HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsFrom the Editor’s Bottom Drawer: A requiem for Solomon Mujuru

From the Editor’s Bottom Drawer: A requiem for Solomon Mujuru


He was barely 20 or so years old, who had merely had a formative brush with academic education, and had been slaving in some menial job when he left Rhodesia to pursue the armed struggle against white minority rule.

Joining the armed struggle was not as in-vogue then, as it later became – it almost spelt certain death sooner or later. Although a Zezuru, Solomon Mujuru did not have a trace of tribal inhibitions and he joined Zipra, a predominantly Ndebele army, then.

It was only during the intra-Zapu internecine feuds which detracted from the struggle objectives, in or about 1971 that he decided to cross over to Zanla, in Zambia then.

Because of his dedication to the cause, Rex Nhongo rose exponentially in Zanla, becoming a top commander in no time. Like a man of destiny, he dribbled through all the calamities that engulfed and consumed many in Zambia and, later, in Mozambique.

When the armed struggle was decimated, following the death of Herbert Chitepo and the wholesale arrests of the leadership by the Zambian government in 1975, Nhongo, who had escaped arrest though Tanzania, headed for Mozambique.

With an undaunting zeal to re-ignite the struggle flame, he came together with other selfless and dedicated cadres like Dzinashe Machingura and cadres from Zipra to form Zipra, a unified force that engaged the enemy in ’76 and ’77, turning the tide to such an extent that the enemy now realised that its defeat was inevitable.

Nhongo helped to facilitate the acceptance and admission of Robert Mugabe and Edgar Tekere by the guerillas who had developed a disaffection for civilian politicians, given their treacherous streak powered by insatiable hunger for power.

Nhongo was virtually the “St Paul” to the acceptance of Mugabe and Tekere, often to the chagrin of his colleagues who were hardly fully convinced as to the wisdom of so doing.

Nhongo played a critical role in getting the cadres to accept the Lancaster House Agreement, following the sudden and untimely death of General Josiah Tongogara on December 26, 1979, and in getting the cadres to accept to go to assembly points to facilitate consummation of the agreement, and also in demobilising and integrating the three armies into one national army.

Above all, Nhongo was not involved in the Gukurahundi debacle in Matabeleland, and he never used the army against the people in his time.

To those who have developed “war-mole” on their lips, the majority of whom who do not even know from which end a gun fires and who were mere civilians in the struggle, Nhongo always admonished thus: “Do not intimidate people with the threat of war, the war is not a picnic . . .” and “Those with an obsessive affection for war have never been in one, in the first place . . .”

And yet, to such a man, one of the dastardliest end is wrought!

Farewell General . . . you played your part well!
Nothing will come out of the present investigations into Mujuru’s death. At best, the conclusion will be that foul play is suspected. But who doesn’t know that? In fact, this is an understatement! Nhongo was murdered . . . period!

The question should be, who killed Cork Robin and not whether he was killed or not? The simple answer to that question is, he was killed by those who stood to gain from his departure.

Period! There shouldn’t be any equivocation. The facts speak for themselves. Let’s stop stringing this whole thing out and tormenting the family.

The whole exercise is academic now, I am afraid. There needs to be closure, so that the family can move on.

Dr Samuel Parirenyatwa was killed and so was, JZ Moyo, Nikita Mangena, Herbert Chitepo, Josiah Tongogara, Tonderai Ndira and Talent Chiminya, among many other unsolved death mysteries.

What answers did we get for all these murders? None! Why then do we hold out hope that Mujuru’s death will be any different?

As in Agatha Christie or Alfred Hitchcock treatments, it’s not uncommon or unusual to have a paradox where the hunters are the hunted.

The General is gone! Nothing will come out of these farcical investigations . . . I dare opine! Mark my words! We are caught in the trade winds of Zimbabwe’s voraciously savage politics.

We created the beast, and so we cannot blame anyone else when it turns round to bite us.

The sooner we accept this and dedicate ourselves to fighting to change this lugubriously wicked narrative, the better, for, as long as the beast remains at large, out there, no one is safe! Herein is my requiem to the dearly departed, General! Farewell, Solomon Mujuru!

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