Former freedom fighter, Dumiso Dabengwa, has made a sensational revelation that the persecution of the late Father Zimbabwe Joshua Nkomo’s PF Zapu supporters started when the British appeared to be on the side of Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party instead of Nkomo’s Zapu.
Speaking at a peace and reconciliation indaba on Friday in Bulawayo attended by hundreds of people, Dabengwa said a top military intelligence officer once told a high-level intelligence meeting attended by him, then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe, State Security Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, former Zipra commander Lookout Masuku, General Solomon Mujuru and then commander of the Rhodesian Forces General Peter Walls that Zapu and Zipra were the greatest threat to the Mugabe regime.
“When it became clear to our colleagues that the British would prefer them to be victors in the 1980s elections, it is then that they warned (Zanu) to make sure that they don’t have an opposition. Zapu (Zimbabwe African People’s Union) and Zipra (Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army) were the enemy.
“This was said in front of (prime minister Robert) Mugabe, in front of (Emmerson) Mnangagwa, in front of Solomon (Retired General Mujuru), in front of (late Zipra commander Lookout) Masuku, in front of General (Peter) Walls (then commander of Rhodesian Forces) and I was there when one of the majors in the intelligence services of Zimbabwe had to give a security brief on a Friday of what threats Zimbabwe would possibly face.
He said the intelligence officer said, “One threat you have … is Zapu, that threat is Zipra. I am saying it for the first time. Some people will not know … Ask Mugabe, ask Mnangagwa, ask all those other people that I have mentioned except Masuku and Mujuru who are late. This is what he (intelligence officer) said.
The former Zapu and Zipra military intelligence supremo noted that “I was the only one who intervened and tried to find out what this army colonel was saying and I asked him … ‘Do you realize that we are seated right here?’
“I was actually sitting next to Mugabe myself and you (intelligence army officer) are telling the prime minister that I am the enemy (pause) … and I asked Mugabe: ‘Is this the security brief that we have come to attend?’. And Mugabe said: ‘Can you answer that question?’.”
Mnangagwa’s spokesperson, George Charamba, was not available for comment. VOA Studio 7 was also unable to reach the former president for his reaction on these revelations.
Dabengwa, Masuku, a large number of Zapu top officials and supporters were arrested in the early 1980s by the Mugabe government for allegedly plotting to topple the ruling party.
Masuku died in the hands of the state officials, an act that has not been clearly articulated by the government, save to say he succumbed to meningitis. Zapu dismissed the cause of Masuku’s death as “misleading”, claiming that the former Zipra combatant was mercilessly killed by state security agents.
At least 20,000 Zapu supporters in Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces were killed by the North Korean-trained Five Brigade, commonly known as Gukurahundi. One of the Five Brigade commanders was Perrence Shiri, who is currently the minister of agriculture.