogara, Henry Hamadziripi, Cletus Chigowe and generally members of the High Command and Dare were detained and the instruction the four of us got was the same — go and fight.

“I spoke to Rugare Gumbo along with Dzinashe Machingura and the others spoke with Tongogara and the instruction was, since the War Council has been dismantled, members of the general staff and High Command including Rex Nhongo (Solomon Mujuru) and Dzinashe Machingura and I was later co-opted, we were told to do everything and anything possible to keep the liberation war going because only that could liberate those in prison.

Manyadza said it was through the sacrifice of the guerrillas that imprisoned nationalists like Mugabe were released.

“We, the cadres of Zanla fought the war that brought detente in 1974 and nationalists such as Joshua Nkomo, Ndabaningi Sithole and Robert Mugabe were released. We are the same cadres who fought the war to free members of Dare reChimurenga who were detained in Zambia and also freed Cde Mugabe when he had been put in exile by (former Mozambican  president) Samora Machel. We had united with comrades from Zipra to form Zipa but when we had freed these people we became the victims,” said Manyadza without a trace of bitterness.

Asked if Gumbo had been part of the Vashandi Group —that was accused of rebelling against Mugabe — Manyadza said he was actually pro-the leadership of the day.

“If anything pakasungwa Vashandi Group paBeira, vana vaGumbo nana Mukudzei Mudzi vainge variku side rekuti vanhu ngavasungwe (When Vashandi were arrested Gumbo and the likes of Mukudzei Mudzi wanted Vashandi arrested) but later they were to be labelled the progressives because they had realised they had made a blunder when they recommended the arrest of the commanders. (Vashandi).

“The likes of Gumbo realised that a cult was in the making and we were shocked when we saw them joining us in prison in 1978,” said Manyadza.

Asked whether the relationship between Gumbo and Mugabe was ever frosty Manyadza said the fact that Gumbo retuned from Mozambique and did not join Zanu — only to be co-opted later shows that the two had buried whatever differences they had.

“Gumbo only joined later and was appointed a minister, meaning there was trust between the two, the relations became sour I think when Gumbo realised that this was becoming too much; that is the making of a cult and the creation of a monarchy.

The state media has claimed that Gumbo was contemptuous to Tongogara but Manyadza yesterday said the two were actually accused of being too close because they were both Karangas.

“Gumbo was very subservient to Tongogara, they were both members of Dare and when it was about war matters, Gumbo took the note from Tongogara, but they had different departments.

If anything, they were accused of having become a Karanga clique. Even if you ask Tendi Ndlovu, who is in the politburo, the facts will remain the same.’’


  • comment-avatar
    Nyoni 10 years ago

    That’s history we old ones know. Nothing new. The question I want to ask all you war heroes is simply this. Who were the first gun runners for the struggle. If any of you can answer that question then you know who started the Second Chimurenga. Let us correct history for sure.

  • comment-avatar
    Bambazonke 10 years ago

    Let’s move on , this war was a load of…… And it’s over 34 years ago and you still keep harping on about it. I don’t give a s… Who killed who. It doesn’t put money in our pockets pedza finished

  • comment-avatar
    Nyoni 10 years ago

    I agree Bambazonke . This does not put the sadza in our mouths but who created this crisis. The struggle was hijacked by opportunists and now they speak out . Why so quiet forever and now the beans come out. If Nkomo had ruled this country would have been great.

  • comment-avatar
    Zvomukonde 10 years ago

    Guerillas that never won an actual battle.

  • comment-avatar
    wensil 10 years ago

    Its unfortunate that the liberation struggle has been given a bad name by Robert Mugabe and on every turn he uses that as an excuse to oppress the people.

    When the true history is told, you can tell that Mugabe had a very minimal role but he has managed to magnify his role for the past 34 years of misrule simply because he has held the microphone.

    I await the day when the history books will be rewritten to reflect the true history and not the one forced down by Mugabe to suit his own personal agenda and accumulate wealth for himself to the state where he is now filthy rich and yet the people who dodged the bullets suffer in abject poverty.