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In memory of Dumiso Dabengwa the legendary supremo

12 Jun 2020 at 07:49hrs | Views
ON May 23 2019, exactly a year ago, Zimbabwe laid to rest one of Africa's illustrious freedom fighters and pseudo Black Russian. His nationality is Zimbabwean but they called him the Black Russian because of his ability to orchestrate intelligence like the Soviet KGB, that spun and wove intricately across the actions relating to the liberation struggle in Africa and southern Africa in particular.

Dumiso Dabengwa was a Pan-Africanist, morden nationalist, social democrat and above all communist in my view. He was one person who never lost his identity, a character that bequeathed and internalised in him self-definition, the legendary supremo. There is no one like him. During his youth, crucial decisions on waging the armed struggle were taken with him in attendance, although he was young then. He was instrumental in shaping the armed struggle in the entire SubSaharan Africa region, hence the nickname The Black Russian by his nemesis.

During the liberation war as head of intelligence for ZPRA, he faced two enemies in the late 70's, the Rhodesian Forces and their support structures and those of Robert Mugabe of Zanu, whose instruction before deployment was to deal with "Machuwachuwa" as derived from the legends of ZPRA physical Totoyi slogan before engaging Rhodesians, the enemy. ZPRA was, at that time considered a worse enemy than the oppressive whiteled Rhodesians in the eyes of Zanu which had split from Zapu in 1963.

In the 1980, just after ceasefire and transition from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe, South Africa teamed up with the Albions of United Kingdom and invested in their neocolonial ploys with the support of the political and financial muscles of Anglo Americans, the Oppenheimers and De-Beers Consolidated with Lonrho in support, being the face of international capital.

Dabengwa had a premonition that the new government was not people-oriented. In 1980 when he visited us in the assembly point in Filabusi on our way back to Bulawayo, he confided to me that he was unhappy with the stance taken by the British in the process of decolonisation and the support they were giving to Zanu reactionaries.

The white community in the country then was conditioned to believe that Dumiso was evil and worse than an animal. Many whites were scared of him, as they could not decipher his personality, character, humility and conservative approach. Dabengwa wanted political unity with the likes of Josiah Magama Tongogara. They had carried out research among the freedom fighters who indicated agreement.

It has been determined that at Lancaster House talks, both Dumiso and Tongogara wanted unity, and it is strongly suspected that their common approach to independence was that, which led to the premature death of Tongorara on the eve of independence. He died like the biblical Moses, just before but he could see the horizon. Their dream of a united community was thwarted ruthlessly by Mugabe and cronies at the service of the West and its surrogates.

In 1980, the Lord Soames administration, on behalf of the colonial masters in England, entered into a primordial set-up that conceptualised the violent destruction of Zapu. The British had already made a decision with Mugabe to carry out the well-known Gukurahundi genocide.

Gukurahundi genocide was one of Zanu's imbroglios, conniving with South Africa, America and Britain that made life difficult for Dabengwa and the peace-loving communities in Zimbabwe and the African community of socialist orientation. And yet, incidentally, with freedom facilitated by friendly forces from the communist fraternity to ZPRA, Zimbabwe became topically central to the last vestiges of the Cold War era. South Africa became the rear logistics for Zanu/ South African Boer intrigue.

They entered into an illicit deal code-named ‘Operation Drama' where they stage-managed the Gukurahundi genocide using incorrigible Rhodesians in the intelligence service under the management of the new bosses in the State security, working with others who today should seek reconciliation with Dabengwa. President Emmerson Mnangagwa then was the head of the national security apparatus.

The likes of Danny Stannard, a Rhodesian Special Branch director, had a lot of faith in ED, also. Stannard co-ordinated the pseudo-guerrilla operation called Super Zapu, a crafted outfit involving the South African secret movement.

Instigations from those who feared the Black Russian, led to Dabengwa and others being rounded up on trumped-up treason charges and detained. Together with Lookout Masuku, they endured life behind bars with a cloud of a summary execution hanging over their heads for no clear crimes until the painful death of Masuku. The loss of his comrade, I believe, remained an unbearable sore in Dabengwa's heart, up until his departure from this earth. And for that he will hold accountable all those who took part in betraying the people of Zimbabwe, and diverting the course of the revolutionary struggle.

However, as a peacemaker, upon his release from jail in 1986, and with the persuasion of Umdala Joshua Nkomo, Dabengwa undertook to make peace. Dumiso cautiously and reluctantly agreed to join the Zanu-PF government but was conferred Home Affairs deputy minister as a token of appeasement, but not reconciliation. A few years down the line, he was made minister. As Minister of Home Affairs, with his humility and affable character, Dumiso dedicated his life to peacebuilding and conflict transformation. He sought national prosperity and social justice. He however left government in 2000, citing Mugabe's intransigence and abandoned the Zanu-PF-imposed Unity Accord.

A few years later, Dabengwa cooperated with the likes of Simba Makoni and others like Elton Mangoma in a bid to change the political status in the country. He was temporarily set back by others from Zanu-PF who had chickened out of an arrangement they had coordinated and consented to convince people of Zimbabwe to take power from Mugabe then. He later found out that he could not trust some of those who he thought had become politically mature. They betrayed him but could not break his resolve for an alternative revolutionary movement that waged the liberation struggle.

As a fervent freedom fighter, he did not relent. He sought to carry on the people's struggle for emancipation. Dabengwa was motivated by the solidarity between all indigenous and ethnic diaspora.

During the liberation struggles of Zimbabwe and South Africa, he rose to fame. Principally, Pan-Africanism to Dumiso was of the beliefs that African people both on the continent and in the diaspora, share not merely a common history but a common destiny.

Pan-Africanism posits a sense of shared historical but a common destiny.

Baster Willie Magwizi is a war veteran, retired army colonel and writes in his personal capacity.

Source - newsday
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