TSHINGA DUBE DEFENDS MUTINHIRI
At a time Zanu PF propagandists are falling over each other to attack National Patriotic Front (NPF) leader Ambrose Mutinhiri, former War Veterans minister Tshinga Dube has validated the retired brigadier-general’s liberation war credentials.
A top ally of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Dube is renowned for fiercely standing for what he believes in. When discussion on former president Robert Mugabe’s successor was akin to a taboo in Zanu PF, Dube set the cat among the pigeons by daring his boss to name his heir in order to stop the ugly infighting that had erupted in Zanu PF over his succession.
In a recent interview with the Daily News on Sunday, Dube refused to join crusaders in Zanu PF rubbishing the NPP leader’s contribution to the liberation war effort.
The former Zimbabwe Defence Industries general manager, who was a subordinate of Mutinhiri during the country’s 1970s war of independence, said there was no doubt that his “commander was at the forefront and trained many” during that era.
He said: “I know he was our trainer. He was part of the training establishment for a long time. He was once the chief of staff for Zipra and then later on he was no longer in the Zipra High Command in the later years of the liberation but I cannot say he was no longer in the war”.
Mutinhiri’s decision to form NPF has riled many in Zanu PF.
What has incensed Zanu PF even more are suspicions that he is doing the bidding for Mugabe, who told press corps a few days ago that Mnangagwa was an “illegitimate” president.
Typically, the ruling party has gone into overdrive through the State-controlled media, casting Mutinhiri as a villain who deserted the armed struggle and is now working for Mugabe because of so-called family ties.
For example, members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) such as Headman Moyo and Fred Mtandah told the State-controlled media that Mutinhiri’s war credentials were dubious.
But former Zipra war commanders lament attempts by Moyo and Mtandah to reinvent history which they have little knowledge of because they were not in the trenches.
Zipra was the military wing of Zapu led by the late Joshua Nkomo during the liberation struggle and the most senior surviving members include Mutinhiri, former vice president Phelekezela Mphoko and opposition leader Dumiso Dabengwa.
Former Zipra chief of intelligence Abel Mazinyana told the Daily News on Sunday that he was worried because the history of the country was being distorted on a daily basis to suit certain agendas.
“I am not responding to the issue raised by the two but for the protection of the legacy of Zipra and the country. I don’t really know Headman Moyo because as a commander we had a lot of people; what I know is that he and Mtandah were attached to work as bodyguards of Big Josh (Nkomo). They certainly do not know what was happening in the Zipra High Command. You can see that Mutinhiri’s letter has sent people into panic mode, this is why they are now relying on people who know nothing about Zipra,” said Mazinyana.
Another veteran of the liberation struggle Peter Ndebele, who deputised Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander Philip Valerio Sibanda during the war, said there was no doubt that Mutinhiri was one of them while the likes of Mtandah and Moyo were trained specifically to be bodyguards of Nkomo.
Repeated efforts to get a comment from either Moyo or Mtanda were fruitless.
Last week, Mutinhiri, a former Cabinet minister and Zanu PF politburo member, undressed the current government as a product of a coup.
In his resignation letter addressed to the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda and copied to Zanu PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu, Mutinhiri, who was a senior Zipra commander, said Mnangagwa’s government was “illegal”.
“As a trained soldier, a former freedom fighter, a former Zipra commander during the liberation struggle, a former diplomat and a former Cabinet minister, I am too aware of not only the values and ethos of Zimbabwe’s armed liberation struggle and the subsequent role the founding commanders of the liberation envisaged for the national army in independent Zimbabwe but also of the functions and limits of the ZDF as enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe authored through a people-driven process and adopted after a national referendum as recent as 2013.
“The fundamental values and tenets of both Zimbabwe’s heroic liberation struggle and the Constitution of Zimbabwe dictate that Executive authority is derived from the people and not from the gun. In other words, the enduring principle of Zimbabwe’s armed liberation struggle and constitutional democracy is that politics must always lead the gun. The ZDF coup of 15 November 2017 violated a cherished heritage of our liberation struggle and of our hard-won constitutional democracy,” Mutinhiri said.
As if that was not enough Mugabe went on to endorse Mutinhiri’s party triggering emergency meetings in Zanu PF amid fears that the real events that culminated in Mnangagwa taking power in November last year could dent the country’s image.
Zanu PF is also disturbed by the new political outfit as they fear Mugabe could dampen their chances of winning this year’s elections given the fact that in some areas he is still regarded as the real leader of the ruling party.