Dabengwa sheds light on Tongogara’s death

THE late celebrated Zanla war commander Josiah Tongogara was killed by elements linked to former President Robert Mugabe for “openly” supporting his then PF-Zapu arch-nemesis Joshua Nkomo to lead the Patriotic Front (PF), opposition Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa has claimed.


According to Dabengwa, Tongogara’s crime was his decision to openly support Nkomo’s candidature as Patriotic Front leader ahead of Mugabe after the two liberation war movements had principally agreed to contest the 1980 polls as one unit.

“That was one (when asked about murder linked to integration of forces) and secondly because he had almost openly said it during the Lancaster House discussions that as far as he was concerned, Nkomo should be the leader of the PF because Nkomo is a natural leader who has got the experience and who has got the focus whereas as far as he was concerned Mugabe was good only for administration and that that’s the position he should occupy, probably as secretary-general of the PF
“Those were Tongo’s views and unfortunately he said them out during informal discussions with other people at Lancaster House but he was direct, he said it to me. And he was very clear,” Dabengwa said.

Tongogara died in a mysterious car accident in Mozambique on December 26, 1979 while driving back home at the end of the liberation war. Mugabe pulled Zanu out of the PF on the eve of the elections and went on to form the first independence government in Zimbabwe after a slender majority victory.

Dabengwa said Tongogara’s death was not a normal accident.

“We came back in 1980 and unfortunately Tongogara was killed in that so-called accident. I really do not want to believe it was an accident. I think it was deliberate,” he said.

“The whole structure of the PF had been created and what remained was to name the people, the individuals that would fit into the different posts and when they tried to do it during the Lancaster House talks in the United Kingdom, some people like (the late) Enos Nkala were strongly opposed to it and said it must be left, that decision will be taken at home,” Dabengwa said.

Dabengwa added that efforts to bring the two liberation parties together hit a brick-wall with Mugabe’s supporters in the military particularly “dodgy.”

“That already complicated our integration process and we saw it, but we were busy with the ceasefire arrangement and each time we tried to discuss this issue with (the late commander Solomon) Mujuru and (Vitalis) Zvinavashe and so on, they were dodgy.

“When we tried to say to them that this is what we have decided on with Tongogara in London… they dodged the whole issue until after the elections and the results were known,” he said.

Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga in December last year hinted Tongogara may have been murdered, but did not say much.

Besides declaring him a national hero, Mugabe never really honoured Tongogara during his 37-year reign, but his successor, President Emmerson Mnangagwa recently renamed the country’s biggest military garrison, KGV1 after the revered nationalist.


  1. Ka Mugabe ka cold blood murderer. Zvino zvaka kaona

  2. no no dumiso please shut up and focus on cleaning up your name for the role which you were alleged to have taken during the gukurahundi disaster, your hands are full just leave zanla issues aside

    1. Hahaha! Wesabani

  3. Ichoooooo!!!!”Charira” Kupikooooo……………

  4. You might be right on this one DD but please tell us why ZAPU then sought to unseat Mugabe through a military uprising that triggered Gukurahundi (a war between ZAPU and ZANU that ran from 1982 to 87).

  5. analyst do u have proof or u are one of those who was brain washed by state media propaganda?and for the record who had given back they arms if may ask 54% of the liberation was fort by zipra

    1. Yes, I have evidence. What do you think the unity accord was all about? It signified the end of the war between ZAPU and ZANU. Mugabe won, albeit after killing thousands of innocent souls and also managed to absorb ZAPU into ZANU. FACT not propaganda my bro, FACT.

  6. He was probably murdered by Mugabe, but not for the reasons given by Dabengwa so that part of the story is stupid. Zanla was formed becoz Nkomo was hesitating to go to war, preferring peace talks like in Zambia and Malawi.

    1. Msunu kanyoko we nja..you are an imbecile.you were not even there but you bank on hearsay and Zanu propaganda.Zanu did not fight any war…What was wrong with talks and negotiations.It could have reduced the damaged cause by the cowardly Zanla who bombed mainly diptanks and cut railway lines and infrastructure.They continued to loot even after the war..Zanu was formed for tribal reasons finish and klaah..You destroyed this country lina Mashona njazabantu…The Shonas destroyed a good country nxaaaah,mbwa dzeZanu IMBECILES

      1. Matauriro ako ndeedissident sure. Kana woti zanla haina kurwa hondo uri kureva kuti zipra is the only one. Where did they fight – in Zambia????? Zanlaoccupied most war zones of Zim not Zipra. However both did well to liberate us hence we shd not dwell much on who did what but on how to unite us and work together towards prosperous Zim. Tribalism will take us nowhere.

  7. The woodworks are still to fully offload what they hold! History will tell!
    Those who killed with impunity will one day pay!!!

  8. I wish that independent minded historians write the true history of the liberation struggle. especially from those who had first hand experience.

  9. Dabengwa never seas to amze,now he supports Chamisa who has the same mentality with Mugabe who did not want the Ndebeles to rule,stand up and smell the coffee

  10. Come on do your research before committing to paper – You call this a “slender majority” Zanu 57 seats to Zapu 23, UANC 3, Rhodesian Front 20 (white reserved seats) ? Read history before dishing out half backed stories. Mugabe won on tribal voting patterns that’s all. There were more Shona voters than Ndebelised people.

  11. DD usanyepe.Kana zipra isina ku sponsor ma dissidents why did you negotiate for their amnesty as ZAPU why didnt you say the dissidents must be jailed when peace accord was signed.
    You too as DD and former ZAPU guys got blood in your hands,dont try to be seen as victims for the rest of your life

  12. Entumbane, can someone give an enlightened explanation

  13. Zanla did not fight or better than Zipra. They were busy lining their pockets while others were fighting. Bloody thieves. VanaMutsvangwa wakarwa kupi

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *