Home » Governance » VP Mphoko, Dabengwa War Row Escalates

OPPOSITION ZAPU front-man and former Zipra intelligence chief Dumiso Dabengwa passed his chance to be Zimbabwe’s second in command because of a bad political judgment, War Veterans Minister Christopher Mutsvangwa said Tuesday.

In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com, Mutsvangwa lashed out at war hero and former Home Affairs Minister Dabengwa for “allocating himself a marking sheet and headmaster’s roll over the liberation war”.

“The war veterans following a meeting of the executive (of which Mutsvangwa was recently elected chairman) rallied behind VP Mphoko because of his impeccable wartime credentials,” an angry Mutsvangwa said.

“It is not about a certain battle but that he was one of the early cadres who stayed the distance and executed his duties brilliantly as a commander. Taking part in that war was voluntary, out of patriotism and not seeking self-glory.

“Dumiso was lucky to stay alive and not that he joined the war to become a commander and to use that to disparage other wartime commanders is wrong and desecrating other heroes of the struggle.

“His credentials are bonafide and without question and that is enough to let him be the country’s number two. He is alive because someone died defending him and that should not give him license to cast aspersions on other comrades’ wartime exploits.”

In response Dabengwa stuck to his guns and said he was merely pointing out an anomaly arising from Mphoko’s claims.

“I was commenting on the military aspects of the things that Mphoko had raised,” said the Zapu leader.

“I could not stand by and let him mislead the public and though as a former commander I had an obligation to point that out and say Cde this is not what happened or how things happened. I could give you the contacts of other commanders who will confirm what I just said.”

Known by his war name “The Black Russian” Dabengwa also threw brickbats at Information Minister Jonathan Moyo for “commenting on matters he has no clue how, when or where they happened”.

“I do not know where he comes from and thought he is wrong trying to comment on matters he had no idea of. He has no knowledge of these things and I wonder how he can comment on these,” said Dabengwa.

A decorated liberation war hero, Dabengwa now fronts a revived Zapu after years in President Robert Mugabe’s government following the Unity Accord between warring former liberation movements in the late 80s.

He has come under a barrage of attack for casting aspersions on Mugabe’s choice of second vice president career diplomat Phelekezela Mphoko whom he claimed had made “misrepresentations about his military exploits” during the guerrilla bush war.

Moyo described Dabengwa as “jealous charlatan and sell-out” for suggesting that Mphoko was a “deceitful sell-out who clandestinely had under cover of darkness joined the feared Central Intelligence Organisation under then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe following the attainment of Independence”.

“On attainment of independence in 1980, Mphoko was one of the few Zapu cadreacutes to be inducted into the CIO,” Dabengwa said, in a statement written jointly with the Zipra high command. Dabengwa also said Mphoko was a Zipra “deserter”.

“In the mid-1970s when the Zimbabwe People’s Army (Zipa) was set up in Mozambique to bring together Zipra and Zanla forces, the Zapu contingent was led by Alfred (Nikita) Mangena, with Mphoko still in charge of logistics.”

Moyo characterised the liberation war stalwart as immature.

“It is most unfortunate that a stalwart of our liberation struggle, more-so one of Dabengwa’s historic stature, has chosen to come out sounding very trivial and immature.

“Dabengwa’s immaturity in his mishandling of this matter risks exposing him as being petty and jealous about a former subordinate in the liberation struggle who is today holding an important position of national responsibility,” said Moyo.

But Dabengwa Tuesday said he had nothing against Mphoko’s appointment and had tried to steer away from the internal Zanu PF process.

“It is only after Mphoko was quoted in the media as insinuating that I specifically was wasting my time trying to revive Zapu as well as claiming some things he allegedly did during the war that we thought we could not watch. I was speaking as a former commander of Zipra (Zapu’s wartime military wing),” Dabengwa added.

Source : New Zimbabwe