Zanu PF dumps genuine hero

via Zanu PF dumps genuine hero – DailyNews Live by Fungi Kwaramba  31 MAY 2014

Mugabe’s Zanu PF has flatly refused to confer national hero status on Wilfred Mhanda, the commander of the party’s armed wing Zanla during the 70s liberation war against white minority rule.

Mhanda, a genuine national hero who fought tenaciously to free this country, died on Wednesday night at the State-run Parirenyatwa Hospital of colon cancer.

The ruling party flatly refused to entertain recognition of the distinguished former Zanla commander, whose nom de guerre was Dzinashe Machingura, with the party’s top brass ruling out the honour for the ex-war commander who turned into a staunch critic of the ruling Zanu PF.

Diydmus Mutasa, Zanu PF secretary for administration, told the Daily News yesterday that he was unaware of Mhanda’s death.

“Who is Wilfred Mhanda? I have not been given that request,” Mutasa said.

Mhanda organised protests as part of a Zanu support group and in 1971, with the Special Branch in hot pursuit, skipped the border into Botswana.

Mhanda joined Zanu’s military wing Zanla and assumed the war name Dzinashe Machingura. Like a number of recruits who were to form the Zimbabwe People’s Army (Zipa) — which was a joint military wing for Zanu and Zapu — he was sent for military training in China.

He rapidly rose through the ranks to become a military instructor, political commissar, commander of the Mgagao Camp in Tanzania and then member of the High Command.

Mhanda was one of the architects and signatories of the 1976 Mgagao Declaration, which spearheaded the resumption of the liberation struggle after a truce ushered in by the 1975 Lusaka Declaration.

His war exploits, as he narrates them in his memoir, Dzino — Memories of Freedom Fighter, placed him second-in-command to the late war commander Solomon Mujuru whose remains were found at his Beatrice farmhouse on August 16 in 2011 after a fire.

In his book, Machingura casts President Robert Mugabe as an opportunist who rose to power through the backdoor. Mhanda said in his book commanders during the war made a mistake of convincing Samora Machel that Mugabe be regarded as their leader and yet he had not been properly nominated at a congress to lead Zanu.

He stalked controversy in 2011 by saying Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa did not play a prominent role in the liberation struggle as he was merely Mugabe’s personal body-guard and secretary.

Rugare Gumbo, Zanu PF spokesperson, who served with the late ex-combatant during the liberation war, said it was highly unlikely that Mhanda would be accorded hero status.

“I don’t think there will be anything for him, I don’t know,” Gumbo, the only Zanu PF official who attended his funeral yesterday, told the Daily News.

But Mhanda’s comrades think otherwise.

Wilson William Nharingo, a member of the Machingura-led Zimbabwe Liberators Platform founded in 2000 to dissuade criticism on the lawlessness spearheaded by veterans during the chaotic and often-violent land reform programme, said “the liberation struggle narrative was incomplete  without mentioning Dzino, who was elbowed from the struggle in 1977 on trumped up charges of rebellion.”

Machingura was accused of treason within Zanu PF as far back as 1978. Had it not been for the late Mozambican president’s intervention, Zanla reportedly intended to keep him in detention in military camps where he was confined from 1978 until 1980 when they were freed.

Nharingo described Machingura as one of the illustrious freedom fighters to wrest freedom of Zimbabwe from the yoke of British colonialism. He said “Cde Dzino” showed valour and prowess.

What is even more galling for Mhanda’s comrades-in-arms was that despite his glittering war credentials, Zanu PF, which unilaterally determines heroes and heroines, never even convened a meeting to consider his illustrious contribution to the prosecution of the liberation struggle.

“We are not bothered at all whether Cde Dzino will be declared a national hero or not through the shameless process used by Zanu PF and its compromised politburo,” Nharingo fumed.

“What we know is that Dzino is a man who earned his national hero status through his immense contribution that cannot be undone by a few men and women sitting in the politburo. Even an instruction issued from State House or some place in Honolulu will not wipe off his history that is solidly engraved on our hearts,” added the war veteran.

Selby Hwacha, a leading Harare lawyer, said anyone who went to the liberation struggle or who understands what its values and objectives were will know that Machingura was one of Zimbabwe’s truest national heroes.

“I do not know if those whose duty it is to honour national heroes by conferring national hero status officially will do so but I believe that it would be a sad omission, distortion and denial of our history if they do not do so in this instance,” Hwacha said.

“The late Dzinashe’s record speaks for itself. The new Constitution of Zimbabwe confers rights of recognition for all war veterans. Dzinashe’s death is another test of our adherence to the letter and spirit of constitutionalism.

“The war of liberation was always also about democracy and human rights. Up to his last breath, Dzinashe lived boldly and objectively by these values.

“In his many discussions with me and with others, he kept asking the questions ‘where did we go wrong and where are we going?’ This is a question which Zimbabwe and all its people and leaders still need to answer today to honour the sacrifices of Dzinashe Machingura and many other true heroes.”

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) expressed its “deep sorrow” following the untimely death of Machingura.

“Cde Dzino refused to corrupt the liberation war ethos through a selfish and parochial narrative of the liberation struggle, favouring inclusivity, as he believed that independence and its fruits belonged to all,” the rights lawyers said in a statement.

“It is unfortunate that some have elected not to unite with other Zimbabweans in appropriately remembering this liberation fighter, and that he was not formally recognised during his lifetime for his historic role in the liberation of this country.

“Nevertheless, we are grateful to Cde Dzino for his memoirs on events that shaped the destiny of Zimbabwe. This written record will keep alive memories of the liberation war and provide lessons for future generations – not only about our history, but also about what remains to be done.

“His selfless contribution during the struggle and thereafter, in an independent yet still captured Zimbabwe, will forever be remembered and deeply cherished.”

Mhanda will be buried today at Glen Forest cemetery.



  • comment-avatar
    zanupf fear me 8 years ago

    Soon criminals acre will be just overgrown with weeds grass and littered by condoms from illicit lovers. It is for the best he chose glen forest. R.I.p.

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    Sekuru Ndaronga 8 years ago

    In the coming few years after the president has passed on, God willing, the history of Zimbabwe will have to be correctly re-written. It is a known historical fact that the present government media is a Zanu PF media which is presently run by overzealous party cadres who have deliberately altered many historical events in order to favour and glorify the current ruler, president Robert Mugabe through whom these cadres are gaining financial and other ill-gotten benefits. Its so sad.

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    pakukutu 8 years ago

    When Zimbabwe is truly free, Cde Dzinashe will be declared a national hero and buried at the Heroes Acre, let those in ZANU know

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    Chaka 8 years ago

    Seems one is declared a hero only if one supports zanupf, regardless of his contribution to the struggle. Good to know

  • comment-avatar
    nyoni 8 years ago

    Let it be known to all that Dzino will never be forgotten . We all know who did what and Robert you did nothing .

  • comment-avatar
    Educated Idiot 8 years ago

    To hell with the Zeroes’s acre…(excuse my spelling)

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    Stingray 8 years ago

    A true here indeed. But where are the other five comrades he was detained with and what are their names?

  • comment-avatar
    kagamba 8 years ago

    REST IN PEACE COMRADE WILFRED MHANDA we know what you have done for the country we salute you. Only comrades of Zanu who are on ARVs are burried there listen to mutasa’s comments he is already having serious side effects of Aids bcz a normal person wouldn’t say that your day will come baba

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    Dzatsva 8 years ago

    RIP True son of Soil.

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    Davy Mufirakureva 8 years ago

    This implies that as long you go against Mugabe you never smell heroes acre. Think thy Ndabaningi Sithole, thy Canaan Banana, thy Tekere, thy Muzorewa, thy Chikerema to mention a few.

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    Turdson Minor 8 years ago

    So that turned out well then.

  • comment-avatar
    Chigidi 8 years ago

    Mutasa asks who Wilfred Mhanda is.
    This from a man who spent the liberation war ensconced on a farm donated by white British liberals pretending to support the struggle, supported by misguided donors, and who managed to destroy the co-operative established there.

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    kariba 8 years ago

    Does this matter anyway. Does
    being buried at the heroes acre increase your chances of going to heaven?NO.Not at all. Think properly Zimbabwe Wake up and see the truth where you are going.

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    Charles Chamunorwa 8 years ago

    Had comrades Tongo, Nhongo, Tekere listened to comrade Dzino not to accept Mugabe as leader of Zanu, they would not have died the way they died. Probably they would have been alive today.

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    wenafela 8 years ago

    To be a national hero one must lick mugabe’s boot. People should have noticed the gravity of their mistakes when they kept mum when Lookout Masuku was overlooked for hero status. As pointed out above to be declared any hero status you only need to ask how high when bob says jump.

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    Zim Patriot 8 years ago

    Comrade Dzino was too good for Heroes acre, He deserves better, in the hearts and minds of true comrades he will always be highly esteemed. He rose above egotistical pretenders….who saw less action and pretended to have been in more action….RIP man of ethics and morals you were just too pure!!!!!!!!