The President and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa says the renaming of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) barracks marks exorcising of the ghost of colonialism.
President Mnangagwa said this when he officially renamed the King George VI Barracks to Josiah Magama Tongogara Barracks in Harare this morning.
Cde Tongogara’s widow Amai Angeline Tongogara and children who include Hondo, Conrad, Tichafa, Bvumai, Granger and Nyaradzo also attended the event.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, four days after the renaming of the barracks, state broadcaster, ZBC, visited Tongogara’s widow, Gogo Angeline Tongogara nee Gamanya at her place of residence where she was interviewed.
The widow, who was sobbing throughout the interview, revealed that since 26 December 1979 when she received the sad news from President Mugabe, Solomon Mujuru and others, informing her that her husband had died in a car accident in Mozambique, till today – nearly 40 years later – she has not been allowed to visit the accident scene.
“The government has never given us an opportunity as a family to go and see where the accident that killed my husband took place. They have never given us an explanation why we have been taken to the accident scene. All I hear is that the place is protected,” she said.
In 2012, Gogo Angeline Tongogara, who sired four children with Zanla commander General Josiah Magama Tongogara, demanded that she be driven to the scene of the accident where her husband died mysteriously over three decades ago, saying the circumstances surrounding his death were still haunting her.
Angeline told the State-owned Sunday Mail newspaper that she was still in the dark over the cause of the accident and was bitter over the way President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF government had handled her husband’s death.
“I was just told he was involved in an accident. His usual driver, the one I knew, didn’t go with him on this day. He went with another driver. His secretary was Oppah Muchinguri and she was in the same car with him when the accident happened. I was told that he was the only one who had died. As the wife of Cde Tongo and as the mother of his four children, my request is that: ‘Please, please can you arrange for me to go and see where my husband died?’ As long as I am alive, it still troubles me,” she said.
Former President Robert Mugabe has completely ignored Gogo Angeline Tongogara’s request to be taken to the accident scene, supposedly for reasons best known to himself.
She also claimed she was not afforded an opportunity to carry out a full body viewing of her husband’s corpse nor was she invited to witness the exhumation and reburial of his remains at the National Heroes’ Acre in 1981.
“I removed the cloth starting from the head and I saw the wounds, but as I was about to pull away the cloth so I could see the whole body, Josiah Tungamirai came and said: ‘Why are you letting her touch this body?’ I was injected and I passed out. I don’t know what happened from there. When I woke up, I was now at the President (Robert Mugabe)’s house.”
General Tongo, as the late Zanla commander was affectionately known, died on the spot after his vehicle crashed in Mozambique on December 26, 1979 as most war cadres were heading home after a ceasefire had been declared.
Former Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith also insisted in his memoirs that Tongogara’s “own people” killed him, and that he had disclosed at the Lancaster House talks in London earlier that year that Tongogara was under threat.
“I made a point of discussing his death with our police commissioner and head of Special Branch, and both assured me that Tongogara had been assassinated,” Smith wrote.
A former detective in the Law and Order section of the now defunct BSA Police (replaced by the Zimbabwe Republic Police) saw photographs of Tongogara’s body.
The photographs showed three wounds, consistent with gunshot wounds, in his upper torso. The undertaker’s statement was not a formal autopsy report and as such was dismissed by all, but senior Zanu politburo members.