REVERED Zanu wartime guerrilla commander Josiah Tongogara was killed by his colleagues sympathetic to former President Robert Mugabe.
According to Zapu’s liberation war intelligence supremo Dumiso Dabengwa, Tongogara had openly argued against Mugabe leading the then proposed Patriotic Front bringing together the two guerrilla movements.
“He had almost openly said it. That he believed (late Vice President Joshua) Nkomo was a natural leader and had the focus while Mugabe would only be good as an administrator maybe secretary general of the Patriotic Front.
“Unfortunately he said it out in informal discussions with other people,” said Dabengwa.
He said Tongogara who died supposedly in a freak car accident on December 26 1979 a few weeks before Zimbabwe attained independence had argued a Mugabe leadership would be a disaster.
“He said it would be a total disaster and told me he was not saying it to please anyone but that is what he believed.
“He was angry when it was decided that the issue would be settled when we arrive home from London (during Lancaster House negotiations). He wanted the issue settled there because all stakeholders including the military were represented,” Dabengwa added.
The former Home Affairs Minister said efforts to revive the unity pact with senior Zanu guerrilla fighters like Solomon Mujuru and Vitalis Zvinavashe were met with resistance.
“They were dodgy and this went on until after the election results had been announced. Ikoko by then had ordered (another late former Vice President Joseph) Msika to register Zapu as a political competitor in the 1980 elections,” he said.
As fate would have it Mugabe would decide to go it alone during the 1980 elections, win power and rule with an iron fist for 37 years before he was forced to resign by the army last November. Mugabe’s leadership as Tongogara had “prophesied” was indeed an unmitigated disaster as he left a once thriving economy left in his hands by the Rhodesians in ruins.