Mnangagwa's war history questioned

HARARE - With the warring post-congress Zanu PF’s ambitious Young Turks, the Generation 40 (G40) faction, cranking up the heat on Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, veterans of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle have joined the fray, questioning the embattled VP’s struggle credentials.

Speaking in interviews with the Daily News on Sunday yesterday, three distinguished war veterans who were commanders during the liberation struggle, claimed that Mnangagwa was never part of the famous Crocodile Gang that was led by the late William Ndangana as the VP has consistently asserted.

They also claimed that Mnangagwa was a peripheral figure during the protracted liberation struggle and that his “only possible claim to fame” was that he was once allegedly married to the sister of the late decorated war commander, Josiah Magama Tongogara.

The claims come amid the worsening bad blood between Mnangagwa’s faction and the G40, who appear hellbent on thwarting the VP’s presidential aspirations — even going to the extent of roping in President Robert Mugabe’s increasingly influential wife, Grace, and the other VP, Phelekezela Mphoko, in the plot.

Until Grace and the G40 recently teamed up against Mnangagwa, the VP was well-poised to succeed Mugabe following last year’s brutal purging of former Vice President Joice Mujuru and her close allies from both the post-congress Zanu PF and government.

The liberation struggle veterans who spoke to the Daily News on Sunday yesterday said they were raising their doubts about Mnangagwa now because they were worried that Zanu PF was about to be led by “a person with a hazy history”, and who was allegedly “a stowaway who fled the country claiming to be a Zambian”.

One of the veterans, Retired Colonel Bastian Beta, said he had only met Mnangagwa once during the liberation struggle, “and then he was just a family visitor to the camp”.

“I only met him in 1978 when he came to the camp and we asked who he was, and we were told that it was Comrade Tongogara’s visitor. We were later shocked when we returned home to find that he was heading the security ministry,” Beta said.

Speaking in a recent interview with the UK-based New African magazine, Mnangagwa said that he was the head of security of Zanu and that he had conducted check-ups on recruits, something that war veterans now describe as a “bizarre” claim.

“The three check-ups were done by the commissariat department and included assessing someone’s background,” another war veteran, who preferred to be referred to only as Taitezvi and who was in charge of intelligence then, said.

A former member of the Zanla High Command, Parker Chipoyera, weighed in saying Mnangagwa had allegedly left many war veterans dispirited when he refused to assist them in 1976, “preferring rather to complete his academic thesis first”.

To augment their claims, the former freedom fighters also said that there were only five members of the Crocodile Gang and Mnangagwa was not one of them.

“The five were Sipho Ncube, William Ndangana, Cde Mlambo, Cde Dhlamini and Cde Master. They later scattered after they killed a white man at Nyanyadzi, with some going to Zambia. Sipho actually has a crocodile tattoo on his arm,” Chipoyera said.

Taitezvi added that he and Ndangana, who led the Crocodile Gang, had once done a documentary on the activities of the crocodile group and Mnangagwa’s name had not featured in the narrative.

“We went to Manicaland with Cde Ndangana where the Crocodile Group operated from. They gave me names of the members and there is no mention of Mnangagwa’s name.

“Ndangana led the group. We went to all places where the white man was killed,” Taitezvi who once worked in Zanu PF’s commissariat department said.

He added that the only time that he had met Mnangagwa during the struggle was during the Geneva conference.

“I saw him come to sit with us at the Zambia International Hotel where we stayed. He was in the dark about how the liberation struggle was being waged because he was actually enquiring from us.

“From there, we heard he was heading the security department, so I am saying from the documentary evidence we got from Cde Ndangana, Mnangagwa was not there,” Taitezvi said.

Chipoyera said there had never been “a single day” that Mnangagwa visited party offices while he was studying at the University of Zambia, adding that the VP did not even join the Zanu branch at the institution of higher learning.

“Cde (Hebert) Chitepo was there in Zambia and domiciled at party offices. Cde Kumbirai Kangai and others used to come to the party offices. The likes of Fay Chung, Sam Geza and others used to come attending conferences but he was never there maybe because he knew he would be interrogated about the circumstances surrounding his deportation from Zimbabwe,” he said.

According to the veterans, this was notwithstanding the fact that Zanu had had other students in Zambia who included Frederick Shava, Joseph Masangomai and Tungamirai Midzi.

The wartime commanders further claimed that Mnangagwa had allegedly refused to help guerrillas move out of a camp in Zambia, following an attack, saying he wanted to concentrate on his school work.

“We approached Cde Mnangagwa officially and said can you help us engage the Zambian authorities to cause the release of the comrades so that they can go to Zambia if they were no longer needed in Mozambique?

“He replied that he could not help us because he wanted to concentrate on his thesis. That left us dejected because we did not understand what was happening after Ndabaningi Sithole had also refused to help us saying he wanted to attend to his sick daughter in America,” Beta said.

He also questioned why, if Mnangagwa had played such a central role in the liberation struggle, he never made it to the top echelons of the military ranks during the war.

“The likes of Rugare Gumbo came all the way from America where they were students, were promoted into the Dare Rechimurenga, and one wonders why Mnangagwa, if he was in the thick of things, was never elected into the council or the general staff for that matter.

“He never associated with the party until he was taken to Mozambique by Cde Tongogara,” Taitezvi said.

Comments (57)

I tended to agree with this article. Reading from his speeches and topics, one can discern that this man is not guerilla material. He says absolutely nothing about the bush war. Yake ndeye gukurahundi. Varume, pane dhiri pamurume uyu na Mugabe. Pane yakatambika kudivi rezvemari mari uku. Nyatsotsvagiridzai.

banho - 27 September 2015

Zanu pf must put an end to all forms of lies within its family or lies will wipe out its entire clan. First it was the helicopter and now here we go again. Or Finally the amour shells/ catridges and helicopter wreckage will be shown to the public.

X-MAN IV - 27 September 2015

People contributed to the liberation of Zimbabwe in so many ways, instead lets use his education and experience to build a new Democratic Zimbabwe not South Korea, China or Russia.

Newnation - 28 September 2015

Nothing new here, everyone knows the guy's minimal contribution. Generally the people who make the most noise about the liberation war didn't do much, ED is one of them. But should we still be talking so much about the liberation war in 2015? Maybe not.

hokoyo - 28 September 2015

Of course many war veterans inflate their war history, and Mnangagwa may not be an exception. Although quite effective, the Rhodesian air force was small. However, with all those claims about most guerillas downing an aircraft each, the Rhodesian airforce would have been wiped out within a month. This is how you find out that most guerillas would by lying about their personal war experiences. Still, I agree that they did a great job of liberating us, but we should now be looking for a president who can take this country forward, whilst satisfying the objectives of the liberation struggle. We did not fight to give a chance to the ruling class to be rich, but to give everyone a chance to survive honestly, in peace and freedom. War credential alone should not be taken to be enough for one to be our president.

machakachaka - 28 September 2015

but why fret ourselves with liberation struggle's history??? is that going to pay my uni fees ??? is that going to reinstate the said 20000 fired employees??? is that going to buy me my next meal??? this is what we have become ...... a nation so concerned with who did what some 40 yrs ago leaving plans for our future in the hands of fate in the process. it is my opinion we focus more on our ailing economy rather than questioning who fired more bullets in the struggle. ask those doing the "questioning" what they are doing in the day to day running of the country.... talking .... hahaha nemiwo Daily News mava kuadopta that culture hmm msatidaro guys

gnomic - 28 September 2015

This seems to be 100% correct I remember very well that Mnangagwa said himself that he was at Zipra camp in 1962 where he claims they sentanced him to death for insulting nkomo, at one time he claimed to have been sentenced to death by the Smith regime which proves to be blue lie also. We all know that when they came into power they killed most genuine war veterans and some were sidelined,

Mbare musika - 28 September 2015

ED is a true veteran ,people mustn't hate him of his past with ED Zim will have a leader with a integrity watch the space

zvishavane - 28 September 2015

The only good thing is that we are now free and Ngwena played his card to the top. These so called "commanders" are just "drunkards" like Kasukuwere said. Don't tell us bullshit 35years after independence.

Sakazvinebasarei - 28 September 2015

So someone is a gukurahundi hero?

gukura orphan - 28 September 2015

Munangagwa was in ZAPU, and went to Egypt ZAPU offices soon after his degree in Zambia. He was secretary for youth wing. The youth revolted against Nkomo (after Nkomo had sent out some communique that the youth disagreed with). As youth secretary Munangwagwa had signed a communique disagreeing with Nkomo. Dabengwa arrested Munangagwa (and the two have never been friends since that day) and Nkomo sentenced Munangangwa to death. (No wonder why Munangagwa has no kind words for Nkomo). Whilts in death row in Egypt, Munangagwa's cell was guarded by a home boy, a man who was from Zvishavane and a member of ZAPU. The two talked and discovered that they were homeboys. The guard then plotted Munangagwa's escape from the cell in Egypt. From there Munangagwa left ZAPU and joined ZANU in Mozambique in 1978. Because he was degreed, Munagnagwa became Mugabe's private secretary, to whom he confided many issues. This is how Munangagwa went to become CIO Minister soon after Independance. It is true that he is very very junior when it comes to war history.

Danai Pazvagozha - 28 September 2015

The guy is Zambian his family was always in zambia up to today its still there . Recently he went to bury his brother in Zambia . He was just enjoying himself in Zambia while other war volunteers were suffering in the shacks which were meant to be camps .Well I want to point out that Mungagwa is former member of zapu like all those in zanu bcoz zanu is a faction of zapu so he may have taken time to defect to a tribalist zanu .But all in all he is a Zambian who took war as part time thing for him as he was living comfortably with his family Zambia chipolopolo.

Diibulaanyika - 28 September 2015

Should we be taking so much time talking about who did what or who did not do what in a war that finished more than 35 years ago? I think this whole war talk has dragged Zim back big time. We need to see beyond people like EDM and focus on what we can do in a future Zim. Lets not focus too much on people like EDM who are well past their use by date and lets garner a new future where we will put Zim back on the world map.

Inyika - 28 September 2015

No-one mentions why Ngwena was in prison or whether it is a lie. Or is it lies again nhai Reporter

changara - 28 September 2015

Changara, Ngwena was in prison because he had bombed and derailed a Rhodesian goods train in Masvingo.

machakachaka - 28 September 2015

hondo yakapera kare kare,tatisipo hatina kanabasa nayo,toda food,magetsi,vana vaende kuskool kwete matakadya kare.

gono - 28 September 2015

Parker is one of those comrades arrested during the struggle nenyaya yekupanduka. Its the same group of rebels referred to as "vashandi" who among them included Rugare Gumbo. He has issues with Mnangagwa because when they were rounded up in Mozambique in 1977/78 Ngwena was the head of Security of ZANU while (Fox) Late General Zvinavashe was head of ZANLA security. I can understand his sympathy with Rugare Gumbo. Bastian Beta is a confused guy. Yes he was a member of the general staff and joined the ZNA at independence. He was forced into early retirement in the late 80s after some disciplinary problems, he retired as a lieutenant colonel (not Colonel as being suggested in the story). He is a very close relative of Mai Mujuru, that's why he was not court-martialed. Some time during the pick of the land reform, after being paid by some white farmers Bastian and his group tried in vain to form a splinter war verterans association to rival the one led by Jabulani Sibanda then. It was common knowledge among war verterans then that the group was sponsored by white farmers and Solomon Mujuru was also behind the group. So if the Daily news uses these rebels as prominent war verterans, it's only misleading the people. Mnangagwa was head of security in ZANU and not ZANLA that's why he could not be in the General Staff or High Command of the ZANU military wing. Daily news journalists should do a bit of research on their own before taking hook and sinker some of these stories purpoted to be from authentic war verterans. Because readers who are well informed will end up doubting the credibility of the paper.

Nedzo - 28 September 2015

"only possible claim to fame was that he was once allegedly married to the sister of the late decorated war commander, Josiah Magama Tongogara" - That same pattern continues to this day. Mugabe and his minions Mungangwa et al have been bending the truth about the history of the struggle for years & killed off those with balls to challenge the narrative. Mujuru and Diesel cant say much because theirs is suspect too & have benefited from being elevated to something they are not.

Galore 123 - 28 September 2015

Mnangagwa never went to prison in Zimbabwe he actually grew up in Zambia

mbare - 28 September 2015

People should not waste time speculating; why not ask the following to tell us more truths: Dydmus Mutasa Teurai Ropa Mujuru Rugare Gumbo etc, etc.

Sekuru Ndoronga - 28 September 2015

Nedza , you seem to have beef with Gen Mujuru, why. Even Mugabe who by the way joined the war very late as he was busy teaching and looking for gils in Ghana, got accepted in Mozambique because of support by Mujuru, Rex Nhongo, the one who single handedly ingnited the war in Mt Darwin, and th fame went far afield into whole country. surely even Mugabe was an opportunist. id Sthole bdabaningi had not spoken badly about the war, then mugabe was just a Biti in the MDCT

Danai Pazvagozha - 28 September 2015

Nedza ndiye aneyese

buster - 28 September 2015

Everyone in Zanu pf has two files kept. One for praise and the other one to bring you down when they feel you are no longer one of them. Let's wait and watch this movie unravel before us. Rugare Gumbo stood up for the President as spokesman during his trying times and when they booted him out, they questioned his patriotism back from the colonial era. Regai tione

Bla Kodza - 28 September 2015

Ngwena is an imposter, and a Mugabe tool. He was married to Tongogara's sister, and Tongo was lynched. He and Rex accompanied Mugabe back into Zimbabwe to campaign for Elections and Rex has since been lynched. He led the CIO through Gukurahundi, through disappearance and death of many prominent people on behalf of Mugabe. Mugabe is the devil, and Mnangagwa is the Devil's son. Lookout Masuku, Captain Nleya, Rashiwe Guzha, all those skeleton in mineshafts....this man is not electable...he is a killer, a cruel one for that matter. He has done a lot of dirt for Mugabe so much that even Grace does not trust him. No one in Zanu PF trusts him. And you say we must forget about his history...no no no too many people perished because of this man, and we shall not forget. He owes his history to Mugabe and his political life will disappear with the demise of Mugabe. Ngwena is a lynchpin not a Kingpin!

Jah Black - 28 September 2015

Munangagwa is a sidlova ubhinya sigebenga who together with mujuru commanded the tribal army gukurahundi to butcher innocent people for no reason . You can look at his face he is a menemene who is not clear in what he does . During the war he was a part time terrorist who would spend most of his time with his family in Zambia .We must be careful not to put another foreign in power after a son of a migrant has totally run down former africa number two economy .

Diibulaanyika - 28 September 2015

So these guys went to war not to liberate but to beocome presidents. In another ten years or so where will be the veterans? whos is going to be president?

James Gray - 28 September 2015

Whatever you say people, Mnangagwa's liberation credentials out weighs most if not all his critics.......I was there when H.E asked Mnangagwa to narrate how they kept Rugare Gumbo in a makeshift jail (hole) in Mozambique .....he is a true War veteran who did what most could not do........

Cde Ngwena - 29 September 2015

@Cde Ngwena and we love him so much for that. Daily news nommater how you try his true constituency will never deny him.

Wezhira - 29 September 2015

Wezhira, don't be tribal about this, it has nothing to do with Ngwena being a Karanga. The history of this Garwe is repugnant. Yes he knows what happened to Rugare Gumbo coz lynching true freedom fighters is what Mnangagwa's specialist was albeit for 3 years only i.e. 1978-1980. Mugabe only got to Mozambique camps in 1977, after that, that is when you start to hear of Ngwena as Mugabe's security guard. Both Mugabe and Mnangagwa did not fire a gun against the oppressor but instead as power mongers they formed a coalition to grab power for themselves and suppress any opposition to Mugabe's rule. Instead of fighting the oppressor, Mugabe and his son Ngwena were busy killing their own for power's sake. CIOs, like CIA agents are not freedom fighters but kill people to protect those in power. They are appendages and tools of power preservation. They don't obey the law or protect rights but protect their masters and their interests. Mnangagwa is not a freedom fighter but a power apparatus. He said himself, he was trained NOT to fight for freedom but to kill!!!!! not Presidential material at all. Ngwena could not win an election against Chibundo who was just a school teacher. If an election is held today, Ngwena can not win against Tsvangirai or even Biti. He will be thrashed by Amai Mujuru. Tyson and Johnso they know that Ngwena is not electable. Zanu PF will be digging its own grave (since its dead already) to bury itself if they let Ngwena be their President elect. A mass murderer can not be Presidential material!

Jah Black - 29 September 2015

AAAAAAH AAAAAH and this is the man who had the audacity to call Father Zimbabwe a ''sell out''? first of all may I congratulate the Zanla commander for exposing these false heroes, we knew the truth will come out. I cant believe he ran away to Zambia to study and refused to help fellow comrades in need. HAAAAAAAAAAAAAA the real sell out with no war credentials at all. Ngwena as his loyalist call him. Yingwenya kumbe nguMpankwa???

Zanu Yeropa - 29 September 2015

wish I could attach pictures for you to see.....he was there and he did much more than these sell-outs claim.......he is a true war veteran kudarika Mai Mujuru.......kkkkkk

Cde Ngwena - 29 September 2015

@ Jah Black, i think you read a very shallow history book about E.D.....He joined the liberation struggle way before the date you have narrated and in 1978 he had done more harm to the Smith regime than Gumbo you are talking about......tsvaka more information zijaya usati wanyora zva2000.....hamuna zvamunomuita and the truth be told iye Rugare Gumbo and his associates know kuti they are far too junior to Ngwena.....records to prove that are are there.......

Cde Ngwena - 29 September 2015

Danai Pazvagozha how old are you? if you weren't there yourself whoever told you this story is high up there........

chicken inn - 29 September 2015

@zvishavane,To be respected is one thing,to be feared is another.vanaNgwena venyu avs havapinde panyanga kani.vakatobhaiza kare .

Chibwe Chitedza - 29 September 2015

all lies!!! vamwe vainzi vakadonhedza mahelicopter, vamwe vainzi vaive mucrocodile group, nanhasi munovati ngwena. who is fooling who for real. one day all the bloody lies will be exposed. regai timboona zvedu maBorn free.

rambai makashinga - 29 September 2015

@Ngwena.you can love your ngwena a million times who cares.We won't even admire that coz we are happy with the ones we love.meet you in 2018.

Chibwe Chitedza - 29 September 2015

Ngavatibvire zvedu dofo rinongofunga kubata gidi chete ndokugwa hondo vanenjere vanobetsera panhaurirano yacho yekuti vanhu vasununguke . Dai ose maCde arimadofo aitengesa nyika samadzitateguru aisana vasingagoni kuvara . Ko ndivhunzewp zvino Mnangagwa akasungigwei akagara mujere kuti anga aba mombe here . Ko Dr Tafirenyika Mukanya havana kugwa hondo here nengoma . Manje Shumba Mrambwe hamuvagoni mutunhu unemago

MukarangawekuMberengwa - 29 September 2015

put options which allow the inception of pics tikusendereyi ngwena irimusangu isu

tamuka - 30 September 2015

Ha ha ha Ngwena, what history are you talking about. Mnangagwa can not win an election, that is a fact. On the other hand Amai Mujuru has never lost an election since 1980, always got the highest votes since then. Going for training does not make one a freedom fighter ask Johnso. The fact is Mnagagwa was trained by Zapu, he defected to Zanu after being stuck in Egyptian prison. He was helped by Mugabe to escape to Mozambique where he found Rugare Gumbo and Amai Mujuru already Commanders in the camps. Mugabe brought him to spy on true Freedom Fighters who were sceptical about Matibili's leadership. In fact most Freedom Fighters including President Samora Machel did not trust Mugabe and his side kicks. It was only Rex Nhongo who saved Mugabe from being rejected by true war veterans. Mugabe and Ngwena have 3 things in common: 1. they are both of foreign parentage (Malawi and Zambia) 2. They are both cowards who preferred to study while Tongo and Rex were at the front fighting the racists, AND their joint fame is the persecution of true freedom fighters. 3. They are both fakes. Mnagagwa is not a Shumba coz he s Zambian and Mugabe is not a Gushungo because he is a Matibili. Everything about these two is fong-kong! You can like Ngwena but the people have rejected him many times at the poll, that is why even the Zanu PF commissar does not see him as electable. These are undeniable facts.

Jah Black. - 30 September 2015

I believe kana pakasarohwa vanhu, Ngwena will never win a fair election! He is a good minister and war veteran but certainly not presidential material. Dr Grace is by far much better!

SoWhat - 30 September 2015

@Inyika. So from today he will be known as Chipopolo not ngwena.

Chibwe Chitedza - 30 September 2015

@Mukarangawekumberengwa.Kwangosara mutunhu chete mago akasotama karekare.

Chibwe Chitedza - 30 September 2015

iyee akaty nyika inotongwanevakarwa hondo ndiyani,we are leaders of tommorow,so whom are we going to fight with so that we can be more qualified.leadership is all about vision ,mission and determination ,patriotic,narrow nationalism and willingness to help people and the country so as to achieve a common ending.hondo ,hondo kuda kuita kuty zvityise varambe ne zvigaro uko.

vanoremekedzwa comrade gabarinocheka - 1 October 2015

true leadership means maintaining a good and sound economy which benefits every zimbabwean

vanatayaura - 1 October 2015

May the writer of this article please request the same war veterans he interviewed to shed more light about a guerrilla called Wilfred 'Cde Dzino' Mhanda. His role role in the struggle, his seemingly exclusion after independence, and why he died a commoner! The war veterans must know, because l agree with them on Mnangagwa, not him alone, many in Zanu PF. The real fighters, some of them we just dont bother about them tichiti hah, ibenzi iro, as we come across them in town.

Freedom - 2 October 2015

Manga muriko? Regai EDM atonge,hondo munoyi ziva imi

wezhira - 3 October 2015

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