By Kenneth Matimaire
Mutare – Former ally turned fierce Robert Mugabe critic, Margaret Dongo has questioned the Zimbabwean leader’s liberation war credentials, insisting he was merely a war prisoner with no proven experience on the battlefront.
She was supported by Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) Masvingo women’s wing executive, Shylet Uyoyo who said this was evidenced by that Mugabe had no known guerrilla name to prove he played any significant part in the struggle.
Dongo was addressing a recent ZimPF rally in Mutare where she sarcastically urged voters to obey Mugabe’s vows Zimbabwe will never be ruled by those who never fought the war.
“The President (Mugabe) said we don’t want the country to be led by people who didn’t fight the war and we don’t have a problem with that. Now we have our very own cadre (Joice Mujuru) who fought in the liberation war,” said Dongo, now a Joice Mujuru admirer.
“So it’s time up for war prisoners to lead the country, we want those who actually fought in the war to be voted into power during the next election.”
Mugabe was a political prisoner under the colonial Rhodesian government from 1964 to 1974.
Although later turning out to become the face of the bitter guerrilla warfare that delivered independence in 1980, there has been no oral or documented history linking the now 92 year-old leader to the holding of a gun.
When his rule came under fierce threat from the opposition MDC, President Mugabe vowed he will never allow the country to be led by non-war veterans.
He was supported by the country’s security commanders who declared in a joint statement 2008 they will never salute any leader who emerged from the country’s elections without any liberation war history.
This was in apparent reference to MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who has posed a real threat to Mugabe’s ambitions to remain the country’s leader.
However, Mugabe’s remarks are coming back to haunt him.
Dongo said it was time Zimbabweans dumped former war detainees for a cadre who “held a gun” during the war of independence.
The former Zanu PF legislator and a war veteran who used the nom de guerre, Tichaona Muhondo, broke ranks with the ruling party to form her own party, the Zimbabwe Union for Democrats, now defunct.
She formed a new political entity, Movement for People First mid last year and has thrown her weight behind Mujuru, widow to Zimbabwe’s first military commander and national hero, Solomon Mujuru.
Joice Mujuru was both vice president to the country and Zanu PF before she was dislodged from her lofty positions over dodgy treason and corruption allegations, which she vehemently refuted.
The former VP, whose liberation nom de guerre was “Teurai Ropa (Spill Blood)”, has a proven track record of her deeds during the struggle and is famed for gunning down a Rhodesian army helicopter in Mozambique.
Uyoyo, on her part, argued that while all war veterans had guerrilla names, Mugabe who boasts of “leading” the struggle, had no known nom de guerre.
She said that this proved Mugabe never held a gun during the struggle.
“Mugabe has no war name. Have you ever heard of it?” she questioned, adding that it was time Zimbabweans voted for bona fide war heroes.
“Here we have Teurai Ropa (Joice Mujuru). What’s Mugabe’s war name? He doesn’t have one because he never fought in the war and like he said Zimbabwe should be led by those who fought the war,” said Uyoyo. Radio VOP