By Our Correspondent
HARARE – Former Zimbabwean Defence Minister, Enos Nkala has said that Josiah Tongogara, a former ZANLA guerrilla leader, was assassinated by President Robert Mugabe for having close links with former ZIPRA intelligence supremo – Dumiso Dabengwa.
ZANLA was the military wing of Mugabe’s ZANU (PF) party, while ZIPRA fought under the control of PF-ZAPU, which was being led by Joshua Nkomo, who is now late.
Although the two parties and their military wings fought for the same goal of realising Zimbabwe’s independence from Britain, they were protagonists and Nkala this week cliamed that Tongogara was killed for his ties to Dabengwa.
"Tongogara was eliminated because of his close liaison with Dumiso Dabengwa, the former ZIPRA military intelligence supremo," said Nkala, a Ndebele politician who is one of the most hated by his own tribesman for his support of Mugabe’s Gukurahundi massacres, in which the geriatric killed an estimated 20 000 Ndebele civilians between 1980 and 1987, in his bid to decimate ZAPU.
Tongogara died in a car crash in northern Mozambique on December 24, 1979 soon after the Lancaster House Conference that paved way to Zimbabwe’s independence a year later.
The popular guerrilla leader was visiting ZANLA guerilla camps based in that country to inform his subordinates of the outcome of the conference and the beginning of their return to their home country.
"I know who killed Tongogara," added Nkala who would, however, not reveal any names.
Nkala nonetheless gave a hint when he said, "If he had come back, the whole army of liberation forces who hero-worshipped him would have agitated for Tongo to become the country's leader and Mugabe knew that pretty well."
Without doubt, this was an innuendo in which Nkala was implicating Mugabe in Tongogara’s death, thereby cementing widely-held suspicion that Mugabe was indeed responsible for his former guerilla leader’s death.
It is strongly believed that Mugabe has never trusted Dabengwa and last year, the octogenarian ruler tried to assassinate arguably the most respected Ndebele politician and former Home Affairs minister, who had just ditched ZANU (PF) for Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn project, which was fronted by Simba Makoni.
This was after the two former ZANU (PF) Politburo members had vainly tried behind-the-scenes manoeuvres to have the 85-year-old Mugabe replaced as ZANU (PF) leader and Presidential candidate in the country’s March 29 elections.
Mugabe later lost the elections to Morgan Tsvangirai of the mainstream Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) but later claimed victory in the June 27 run-off, described as a "sham", after Tsvangirai had withdrawn, citing widespread violence that resulted from Mugabe’s campaign of retribution.
Dabengwa is currently the interim chairman of the revived ZAPU, which recently pulled out of a 1987 Unity Accord with Mugabe’s party, citing Mugabe’s failure to follow the letter and spirit of the Accord and the alleged assassination attempt as some of its main reasons.
Nkala has over the past two weeks been on "revelation spree" of Mugabe’s alleged assassinations of former party members who were allegedly killed for challenging his failed rule.
He also alleged that his successor as Defence Minister, Moven Mahachi was eliminated for his robust opposition to Zanu-PF leadership's unbridled looting of diamonds in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Nkala, formerly the Minister of Finance, National Supplies, Home Affairs and of Defence expanded on allegations he made last week that Mahachi, was also assassinated at the behest of Mugabe.
"Moven was an outsider in an exclusive club - the Committee of 26 - comprising politicians of Zezurus and Korekore origin. This committee of looters have controlled the army, the police, the CIO and appear to think that they went to war for self enrichment," Nkala said.
"To them, Mahachi was an obstacle in the quest to amass wealth using the pretext of fighting a prolonged war to restore sovereignty in the DRC just as they had done in Mozambique during the military campaign against Renamo. So he had to go."
Mahachi, a Manyika died aged 49, in a car crash on May 26, 2001. His Range Rover vehicle was reported to have collided with a smaller car as he travelled from Mutare to Nyanga after he attended a Zanu-PF Manicaland provincial meeting in his capacity as National Political Commissar.
Nkala added that Mugabe’s killing "phenomenon can be traced to Hebert Chitepo, Josiah Magama Tongogara, Chris Ushehokunze, and others like Sydney Malunga, Border Gezi and lately Elliot Manyika."
"The irony of it all is that Mugabe declares his victims national heroes. He is an opportunist who has used "omafikizolos" (Johnny-come-latelies) to do his dirty work if he feels surrounded by strong personalities whom he fears might eclipse him.
Nkala said he had not spoken before about Mahachi's death and other issues which he says are revealed in detail in his forthcoming book, which he says "chronicles goings-on in ZANU since its formation and the chicanery that led to the crafting of the Gukurahundi massacres in Matabeleland and the Midlands in the early 1980s".
"Gukurahundi had its seeds sown during our long years of detention in various detention camps," Nkala said.
"It was not a spontaneous reaction to lies about ZAPU wanting to overthrow the government or Mugabe wanting to establish a one-party state as widely believed."
"It was premeditated ethnic cleansing, which had been simmering since our early years in detention. The arms caches on ZAPU properties were a perfect excuse to unleash the notorious Five Brigade on the Ndebeles to avenge what their ancestors had done to the Shona people."
It was Nkala who established the dreaded Police Internal Security and Intelligence unit (PISI), a counterpart of the Central Intelligence Organisation, but operating within the police, when he was Minister of Home Affairs.
PISI terrorised and incarcerated scores of ZAPU supporters.
Nkala says that his book, "salted" abroad for safety, would be published only after his death, in a bid to "protect people named in it from possible victimization or elimination".
"The book opens a can of worms and efore its publication, I challenge people like Emmerson Mnangagwa, Sydney Sekeramayi who have headed the Security and Defence ministries, Robert Mugabe and me to a Truth and Reconciliation Commission about the atrocities that have been committed by this government.
"The commission will not be presided over by a local judge because the judges have been compromised."
He said in the event of his death before he had completed the book he has
instructed his publishers to release the book.
"If you want to know more about Robert Mugabe, seek for a day when you call Mugabe, (former ZANU PF secretary general, Edgar) Tekere and myself with some respectful people sitting there. He will chicken out. Why, because he knows we will dress him down and tell him who he is. I am not back-biting," Nkala recently told a press conference after a seminar to formulate Zimbabwe’s, Vision 2040, referring to President Mugabe. ZT/Zimdiaspora
Source:The New African Times