Confusion over Tongogara

HARARE - There has been confusion over the late decorated general, Josiah Magama Tongogara’s honour, after Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa on Friday said he was unaware of the memorial, amid claims that the revolutionary party is neglecting the commander’s family.

When contacted by the Daily News for comment over the commemoration, Mutasa professed ignorance on the issue.

“I do not know about it. I am hearing it for the first time,” Mutasa said before referring further questions to the people that were present at the function held on Boxing Day.

Tongogara who led Zanla, the Zanu military wing during the liberation struggle, died on December 26, 1979 in mysterious circumstances after the ceasefire, but 33 years later, his wife and family are struggling to make ends meet.

He was appointed military commander of Zanla and chairman of the high command in 1972. In 1973 he became chief of defence in Dare reChimurenga, the Zanu Supreme Council directing execution of the war.

The event which was held at the National Heroes Acre and at King George VI Barracks in Harare was reportedly attended by some service chiefs and other government officials including light weight minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi.

However, with Mutasa claiming he was not aware of such an event, there is clear confusion over the respect bestowed on the iconic liberation hero.

According to a local state newspaper, Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi delivered a speech, which was read on his behalf by acting commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Perrance Shiri.

“For many Zimbabweans, particularly those that participated in the liberation struggle, the name Tongogara was synonymous with Zanla’s successful prosecution of the liberation struggle. At the inaugural commemorations held last year, His Excellency President Mugabe explicitly indicated that Cde Tongo envisioned a Zimbabwe that is free and unshackled by settler colonial racism. A Zimbabwe of equals in all spheres of human effort,” Sekeramayi said.

Prior to the commemoration, family, friends, senior Government officials and service chiefs reportedly congregated at the National Heroes Acre in Harare for the general’s memorial service.

However, several claims have been levelled against the ruling party over its neglect of the Tongogara family.

Tongogara’s wife Angeline at one point reportedly approached the then Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, claiming government had neglected her.

In an interview with a local newspaper last year, Angeline poured her heart, claiming, she was not even given the opportunity to view Tongogara’s body and still had questions over how her husband died.

Unlike surviving heroes like vice President Joice Mujuru, a subordinate of Tongogara during the liberation struggle—who occupy VIP positions during state functions—Angeline jostles for seats with ordinary people.

She was a major in the army after independence and only read of her dismissal in a newspaper.

“I left the army on a very sad note. I was at home and I was called by Rex (late army general Solomon Mujuru) who asked me in his usual stammering voice whether I had read the paper. I had not seen the paper. So I later bought the Herald and it was reported that there are some soldiers that had been retired from service and were re-assigned to work at parliament. There was Cde Maseko, Cde Mahlaba, myself and a fourth person I can’t remember his name. This was done without consulting me at all,” she said.

Capitalising on the magnetic name of Tongogara, Mugabe’s Zanu PF helped the family of the liberation war icon to launch the Tongogara Legacy Foundation but Angeline wants more.

“As the wife of Cde Tongo and as the mother of his four children, my request is that please, please can you arrange for me to go and see where my husband died.

“I want a plaque to be erected there and I will tell you what to write on that plaque because ndini muridzi wemurume (because I am his wife). The history of Zimbabwe will be incomplete if people don’t know where this iconic general passed away,” Angeline said.

Comments (19)

General Tongo was murdered because he had become very unpopular with those who form the core of the ruling cabal, just as what they did to General Mujuru. Tongo stood for the truth and that's why they forcibly put him to sleep. And it is because of their hurt for the truth that we have seen them seek to slander the iconic Nelson Mandela . vanoda kuti vanzi ndivochete vanogona ivo chiita mabasa ehumhondi nokuba. False prophets who shall have their day on the gallows.

murderers and crooks - 30 December 2013

Tongogara. What a name. They speak highly of their General and thus all. So Josiah died after making his position clear on what he wanted to be done in Zimbabwe as the country approached voting. Tell me what is the relationship between Josiah's death and Machel's Spotter plane

papaya - 30 December 2013

Zvimwe zvonrambirwawoka zvakaoma. Why refuse her to see where her husband died really. Ndozvinoita titi panekahumhondi kakaitwa chete apa. But hey they seem to have gotten away with it we will see.

Maita Manyuka - 30 December 2013

Tongogara is one of the few ZANLA commandos / commanders whose history is NOT blemished with Gukurahundi and 2008 atrocities. I think all progressive democrats from our beloved Shurugwi should organise Mother to visit Mozambique. C'mon folks, let's shame ZANU-PF!

Rejoice Ngwenya - 30 December 2013

I have an interview of Gen Tongoya on video where he talks about how after a deadlock of the Lancaster Hse conference he and Peter Walls excused everybody & they concluded the deal as military people. I brought in from Moza wen we came back from the war. We are free today because of Gen Tongo and Nhongo and Walls who accepted defeat. Pampering neZanu chaiyo

Dzino - 30 December 2013


GGGG - 30 December 2013

If this happens to a family of a well known somebody, what more of the families of thousands of less known boys & girls, women and men who perished in the bush and lie in unmarked graves or their bodies devoured by wild animals.

Sad Indeed - 30 December 2013

Tongogara was the mastermind of our Independance!The guy was more superior to the current President.At one point Mugabe was put under house arrest in Mozambique after he was accompanied to the Camps in Mozambique by Edgar Tekere.Tongogara fumed akati"Auya nemunhu uyu pano ndiani?"One thing I know for sure about the current president,he does not forgive once he hate someone!

man of war - 30 December 2013

man of war you're right. harahwa iripaState house ndiyomutakati apedza vamwe. munangagwa has merely been assigned to commit horrendous crimes by the deluded old crook under the false impression that he will become the next president. its barbaric politics at play here.

revolutionary - 30 December 2013

zimbabwe today is looking for courageous man who can stand up to the demonic machinations of these ruling murderers, thieves and liars . we must conquer our fear. These monsters don't warrant the fear the nation has of them mhani.

gandanga - 30 December 2013

This reporter, Tendai Kamhungira, writes a load of nonsense all the time. He is one of those reporters trying to curry favour with ZanuPF by licking their backsides. Let me be very clear as a person who voted Zanu into power in 1980. The fighting by Zanu and Zapu had no bearing whatsoever to do with blacks governing in this country. There is no connection whatsoever with what Tongagara and others in Zanu did because blacks were governing BEFORE Zanu and Zapu negotiated to be included in the political process. This reporter shows he knows nothing about the true events. Zanu and Zapu used the wrong strategy up to 1979. Without our votes Zanu would not have got into power. They should be thanking us for voting them into power not big themselves when they did not win anything. What a stupid reporter this tendai Kamhungira is.

Musona - 30 December 2013

Sekuru imhondi chaiyo. Dai cde Tongo varivapenyu, sekuru vaidano vakabva pachigaro kare kare. Cde Tongo was just like Mandela in his principles and thinking. O how we wish he had known that sekuru wanted to kill him and protected himself!

Chatambudza - 30 December 2013

Mapfupa a Tongo na Nehanda amuka. The stalled and hijacked liberation struggle has just resumed. Just visit Zimbabweans United for Democracy (ZUNDE) at

ZUNDE - 30 December 2013

Mugabe and his cronies failed the people period. Sanctions are there but I can list countries that are under sanctions and are thriving...How can one possibly sleep when the entire nations has no clean tapped water! This is a basic human right that he has failed, yes we need electricity and good road networks, but really, water?

Asijiki Jukwa - 31 December 2013

I will never sympathised with the late powerhungry Josiah Tongogara becoz he connived with his fellow Vhitori/Mafia to assassinate the brilliant Herbert Wilshire Chitepo ,the Zanu Chairman who had qualified as Zim/Southern Africa `s 1st Black Lawyer.It was Tongogara who spearheaded Chitepo`s assassination ably supported by Rugare Gumbo,Kumbirai Kangai,Robson Manyika,Zvinavashe,Dauramhanzi,Mukudzei Midzi,Henry Hamadziripi,Rex Mujuru,Chigowe&Mpunzarima.The Vhitori Mafia went on eliminate Chitepo`s fellow Manyikas in Zambia namely Mukono,Mataure&Sanyanga in a vicious tribal crusade to rid the Dare off Manyikas.Indeed Chitepo was going to make a brilliant Leader 4 the Country had he not been killed by his fellow Colleagues after he left a lucrative Job as Tanzania`s Director of Prosecutions to head off to Zambia to spearhead the Liberation War.Chitepo was killed in Lusaka,Zambia on 18March 1975.However the powerhungry Tongogara was taken out by the evil ,equally powerhungry Matibili.Chaasina kuziva TONGOGARA ndechekuti ukatamba nebanga unofa nebanga!.

Dr ZVICHAPERACHETE - 31 December 2013

What i am narrating here is what i heard about the late Tongo's death from an old Mozambican gentleman i gave a lift from Maputo sometime last year in his late 70s. He told me that after the lancaster house meeting they came back to Mozambique and gathered together to iron out a few things preparing to come back home for elections. during the meeting an altercation erupted as they were not agreeing on what they had agreed in London and Tongogara then pulled his revolver and unfortunately he was shot down and one junior doctor that was there tried to resuscitate him failed. a plan was worked on to transport him upto the border and make a claim that he died in a car crush. this was meant so that they would not have problems with Samora Machael who was Tongogara's best friend. Telling Machael that Tongogara was dead while in Mozambique was going to stall everything.

wezhara - 1 January 2014

I agree with you Zvichaperachete. Tongo was detained in Zambia for the asassination of Chitepo. Combined with the fact that Tongo wanted the liberation forces to fight the elections as the Patriotic Front he became a target. RGM knew how Tongo had a disdain for the 'civilian' leadership and took him out before he did him a Chitepo.

tsoka - 1 January 2014

Ladies and Gentlemen, past is past.That was war.That is how war is like.Some die some make it. As an army leader,he killed so many.Killed or not killed Tongo is no more.Why talking about him today.I'm against the compensation of war vets.those guys where not employed.they sacrificed for the love of their nation.they must not be compensated any how.Mai Tong as a warrior has ample time and opportunity to track how and where her husband died.Why now and why visiting MDC?Cheap politics!!Politics of the stomach!!she want Government to keep on pumping out rate payers money by taking her to Mozambique.What a spoiled lady.We are hungry out here?No money for nonsense destinations.Let us join hands and say no to spoon feeding.there is nothing fishy about showing her where the accident occurred.the government can take her anywhere in Mozambique or tell her where, to save the day.The woman is trying to use her Husband name to exchange with a pierce of cake from the lucrative MDC.What is so special about going to Mozambique of which is not achievable.

samuel Gweshe - 1 January 2014

zimwe zinonetsa kuziwa,but foul play may ka kikikiki

tkzee - 2 January 2014

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