Boot-licking killing Zanu PF — Dongo

HARARE - The Daily News senior writer Fungi Kwaramba (FK) speaks to firebrand war veteran Margaret Dongo (MD) in this exclusive interview.

FK: What is your take on the infighting in Zanu PF and when did it start?

MD: I happen to be a shareholder in Zanu PF by virtue of having fought in the liberation struggle. Regardless of my political views, I fought for the same objectives to free this country with many in Zanu PF.

FK: Do you think you have achieved what you fought for?

MD: Freedom comes in different packages. The first was political freedom and the second is economic freedom and I think this country is going through a crucial time and partly this is because of the discourse in Zanu PF. The discourse in Zanu PF is counterproductive and is derailing success in this country both politically and economically.

People have diverted their minds. Instead of focusing on the needs of the people, they are focusing on individualism. There is an element of selfishness which has been developed because of the fight for power.

FK: Where do you draw the inspiration to speak so strongly against Zanu PF, your former party and President Robert Mugabe?

MD: Let me say for the first time I was mentored by Sally Mugabe. She was my mentor right from the struggle to when I became a Member of Parliament. She could explain to people that Margaret had the intelligence and the will. So being my mentor, she always said there were certain things my husband needs to be told. Even though he does not receive them nicely, he needs to be told what is happening and Margaret, you have the character to speak your mind.  It is good for the country and it’s good for him too.

FK: In your view, what is causing the infighting in Zanu PF?

MD: If you look at factionalism that has ripped Zanu PF, it is something of their making. The person who has created the factions is Gushungo (Mugabe) himself. He is the one who has created those factions. He has been with the same people for 30 years. He knows their behaviour; he knows their orientation to power. There is nothing new that he does not know.

FK: Why do you think the President is fanning factionalism?

MD: Gushungo is using the divide and rule method. Once you divide people, they cannot come together and that is an advantage to one person.

FK: What do you make of the First Lady Grace Mugabe’s entry in politics?

MD: If you look at this system that Zanu PF has, it is like they are creating a monarchy or worse still, an Animal Farm where in actual fact you want to keep certain people in power without evaluating their history.

FK: The entrance of Grace Mugabe, how will it affect Zanu PF politics, is it a Sally Mugabe scenario?

MD: Sally was a freedom fighter, Sally fought during the liberation struggle. She played a very important role. She is the one who brought the Women’s League. Sally was a renowned politician. She was moving with the men but the (current) First Lady is a business person. She would be better at being a secretary for finance or indigenisation. 

FK: So why do you think she is entering into politics now?

MD: There is a faction that is using the First Lady. They are looking for protection from the First Family but indirectly. They are using her and they should not be allowed to use our First Lady like that. Why use her, she is an innocent person. She cannot hold that position because it is a hot seat that requires a politician who is experienced.

FK: Which faction do you think is using her?

MD: Whatever faction is using her, it is known by Bob, Gushungo knows it. The reason why those people proposed Amai to be the chair of women, they knew that since it had something to do with Bob, it was family. They never bothered to look at the credentials she holds. That faction that approached Bob to say we want Amai to be the Women’s League boss is the one using her

FK: You fought in the liberation war and there is an argument whether Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa participated in the bush war. Given your recollection, did he participate in the war?

MD: I am not looking at the war credentials of certain individuals because that is where the politics is coming from. You cannot blame someone today when he has been in power for 30 years. Why ask for the credentials of someone who has been holding a post for 20 years, but 30 years ago you never questioned. That is PHD (pull him down) politics.

FK: And also did vice president Joice Mujuru shoot down an enemy force helicopter during the war?

MD: Shooting or no shooting, it is not an issue, but she played her role in the liberation of this country. She is a freedom fighter, even if you are to ask who shot what, Mugabe didn’t shoot anyone. If you want to ask that, you are opening a Pandora’s box. Mugabe didn’t shoot anyone, Didymus didn’t shoot anyone, all of them didn’t shoot anyone. It is not an issue. The issue is about the well-being of this country, nothing else.

FK: There are reportedly two factions in Zanu PF, one led by Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and the other by VP Mujuru. As a former liberation war cadre, which faction do you believe should succeed Mugabe?

MD: It is not a question of preference. What you have to understand is that in every party, there will be factions. There are likely to be people who support X and people who support Y. People have different interests. As far as I am concerned, be it Amai Mujuru be it Cde Mnangagwa, these are experienced people who have the liberation (war) credentials.

FK: Do you see the President leaving office any time soon?

MD: They have now forgotten kuti pane nhaka mbiri ( there are two issues), one yekuti kana munhu afa (when one dies) we will write a will and his wealth and everything can be distributed within his family and the other one ndeye nyika (succession issue) This one you do not have to wait kuti munhu afe  (for one to die) because you go through an election. But it is proper in every country for a respected person like Gushungo to stand down and watch the succession (sic). People should not go to the national archives to see how this country has been destroyed. Now he (Mugabe) does not see how serious this is, vanhu vachaurayana  ( people will kill each other). He should move aside and watch from the stands.

FK: Do you think there is intellectual gravitas among the potential successors in Zanu PF to take over from Mugabe?

MK: If you look at the people who went to the liberation war, most of them have become educated and have the political orientation. The army generals were political cadres apart from the special duties they had. It was division of labour. We were once soldiers but we are now civilians. We have shrewd politicians within. They are a lot of leaders who can come in and lead the party. Why not open up and give a chance to the young generation to come in and take over.

FK: Apart from Amai Mujuru and Cde Mnangagwa, who else do you think has the ability to take over from president Mugabe?

MD: Mujuru and Mnangagwa are suffering for their own openness. Those who have not said anything are the cowards. They are the ones who are fanning factionalism because they are not bold enough to say their minds. Now they want to come back through the back door and pretend they are good. These are the people who sell something to Mugabe that is marketable like, ‘how about your wife becoming the secretary for women’s affairs?’

FK: Do you still have friends in Zanu PF?

MD: I do. Not only in Zanu PF. I have friends in Zanu, I have friends in Zapu, I have friends in the MDC, I have friends in Zimbabwe. I am a very sociable person, I speak my mind. Some like what I say and some don’t.

FK: In your interactions, may you give us a sense of what is the dominant feeling in Zanu PF right now?

MD: My God, there is a lot of disgruntlement within the party and the good thing is that they are not happy. The majority would want a situation where Bob would retire but they don’t have the guts to say it. When you meet them in private, they would say but mudhara akanya (Mugabe has messed up).

FK: When you were a legislator, you once famously said your fellow legislators were all Mugabe’s wives. Do you still believe that is the situation now?

MD: Being a feminist, in a way I would find a better way to say it. People today are led like sheep, it is a sad story and it is a pity. The worst thing is when they are with Mugabe, they would wish to do the Nigerian way of kneeling, vachinhanzva bhutsu (bootlicking), that is the majority.

FK: Do you see Zanu PF splitting along factional lines?

MD: Yes. If only there are people who have guts, then Zanu PF is heading for a split. If there are men who are men enough, then Zanu PF is headed for a split. If there are women who are women enough to be leaders, then yes, it will split. If there are people who are principled, who know the ideals of the liberation struggle, then they should head for a split because politics is not about power but about principles and issues. If you are principled, why should you align yourself to people who are greedy? The problem we have is we do not have people who have the guts. I will give an example when the late Edgar Tekere left, he was supposed to leave with a number of people including some from the politburo to be part of him. Same thing happened to Simba Makoni. He was told by gurus to leave Zanu PF and they would follow but politics in Zanu PF, mukaenda kunovhima mese, vakashaya kubata mhuka, vanodzoka vakatakura iwewe  ( Zanu PF is full of cowards).

FK: You speak highly of Sally Mugabe. Do you think she would be happy with the present situation?

MD: That woman mentored me. I stayed with her and learnt from her. She trusted me. I am telling you if she was to come back today, she would shed tears. She would be sad by the fact that this is not what she fought for. People are busy lying to Bob, creating empires at the expense of the people. People are suffering in this country.

FK: Who is to blame for this suffering?

MD: Mugabe. Mugabe is to blame, but there is no one with the guts (to tell him). Look at what happened to Cde Dzikamai Mavhaire when he said Mugabe should go. He had to sing hymn 100 ye Methodist kuti Baba ndiri mwana wenyu.( Father, I am your son) He paid dearly. He had to kneel down. So how many can be like Dongo, who can say no, something is wrong and we cannot be a part of this.

FK: What is your interpretation of the Unity Accord? Do you think a non-Zapu member should contest for the post of national chairman?

MD: By now there are no separate parties. The two became one in 1987 and people cannot continue to take advantage of that. You cannot have people who are incompetent because there is a unity accord.

Comments (7)

Hard talk!

Tawanda - 8 September 2014

hymn 100 mandipedza vatete haaya ini ndokumbirawo muite tete wangu

johngorowa - 8 September 2014

i always suspected kuti mukadzi uyu akangwara and today you confirmed it, Gushungo vauraya nyika, you cant blame the tree if you bump into it its your driving and there is only one driver at a time

Harare - 8 September 2014

Margarett Dongo is a very ,very rare character.No wonder she is a true war vet.She clearly knows what for the liberation war was fought.ZANU PF has lost it;hence they bend their own rules to promote undeserving people like Grace. Spending 10 hours on stupid infighting which has apparently dragged Mugabe in as he also fights for his wild wife.SORI KWAZVO!!!!

kAKARA KUNUNA - 8 September 2014

Very hard talk indeed. And very candid too. I nominate Margaret for chairperson of the Women's League! Any seconders?

Johno - 8 September 2014


water 1 - 8 September 2014


water 1 - 8 September 2014

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