HARARE – Exactly 39 years after the death of General Josiah Magama Tongogara, fresh details have emerged as to what transpired before and after the death of the ZANLA commander.
An emotionally charged atmosphere characterised the 39th anniversary of the death of General Tongogara but the gathering was fortunate to hear testimonies from the Defence and War Veterans Welfare Minister, Oppah Muchinguri Kashiri and the Acting Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander, Lieutenant General Edzayi Chimonyo.
The two were together on the 26th of December 1979 when General Tongogara tragically died on his way from Mozambique after successfully liberating Zimbabwe from colonial shackles.
The story that has been told to the nation and the world was that the General had died in an accident.
How that accident happened has, however, remained a mystery for close to four decades.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri was in the same vehicle in which General Tongogara was travelling in but for 39 years, she has been holding dearly to the secrets surrounding the General’s death.
She said she even tried to tell her story through a book but it was taken away from her by the former President Robert Mugabe in the presence of the then security chiefs; General Solomon Mujuru and Air Chief Marshal Josiah Tungamirai.
According to Muchinguri-Kashiri, the fateful journey started with an argument between General Tongogara and Robert Mugabe who was insisting that the former’s staff must fly back to Zimbabwe but General Tongo successfully demanded to travel with his entourage by road.
Along the way, they had three separate tire punctures, said Muchinguri Kashiri, who broke down as she narrated the events.
As she carried on, she clearly sort to put the record straight, saying history has been distorted for long.
Lieutenant General Chimonyo also poured his heart out, saying he was the first person to open the door of the vehicle the General was travelling in.
General Tongogara was born on the 4th of February 1938 in Shurugwi.
He received military training at Kafue or Chimbichimbi in Zambia and then Naching in China.
A member of the Dare ReChimurenga, Tongo died on his way back to Zimbabwe after the Lancaster House Conference. – ZBC