Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has made sensational claims that a cabal of Zapu officials led by ex-intelligence supremo Dumiso Dabengwa decided to kill him in Zambia in 1962 after falsely accusing him of insulting the late Joshua Nkomo.
He told hundreds of Zanu (PF) supporters in Mvuma over the weekend, where he bade them farewell as legislator for Chirumanzu-Zibagwe constituency, he was saved from the planned murder by the late nationalist Leopold Takawira after discovering they both hailed from Zvishavane.
The VP said the incident happened at Freedom House in Lusaka when Dabengwa falsely accused him of having insulted the ZAPU leader, Nkomo, who had visited the party regional office on his way to Britain and United States of America after it had been banned in Rhodesia. At the time he was secretary for youth. While relating the incident in Ndebele, mimicking the Zapu officials, Mnangagwa said:
“UDumiso wasukuma wabe esithi, Mdhala (Nkomo) kulomfana konapha ukhade elithethisa. Kwatwa ungaphi? Kwatwa ukhonapha. Kwatwa sukuma. Ngasikhuma. UNkomo wabe esithi khonoku ukunje… wabe ehleka wahamba. (Dumiso rose up in a meeting and said to Nkomo, old man, there is a boy who was insulting you.
They told me to stand up – Nkomo laughed and said how can a small boy like this do that, before walking away).” When Nkomo left the Zapu officials, who included a Mlala and Nkiwane, held a Kangaroo court and decided that Mnangagwa should be killed for the “offence.”
“The officials who had passed the verdict, with Dumiso having been their judge, then said so how do we kill him. One of them answered and said we cannot discuss that in the presence of the boy.
So I was put in a separate room. However, the guy who was made to guard the room asked me where I came from in Zimbabwe and I told him that I was from Shabani, now Zvishavane.
He then said his mother also came from the area and felt sorry for me. He then went straight to the hotel of Takawira to tell him of my predicament.
“In order to fool the Zapu officials, Takawira, who held a high position in Zapu, sent back the boy to where I was with the message that I was supposed to be one of six people to be sent to Ghana for some mission. That is how I survived,” said Mnangagwa.
He also told the gathering that when the Chirumanzu-Zibagwe constituency was put together in 2008, Zanu (PF) assigned him to “represent the people because of how he had been saved from death by people from the area.”
Mnangagwa’s claims of attempts on his life by Ndebele-speaking people come at a time when there is still an outcry over his role in the 1980s Gukurahundi massacres, which claimed lives of more than 20 000 people in the predominantly Ndebele speaking areas of Midlands and Matabeleland. Dabengwa, currently president of the revived Zapu, dismissed the claims. “I do not remember that. It is the first time that I am hearing about it. However, we have someone like Mlalazi who was mentioned as having played a role as a Zapu member in that incident,” he said.