‘Mugabe had dubious prison degrees, Rex Nhongo was semi-literate’ – Chris Mutsvangwa

Special Advisor to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Christopher Mutsvangwa

George Shire, you are very right my revolutionary soul mate. There was a turning point way back in 1976 to 1977 at Chimoio in Mozambique. Robert Mugabe wrestled leadership.

By Christopher Mutsvangwa

Clutching a folder of prison-earned — if not dubious — degrees, Mugabe was foisted upon the leadership of the revolutionary national liberation movement.

All that ascent was due to the machinations of a semi-literate Solomon Mujuru, aka Rex Nhongo.

Mujuru’s claim to fame was that he was a serial party hopper in exile.

Starting off from Zapu, he jumped to Frolizi, then to Zanu onto Zipa and back to Zanu.

By his peripatetic chicanery, he formed a go-nowhere politico-military duo with Mugabe.

Mugabe had “amassed” degrees, all of them adding up to nothing beyond a gripping English eloquence.

He then lodged his Queen’s grammar into his own brand of crypto-Marxist lexicon, devoid of any literary heritage.

In 37 years of his long rule, the momentum of the Zimbabwe revolution would eventually sputter.

Ever resilient, it had a lucky escape in November 2017 with the glorious revolution and Operation Restore Legacy.

This was the culmination of a smouldering and bitter falling out between Mugabe and Mujuru.

The General ended up consumed in a ball of fire.

Now unfettered, Mugabe launched into an attempt to conjure a family dynasty out of a revolutionary party.

All came to nought. He would die a bitter and ever-plotting geriatric.

So sulky he was to the point of shunning interment at the National Shrine he had built!

Throughout all this political skulduggery, the project to transform the economy became a task threatened and postponed.

Instead neo-liberal economic ideology and praxis took hold and thrived all the way to putrid national economic atrophy.

I do recall the fateful television debate.

The irascible Ibbo Mandaza was unceremoniously shouted down by an imperious Bernard Chidzero.

The minister had been marshalled into ZTV studios to save an official embarrassment. One after another of his cohorts from the World Bank-IMF had been mercilessly exposed and cut down by the then-incisive arguments of Mandaza.

All in all, it closed as a dark night indeed for unfettered national economic discourse in the Mugabe epoch.

Be that as it may, our revered General Tongogara had rendered forebode and forewarn as he harangued his ZANLA guerrilla charges to the battlefront.

In his words, the General said: “I have a premonition I will not make it to the free Zimbabwe I have fought so hard for. Asi ndikafira munzira, mose maComrades muchanoita mapete nevamwe vedu vatungamiri kana yave free Zimbabwe.”

The words of Tongo, the military genius.

He was the one who synergised with chairman Herbert Chitepo of Zanu.

Yes, that personal chemistry with the erudite revolutionary intellectual.

Their formidable duet had the clarity of vision.

They forged the military alliance with Eduardo Mondhlane and Samora Machel.

All with exquisite timeliness back in Tanzania in 1968 and 1969.

This was as Frelimo of Mozambique propelled towards military victory against fascist and imperial Portugal in 1974.

That Zanu-Frelimo military pact gave issue to the first ever permanent implantation of a home-grown guerrilla army.

Chairman Mao’s tenet of “fish in water” had begot a terrible new beauty.

It would sprout into a full-fledged Zanla-Zipra military collaboration on the march to freedom in 1980.

Sadly, a suspiciously timed 1979 December vehicle accident would add painful credence to the words of General                                                                                   “Tongo”.

This was soon after Solomon Mujuru, aka Rex Nhongo, the lacklustre military deputy, had just landed in Salisbury as advance team for the Lancaster House ceasefire.

By that stroke, Solomon Mujuru became the military face of the victorious guerrillas. All said, a public relations catastrophe for those who had vanquished an Anglo-Saxon, NATO- succoured army.

The first time ever, the Rhodesian-British imperial might had been brought to heel by modern African warfare.

It is 40 years into freedom.

I still cringe that the caricature that is Solomon Mujuru ended up standing for the commanding stature that could have been General Josiah Magama Tongogara.

Sorry to Blessing Miles Tendi and his latest biographical offering.

Valiant, but misdirected effort it is.

Source: Sunday Mail