Rhodesians killed Chitepo: Mugabe

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe yesterday claimed the late nationalist Hebert Chitepo was assassinated by Rhodesian colonialists.

Chitepo, who was the Zanu PF chairman, was killed by a car bomb placed in his Volkswagen Beetle in Zambia in 1975.

A report produced by a commission of inquiry into Chitepo’s death has never been made public in Zimbabwe.

The inquiry was instituted by the Zambian government at the height of the liberation war.

Since the time he was killed, there have been widespread speculation that Chitepo was killed by his Zanu allies.

But Mugabe told mourners yesterday at the burial of Kumbirai Kangai, a protégé of Chitepo, that the nationalists did not have the sophistry to assemble a bomb that killed Chitepo.

“People were blamed for Chitepo’s death but people had no technology to make such bombs and there were no reasons to do so,” Mugabe said at the National Heroes Acre yesterday.

“Later we discovered that it was the Rhodesians who killed Chitepo.”

In her book, The Assassination of Herbert Chitepo, Luise White, professor of History at the University of Florida, says there have been four confessions and at least as many accusations about who was responsible.

There are no clear indications of who killed Chitepo despite the appointment of the Chitepo Commission of inquiry by the Zambian government on 31st March 1975.

A report produced by the Chona Commission has never been made public in Zimbabwe.

Chitepo’s death led to the arrest of Zanu PF combatants including the late celebrated war commander Josiah Tongogara, whose death just before independence also is one of the most explosive and unclosed chapters in the country’s history.

It is widely believed that Chitepo was murdered in the course of a power struggle by close Zanu PF allies.

Soon after his death, the Kenneth Kaunda-led Zambian government detained the Zanla leadership over Chitepo’s death after they had aroused suspicion by leaving Zambia soon after his burial.

But yesterday Mugabe, who delivered a two-hour long history lecture, blamed the racist settler regime of Ian Smith for the death of a lawyer who many believed had the credentials to be the leader of Zanu and Zimbabwe.

Mugabe, Africa’s longest serving ruler and in power since 1980, admitted that he did not want to be the president of Zanu.

“In 1977 I was chosen to be the acting president of Zanu, at first I refused because I wanted to return home as the secretary general,” he said.

But Mugabe was to lead the party following the death of Chitepo.

In July 2001, and after 16 years of silence, Chitepo’s wife Victoria claimed that her husband’s murder was an internal Zanu job, and demanded unsuccessfully that his killers be brought to justice.

Her plea followed statements by Kaunda that Chitepo’s Zanu opponents, not Rhodesian agents, were responsible for the killing.

Veteran nationalist James Chikerema, who with Chitepo was one of the founding members of Zapu before Zanu split, had another theory about his death.

“I knew Chitepo for years. He was murdered by Tongogara and the Karanga mafia,” he claimed.

Despite Mugabe’s statement yesterday, the liberation war narrative remains murky and last year, the wife of Tongogara, Angeline called for a probe into the death of her husband and made sensational allegations that he was also killed by fellow nationalists.

Several families have demanded further probes into deaths of politicians who have died under unclear circumstances and are demanding answers from government.

These include families of the late General Solomon Mujuru and Zimbabwe National Army Brigadier-General Paul Armstrong Gunda who both died in mysterious circumstances.

Comments (44)

Weak logic, Mr President. ZANLA had no ability to manufacture AK47's but they used them to fight the war. Not having the skills to manufacture an instrument of death does not mean one cannot buy one or borrow it from those have have it. Why not release the Chona Commission report and allow people to read and make their own conclusions!

Chenjerai Hove - 1 September 2013

Utter nonsense from Mugabe that Chitepo was killed by the Rhodesians - ZanuPF would say that wouldn't they to cover up for each other? This is a cop out. There was a power struggle between the Karangas and Manyikas in Zanu which resulted in the deaths of Edgar Madekurozva and John Mataure. Were these also killed by the Rhodesians? They were sentenced to death by the Dare. Manyikas like Simpson Mtambanengwe, Cornelius Sanyanga Noel Mukono and Nelson Dziruni were also marked men who escaped death at the hands of Karanga in Zanu after the Nhari Rebellion which they were accused of supporting. Zanu did not want the Zambian government to investigate Chitepo's death. Why? For obvious reasons. Chitepo always had 2 or 3 bodyguards Silas Shamiso, Sadat Kufamazuva and an Alec Dovi, but reports are that Rugare Gumbo and Kumbirai Kangai always accompanied Chitepo wherever he went - reports are that his bodyguards were his jailors, and that their real purpose was not to protect him but to keep from escaping. When Ndabaningi Sithole was deposed as leader in jail Chitepo did not agree to this “coup” - could have been one reason he was killed. Mugabe knows nothing about the goings on in Zambia. And to say Mugabe himself did not want to be leader is a load of bu*lshit. The only thing that Mugabe ever wanted to do in his whole life is to be leader - he wants to die in office - doesn't look like a reluctant leader. Might have been tentative but definitely wanted to be leader which is why he went to Ghana to see how Nkrumah was doing it.

Gombingo - 1 September 2013

How sophisiticated was this bomb? Did the bomb have to be assembled wholly by the Zanu-PF cabal? When people get too old they start telling all sort.

TM - 1 September 2013

Uku ndiko kunyepa kuri simple. Motokari chaidzo hatidzigadzire muZimbabwe but vangani varikusorodzivhetemetsa muZimbabwe... mukuru akashaya chete kuti oti kudii apa. If u want to use something, do u necessarily have to know how it is made ???

mbono - 1 September 2013

The Rhodesians have admitted it through confessions of Ken Flower, Dally ect. Why is Chuck's grave at Warren Hills marked KIA when he died of a car accident in Lusaka. I had respect for my brother Chenjerayi but warasika that's too poor

jobi - 1 September 2013

Kaunda made us suffer for the sake of imposing Joshua Nkomo on our leadership. Comrades died at the hands of his army which has no fighting history except on Alice's followers. Please do not offend us by writing Chona's story when these Zambian thus almost killed Tongo.

jobi - 1 September 2013

Cde sometimes, you are just good to barking without and evidence. Kindly go to any library or the Parliament Library talk to and l will give you the book titled. "See You In November by Peter Stiff a former member of the notorious Central Intelligence Organisation during the Rhodesian era...he chronicles all the details including what Cde R. G Mugabe is saying and its true........all details are the book......Please don't just bark before you reason or defend your ideals....Ask me..l have the book and please can you google....See you in November.....fuck you boy.........be a better critic and knowledgeable before you bark

Clemence Tashaya - 1 September 2013

Yes Job is knowledgeable unlike other useless and headless pimps.......Ken Flower was also a member of the Rhodesian CIO and the author of the book, l have just mentioned Peter Stiff was in the operations during the era hence his writing of the book......cde go back to school instead of just barking because you hate Robert Mugabe....mhata dzenyu

Clemence Tashaya - 1 September 2013

The Book is titled "See You in November when even the Rhodesian had an assignment of assassinating Cde R.G Mugabe at a hotel in London during the Lancaster talks.....so what the fucken hell are you saying ....all those were assignment to kill the ZANU PF leaders during the war and some of the mission were the Late Chitepo and Joshua was lucky in Zambia all under the operations of the Rhodes CIO....guys please you make me to be angry because of your useless ignorance....hence my cam pain go back to school take time to be in a better library and you don't only use a library for college assignments ok...wakafunda kupi iwe

Clemence Tashaya - 1 September 2013

You make me angry cde coz you are narrow minded when it comes to information or knowledge of Zim politics because you failed history Zvimwe zvinhu muri mhata like the useless mother fuckers in Zim

Clemence Tashaya - 1 September 2013

@Clemence Tashaya - you idiot. Chitepo always had at least 2 bodyguards every time, that is, 24/7. These bodyguards were Zanu bodyguards not Rhodesian bodyguards. How could Rhodesians place a bomb under Chitepos car in his yard in the presence of Zanu bodyguards? Zanu resisted when Zambian government wanted to do a thorough investigation. Why? I don't believe what Ken Flower wrote in his book because he was now working for the new Zanu government and knew Rhodesia was not going to come back. There were Zanu bodyguards when Chitepo was assassinated - there's no way this could have happened without the connivance of the Chitepo's Zanu bodyguards. One of the body guards died and the other was injured in the blast. Members on Zanu were arrested by Zambian Police and were only released after the intervention of Front line States. That is the problem with African politics - they try and cover up instead of letting the matters be investigated thoroughly to remove any doubt.

Gombingo - 1 September 2013

So Kumbirai Kangai was a Rhodisian nhayi?

Madlezinye - 1 September 2013

Thug-in-Chief telling lies there.....Kumbirai Kangai and Rugare Gumbo are responsible for actually carrying out the job but having send by me Tongo....I am speaking from the gave as I was inturn taken out of the game...I shld have known better. Mugabe is a thug.

Tongo - 1 September 2013

The fact that Thug-in-Chief or King Cobra had to say it at Kungai's funeral raises all the rights questions...why at Kangai's funeral and not Karakadzai or Nkala's....there is no smoke without fire...Kungai killed Chitepo and Thug-in-Chief knows it too well....only thing is that Thug-in-Chief has a rule with murderers but he himself has never carried out any heinous cry but sends out his boys who fear no blood spilling no wonder some liberation whore calls themselve Teurai Ropa....the hubby spilled the bloods of other comdrades and she spilled and sucked his sperm but carried the name.

Tongo - 1 September 2013

And the Rhodesians were stupid enough to go for the wrong target.

Johnny Wishbone - 1 September 2013

Johnny Wishbone, who should have been the correct target? Our beloved President, of course since all Rhodies hate him so much-shame!!! Is it not amazing that after killing more than 80 0000 the Rhodesians still hunt for a target??? Is the blood of 80,000 people not enough???? Our President has made 15 million people in Zimbabwe to think and reason like he does!!!! Are the Rhodesians going to have to kill the 15 million? And what about the 150 million in the whole of Africa who now share our President's thoughts??? It is true, afterall, that one cannot take the madness out of a Rhodesian!!!!!!!

George Sebedebe - 2 September 2013

@George Sebedebe - you have posted a comment with exclamation amrks and question marks but I am unable to see what your point(s) is/are? What are you trying to say? You talk of 80 000 and 15 million where did you get these figures?

Chidoma - 2 September 2013

These Gukurahundis will never leave this past history of the liberation struggle, which is now so distorted and full of lies, despite them urging us uMthwakazi to forget Gukurahundi killings of the 1980s. We are told Gukurahundi is past, we have to move on. Which is older the struggle or gukurahundi? So why cant they move past the struggle, I mean this is 2013?

GUKURAHUNDU UPBRINGING - 2 September 2013

Gombingo harifungi ndinoziva kuti gombingo zvinoreveyi. Please forgive this gombingo haisimhosva yake asi kuti rakaputirwa nejira dema chairo zvekuti harioni kana kuteverawo nyaya mafabiro ayo zvarinofunga ndizvozvo. Regai rivhumuke. Hazvishamisi ritori zimuselous scout ririkudefender zvarakaita. Batayi munhu rinotaura chokwadi charinoziva pamusoro penyaya iyi.

Takeiteasy Marcaves - 2 September 2013

Mugabe is not Africas longest serving leader, its Jose Eduardo Dos Santos of Angola... verify facts.

champion - 2 September 2013

Hot topic indeed

maby - 3 September 2013

Herbert Wilshire Chitepo ,the brilliant 1st black lawyer was assassinated by the Karanga Mafia on 18 March 1975.The mafia was spearheaded by by the powerhungry Josiah Tongogara who was later taken out in 1979 by an equally powerhungry Gushungo Goblin.Tongogara was ably assisted in his heinous crime to kill Chitepo by Kangai,Rugare Gumbo,Zvinavashe,Dauramhanzi,Robson Manyika,Mukudzei Mudzi,Henry Hamadziripi,Rex Nhongo,Mpunzarima& Chigove .Matibili must explain to Zimbabweans why Chitepo`s two Sons were killed trying to investigate the death of their father?.Matibili must explain why the Mafia changed Chitepo`s bodyguards just b4 his death?.Matibili at the time of Chitepo`s death was locked up in Prison.Matibili must explain why the Mafia ran away into Mozambique on Chitepo`s fateful day?????.Why did the Dare reChimurenga Mafia change Chitepo`s Zambian bodyguards with their own conniving murderous cohorts???.There is a possibility that Matibili might have played an indirect role in Chitepo`s killing since he harboured intentions of leading.The Mafia went on to kill Chitepo`s fellow Manyikas namely Mukono,Mataure &Sanyanga.

Chinenguwo Murombo - 3 September 2013

at times i wonder if these guys really went to fight the colonialists or themselves or both cause it appears this game of elimination and car accidents started from there. mugabe and his murderers cum veterans are a disgrace. true heroes died and those who came are murderers. why is that they never published anything regarding the liberation war and the aftermath

atz - 3 September 2013

Well, Herbert Chitepo's son, Tiyane, believed that his death was ordered by Mugabe. He used to say so, loudly, until his death. by suicide with an AK47. Not easy to shoot yourself with an AK47

James Grey - 6 September 2013

Achimwene never had the intentions of fighting the liberation war. He was running away from the Rhodesian authorities for statutory rape of a 15yr old girl from Rusape.

Agonye - 6 September 2013

The issues are of paramount importance to the World, Pse lets have the true facts from those that participated in the elimination.

master fox - 6 September 2013

I have read all your comments and came to one conclusion "ZANU ndeyeropa!".

Dokota Amoorr - 7 September 2013

Mugabe has no reason to allow the investigations of all those who died during the struggle because that will cost is cdreship status. Only when those who have people at heart come to power will allow the investigations to take place. If the investigations are allowed to take place the courts of injustice will just rule in favour of those whose history making process is meant to be protected. To those who justice should be seen its proper definition nothing will happen or maybe those who seek the justice to prevail will be prosecuted

mukoma mupepereki - 7 September 2013

I am not a Zimbabwean but I can see that you guys you struggle because of one man and that is Robert Mugabe. For how long will you struggle? Just assassinate this useless Dictator.

Mlandvo Ndwandwe - 7 September 2013

Mugabe is was directly and indirectly involved in the murder of many sons of the soil.Ndwandwe is right.

Peter Chikunya - 7 September 2013

Mugabe is/was directly and indirectly involved in the murder of many sons of the soil.Ndwandwe is right.

Peter Chikunya - 7 September 2013

Mugabe is/was directly and indirectly involved in the murder of many sons of the soil.Ndwandwe is right.

Peter Chikunya - 7 September 2013

Mugabe was in prison and only a secretary general of Zanu as after the death of Chitepo,the next Chairman was ndabaningi Sithole. So shape up, unless you are saying Chitepo was killed by Sithole. The Chitepo Assassination was carried out by Chuck Hind who is planted at warren Hills and he got payed 10000 Rhodesian dollars for it. Mugabe even if you don't like him wasn't involved. whats the next bullshit coming from you morons? that Mugabe killed Chaminuka?

Abdullar - 8 September 2013

Clemence, clemence ! ! We are here to re write history to help some guys like you how are behind history .Its true you read a novel by Peter stiff, But that doesnt make you different to anyone who read kusasana kunoparira, or any other Shona novel.some pple are talking what they know,not what they read or heard. We have been down that road, and we were there when the guns fell silent, cool down young man and stop being a public noun sense

Mbuva Yesango - 8 September 2013

Guys - when Ken wrote his book he was working for RG Mugabe, he made sure the book will be published after his death. Obviously there is something fishy apa. He did not want to be answerable to criticts, he was doing this to exonerate the ZANU pf thugs. Plain and Simple

chamu - 9 September 2013

guys read masipula sithole,s struggle within the struggle ,names were mentioned and all members of dare according to the late cde were responsible,if not why is it that not even one sued masipula???????????????????????? for defarmation knowing the type of the guys

Johannes Kwangwari - 9 September 2013

You people of Zanu, "Clemence Tashaya " included, you have a history of killing and killing everybody knows it, black dog, car accidents and slow poisoning to mention the short list. I support Chenjerai Hove, do support his idea?

Chamu - 9 September 2013

Chamu......usapedza stress dzako kwandiri...handini ndakaita mukadzi wako umuone achisvirwa nema Kombi drivers and mahwindi muWindhoek.....you failed even to maintain her achiti she is an Accountant in Katutura iye achino chaiwa makumbo paTerminus not muoffice Ndinokuziva muFace wangu. Usatamba Big Brother is watching you nhai

Clemence Tashaya - 9 September 2013

little knowledge is very dangerous. A fool fooling people like fools.

Zvaita - 10 September 2013

akauraya takumuziva now the qn is why was he assassinated

daisy - 27 May 2015

Who killed Peter Pamire and Why?

Mfuta Mfuta - 6 November 2015

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