By Mlondolozi Ndlovu
Former Zanu PF spokesperson and now Zim People First elder Rugare Gumbo has dismissed an interview in a recent Sunday Mail interview describing him as a ‘sellout’ who wanted to go to school as others went to war.
The weekly newspaper’s Sunday Mail column; Chronicles from the second Chimurenga by the paper’s assistant editor Munyaradzi Huni last week featured a war veteran named CDE John Makwasha.
The interview titled ‘Sad story of sellouts in Zim’ the war veteran whose Chimurenga name was Bayayi Mabhunu noted that while they were in Tanzania in the 1960s, Rugare Gumbo wanted to learn whilst himself and other young people went war.
‘Others went to school at that time people like Salatiel Hamadziripi and Rugare Gumbo who told us point blank kuti imi musina kudzidza, ndimi muri kuenda kunodzidza zvepfuti (you who are not educated must go to war). Kana matora nyika isusu tirikuenda kuchikoro todzoka tichikutongai (after winning the war we shall rule it),’ said Makwasha.
‘Zvandirikutaura izvi kana mukabvunza vamwe vandaiva navo ndakanga ndisiri ndega, zvinhu zvakatoita tide kurwa (What I am saying can be verified with others who were with us). Some comrades had to be removed from this big house we were staying. They were two gangs vaye vekunzi varikuenda kuchikoro (those who wanted to go to school) and vaiva vashoma and isusu taienda kuhondo (they were few and us who wanted to go to war)’ he said.
‘Kana adai akamira apa nhasi (Even if he is hear I would ), I will tell him kuti this is what you said. And Rugare Gumbo anga asinganzi Rugare, ainzi Alex Gumbo. Takazoziva nyika yasununguka kuti anonzi Rugare (he was called Alex Rugare and not Rugare Gumbo we only knew he was Rugare Gumbo),’ he added.
However, the outspoken former liberation fighter who is now the chief spokesperson and an elder to the newly formed Zimbabwe First said the comments by Makwasha were nonsense.
‘I never said such words and was in the top echelons of power during that time. It’s all nonsense! It’s an effort to smear my name and Hamadziripi,’ said Gumbo.
Gumbo noted that he doubted the authenticity of Makwasha’s liberation war credentials saying he had nothing to ‘sell out’.
‘I don’t think was a war veteran. Ndaigotengesa chii (What would I sell out)? I was up there in the hierarchy yeZanu PF. Those are sponsored guys who are seeking to tarnish my image,’ said the former Zanu politburo member,’ he said.
Zimbabwe’s accounts of the liberation have always been associated with controversy with those living Zanu PF or disagreeing often termed sell outs.
Zimbabwe’s war veterans are currently split between different factions in Zanu PF, whilst the newly former Zim People First also claims a fair chunk of the liberation fighters.
Former ZIPRA cadres who were linked to ZAPU recently announced that they will form they own union to counter the Zanu PF aligned Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association which they accused of siding with factions.