Mphoko's war history queried

HARARE - More questions have emerged about Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko’s self-touted liberation struggle credentials, amid stunning new claims that he went “AWOL” (absent without official leave) at the height of the war while in exile in Mozambique.

In an interview with the Daily News yesterday, former War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa said Mphoko, 75, had allegedly ditched his regiment in Mozambique to enjoy life with his then wife-to-be, Laurinda, who later became his wife in 1977. In June last year, firebrand former war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda claimed that Mphoko had “sold out” during the liberation struggle when he had allegedly diverted weapons meant for the late Joshua Nkomo’s Zapu to President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu — a move that Sibanda said could have led to the needless deaths of thousands of people.

Mutsvangwa said Mphoko “went AWOL” from Zapu’s military wing, Zipra, after he apparently fell in love with Laurinda — who is said to be related to the late Mozambican president Samora Machel — allegedly only re-surfacing after Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980.

Embattled South African President Jacob Zuma was the best man at Mphoko and Laurinda’s wedding in Maputo in 1977.

The couple have three children — Sikhumbuzo, Siduduzo and Siqokoqela.

Repeated efforts by the Daily News yesterday to get Mphoko to comment on the claims bore no fruit, as he did not respond to questions sent to him.

His aide, only identified as Ndlovu, requested for emailed questions and promised to respond by 2pm yesterday. The responses had not been sent to the Daily News at the time of going to print yesterday evening.

But Mutsvangwa was adamant that Mphoko had gone AWOL, apparently after being traumatised by what he had witnessed on the war front, after first enlisting in Zipra in a combat role.

“Mphoko came to Mozambique as part of Zipa (the Zimbabwe People’s Army, which was a combined military structure of Zipra and Zanla) in 1975 and was head of logistics.

“Zipa collapsed a couple of months down the line, (and one of the pioneers of the armed struggle, Rogers Alfred) Mangena and others went back to Zambia to resume operations as Zipra.

“He (Mphoko) didn’t go back with them. He remained in Maputo, and somehow got lost completely. That’s why nobody knows him in Zipra. Ask all the big numbers of Zipra cadres, they don’t know him because he was no longer part of the army.

“He was in Mozambique and eventually married a Mozambican woman. So for the crucial five years of that war (1975 until independence in 1980), he was absent. He is neither Zipra nor Zanla,” Mutsvangwa said.

“He got married to a family that was close to . . . Machel. The wife is Shangaan, you can check, a Chironga woman from the Maputo region. How can you have an absentee commander? He was not there for five years.

“The war is being fought from Zambia and he is in Mozambique. We in Zanla we don’t know him . . . ask (Zipra intelligence supremo Dumiso) Dabengwa. He was the man in charge of the Zapu forces. I can’t speak any better than Dabengwa,” he added.

Asked what then had resulted in Mphoko being catapulted to the vice presidency in 2014, Mutsvangwa said he was not sure, acknowledging that the president could appoint anyone he wished to, into his team.

“He definitely was on the sidelines of that war. He went AWOL. He AWOLed himself, got married and that’s okay? But you know, you don’t have those luxuries in the war, you run a normal life in a family during the heat of war?

“Dumiso was right that we don’t know where he came from,” he said.

Mutsvangwa also said he regretted chiding Dabengwa when he had initially questioned Mphoko’s struggle credentials when he was made VP.

“You know, I had to apologise in Entumbane (at the war veterans meeting that was held there last week) to Dabengwa, who is my commander from the Zipra side.

“He made some critical remarks against Mphoko when he was made VP. I said then, ‘why are we talking dirty linen about the war to people who were not in the war. There must be certain deference to him, why are we exposing each other?’

“It turns out I was wrong. He (Mphoko) owes allegiance to nobody . . . because he is being told by G40 (Zanu PF Young Turks opposed to embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa succeeding President Robert Mugabe) we can make you king, which is unfortunate.

“Even where he is now, he shouldn’t really be there. The last five years of that big war, the storm of the war, comes from 1975 to 1980, when the big numbers came in,” Mutsvangwa said.

He added that in his considered view, Dabengwa was supposed to be VP not Mphoko.

“Dumiso was senior. It’s unfortunate that he decided to follow (Solomon) Mujuru. If he had not gone, he could have occupied that place, and I think that was a bad and ill-advised decision,” Mutsvangwa said.

Asked what he thought of Mphoko’s time in office as VP, Mutsvangwa made it clear that he had little regard for Mugabe’s deputy.

“Look at his actions, where he doesn’t even appear to understand the dictates of the Constitution . . .  where he wants to subject himself to the authority of an unelected person because that person has got a marriage certificate . . . ,” he said derisively, apparent reference to Mphoko’s deference towards powerful First Lady Grace Mugabe.

In controversial comments that he made late last year, Mphoko said he was happy to be subordinate to Grace as she was Mugabe’s wife, and thus represented the president wherever she went.

“He respects the marriage certificate more than he respects the Constitution. We are an elected constitutional republic,” Mutsvangwa thundered.

Former war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda has previously claimed that Mphoko sold out during the liberation struggle when he allegedly diverted weapons meant for the late Joshua Nkomo’s Zapu to Zanu — a move that Sibanda said could have led to the needless deaths of thousands of people.

A number of Zapu bigwigs who spoke to the Daily News then — including Dabengwa and Thomas Ngwenya (a former deputy to Mphoko) — appeared to buttress Sibanda’s claims.

And Mphoko himself had previously admitted diverting the weapons meant for Zapu’s military wing, Zipra, to Zanu’s Zanla.

Mphoko has since filed a staggering $50 million lawsuit against the Daily News for carrying the Sibanda interview.

Curiously, he has to date not formally moved to either challenge Sibanda on his claims, or take him to court — choosing instead to take on the Daily News.

The Daily News is defending the matter.

Comments (22)

mphoko i mboko, maybe just maybe he is getting something from grace

Harare - 18 March 2016

Mboko allergience to Robert and Grace's marriage certificate. Thats the constitution he adhers to. Anything else is secondary to this man. When Mugabe dies, he will probably take Grace as his paying master and work at Gushungo trading. He is such a dull guy...you cant even understand him! dzakatombokwana mumusoro madzo dziya?

Peter Kufahakuurayi - 18 March 2016

Zvine basa rei?

MBC - 18 March 2016

Mphoko's issue reveals the crack into an ill-gotten right to identity of him by those vested with power to do so. This clearly tells the world there is no transparency in declaring one a hero, it's all about who is close to the president and what they did for him. It might be no surprise when one day we all hear how Mphoko landed in that office.Much could be hidden as to where he was hiding during the last 5 years of the war and why he chose to divert weapons to ZANLA. My question is it the only dirty linen about him or there is more.

Nkalankla - 18 March 2016

Mphoko you must be a lucky man. earning recognition from the sticks.

Nkalankala - 18 March 2016

All the vocal Zipra cadres spoke about this issue now this Chris fellow is now jumping on the bandwagon because he has been outed from Zanu. Mphoko crossed the floor during ZIPA and when it collapsed he joined Zanu & when he 'resurfaces' in 1980 he is CIO and then ambassador. Mugabe has the files. People like Chris Mutsangwa are cowards they go after Mugabe's poodles instead of going after him as he is the appointing authority. He is the one that appoints these incompetent and corrupt people. It starts and ends with him.

Black Diamond - 18 March 2016

mboko never joined zanla. he was living large in maputo, maybe spying for Mugabe, but not officially a zanla cadre. to cover up his sellout status, they arrested him together with zipra cadres during gukurahundi...but he was there to spy and give mugabe some details. all his life he has been selling his ass to the highest bidder. now he worships the ground that grace treads! a really poor soul. feel pity for his kids and grandchildren to have such a zundu for a relative.

Blunt - 18 March 2016

You know what we are tired of this thing of war .The war came and went 40 years ago still some fools are still having war hangover which makes them talk and talk about past squables which when it ended brought a lot of suffering in this country . We need to get rid of these morons from power and replace them with a civilian led govt which will create 2m jobs for our children . Just across our border in SA they fought the longest and one of the bloodiest wars in the world but you hardly hear Umnkhonto wesizwe bragging or talk about that everyday especially when they are cornered . Come 2018 so that civilians can finish off this nonsense by putting their civilian led govt in power . .

Diibulaanyika - 18 March 2016

This story is irrelevant, every Zimbabwean citizen has a constitutional right to be president or vice president irregardless of whether they are war veterans or not. What is important is running the country for the betterment of all struggling citizens. All ZANU PF cadres should be chucked out like weed because they are not adding value to the nation

Mentalist - 18 March 2016

@Diibulaanyika, you are absolutely correct. I am also sick and tired of this war talk. This is a war that took place almost forty years ago and people are still harping on about it as if it happened three years ago. This war has been abused and milked for anything you can imagine. In countries like Namibia and South Africa they no longer talk about the war like is done in Zim and yet their wars are more recent. Zimbabwe will only be a better place when these war mongers are removed from every position of leadership and replaced with people who will be judged by their performances and not a war which most people don't even remember.

Inyika - 18 March 2016

Yu culd move all harare hospital patients into Meikles ,for 300k.even prisoners that r crying for sadza nematemba culd be checked in at cresta lodge,all of them plus guards.its shamefull bt the hotel is making money.its disgusting to say the least.diplorable.inhuman.a disgrace to African people.jungle mind.

viola gwena - 19 March 2016

And this man culd end up being president.yu can expect the worst.matimaonei.atiadii.if he assumes the highest throne by default ,power being in him?vedu.

viola gwena - 19 March 2016

Saya sekeluarga mengucapkan banyak trima kasih kepada AKI MUPENG karena atas bantuannyalah saya bisa menang togel dan nomor gaib hasil ritual yang di berikan AKI MUPENG bener-bener dijamin tembus dan saat sekarang ini kehidupan saya sekeluarga sudah jauh lebih baik dari sebelumnya itu semua berkat bantuan AKI kini hutang-hutang saya sudah pada lunas semua dan.sekarang saya sudah buka usaha sendiri. jika anda mau bukti bukan rekayasa silahkan hubungi/sms AKI MUPENG di 0852 9445 0976, atau KLIK DISINI, insya allah angka beliau di jamin tembus dan beliau akan menbantu anda selama 3x putaran berturut-turut akan memenangkan angka togel dan ingat kesempatan tidak datang 2x,trima kasih.

IBU,FITRI SULISTIAWATI - 19 March 2016

people need food on thier table, not this war talk which is endless. After all Joshua Nkomo in his book " The story of my live" alluded to the fact that independence would have came earlier without even fighting had it not been for squables between ZAPU and ZANU

tony - 19 March 2016

Mboko is a diehard Mugabe loyalist who has done so much for his master, particularly getting Zupta to sanitize our elections in 2013, which really brought MDC T to its knees.Previously, he did some dirty work in Gaberone as Ambassador. Ask Ian. In my view, what he failed to do between 1975 and 1980, he more than made up for it , when uncle needed him most.He is a dutiful loyalist, and uncle finally noticed. Whether he is intelligent , brave or a craven coward, is wholly besides the point.

richola - 19 March 2016

The man is selfish that's why he stays in a hotel while the nation is struggling .His bootlicking comes to sustain himself be he doesn't have merit but he lives buy selling others out .

mbandaka bolomba - 19 March 2016

@Diibulaanyika is very correct. We are tired of this war veterans' war cries and war drums. By omission and commission war veterans have run this government for the past 35 years. The result, we are a failed state and worse off than we were in Rhodesia. What a shame! Give us a break about the war. Right now war veterans are a bunch of failures.

Mbareboy - 19 March 2016

HEY MUTSVANGWA AND DABENGWA, who said anyone who rules Zimbabwe or is next in command must be a war remnant??? Am asking? Spare us your war story, we have had enough about it, besides all your war stories seem not true. people who were serious about liberating this country died in the frontline, and you who remain making noise used to remain at the back (what is the opposite of frontline???help me am no war remnant). So please, damn shut the fuck up sir and go do your business which you claim gives you better life than wasted Zanoid months when yu were minister. I dont support Mphoko, but am disguste by your actions and comments. All you people shut the hell up when you are in those posts, only to open yopur fowl mouths when G40 has purged you. Wake up, its time to see you are not better than that mouse hiding from an owl. Shut up please you are making noise with your halitosis filled mouth

OBSERVER - 20 March 2016

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AZANTY - 27 March 2016

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AZANTY - 27 March 2016

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