Mugabe and ZANU did not help the ANC fight apartheid
By Dumisani Muleya ||
There is debate raging here on social media about what former Zipra commander and intelligence chief Dumiso Dabengwa has said.
In short, Dabengwa said Mugabe and Zanu did not help the ANC and MK (Umkhonto we Sizwe, or just MK, was the armed wing of the African National Congress, co-founded by Nelson Mandela in the wake of the Sharpeville massacre) much during the liberation struggle after Zimbabwe independence in 1980. So some people claim that Dabengwa is misrepresenting history.
And here is my response to that: Dumiso Dabengwa is essentially telling the truth. These things are well-documented; Mugabe refused to allow the ANC and MK to operate in Zimbabwe the way Samora Machel and Kenneth Kaunda took in Zanu/Zanla and Zapu/Zipra respectively.
When Mugabe took over in 1980 Oliver Tambo, the ANC leader, went to see him with Thabo Mbeki and in meetings Mugabe with Mnangagwa refused to allow them to open bases in Zimbabwe. They said to them that we will only help by allowing your ANC guys on condition that they don’t open a base, operate from here.
In other words give only political and diplomatic support, not the much-needed military and logistical backing. Mugabe offered them symbolic support. Mbeki continued to talk to Mnangagwa about it, but all in vain. That’s why no senior ANC guy lived in Zim except Joe Gqabi, ANC chief representative in Zimbabwe, who was killed at the ANC house in Avondale in Harare, just opposite to Twin Rivers Primary School.
Gqabi was shot 19 times on his driveway. Tambo admitted at his funeral apartheid had stuck a heavy blow on ANC/MK. Prior to that a bomb had been found in his car. And indeed he had been arrested in Rhodesia and detained. Even then ANC guys are convinced that Mugabe and Zanu sold out Gqabi, a prominent ANC figure who now has a municipality in SA named after him.
Former SA minister under Mbeki Geraldine Fraser Moleketi was there and knows the story very well. A lot of ANC guys were targeted in Zim in raids and bombs, which they think the Mugabe regime was part of. And here is why.
Declassified documents in Pretoria, London and Washington DC, among other capitals, have shown that Mugabe was afraid of apartheid in a big way so he made an agreement with them he will not house the ANC and MK as they wanted to shift their headquarters from Lusaka to Harare.
This fear was fueled by apartheid raids on Southern Africa during its Total Strategy campaign, PW Botha’s reaction to what he perceived as a “total onslaught” on SA. So Mugabe secretly sent Emmerson Mnangagwa, his chief enforcer and now Zim President, to Pretoria to negotiate a clandestine cooperation deal with apartheid SA at the expense of Zapu/Zipra and ANC/MK axis.
This became part of the Gukurahundi campaign and attendant massacres. Mugabe desperately wanted to destroy Zapu/Zipra structures, while Botha and later De Klerk wanted to destroy ANC/MK; so then a marriage of convenience arose.
The context is Mugabe and Zanu were aligned to PAC/APLA (formerly Poqo), and simply disliked the ANC/MK who were Zapu/Zipra allies. The hostilities were later to manifest themselves in the Mugabe/Mandela rivalry, and indeed lukewarm relations between Zanu PF and the ANC in power. The first major military attack on Rhodesia during the liberation struggle was the Wankie Campaign or Operation Nickel, a joint Zipra/MK (the Luthuli Detachment) effort in 1967. Of course, Dabengwa was there.
This was after the 1966 Chinhoyi campaign by Zanla which was relatively small-scale. Besides ANC and other liberation movements, which were part of the so-called Authentic Six, worked in terms of their own regional framework and matrix which didn’t initially include Zanu. Interview any of the ANC/MK cadres who were in Zim they will tell you what Dabengwa is saying is true.
Dabengwa is certainly informed on that issue and has the context, including background. The ANC and MK cadres who lived in Zim were insecure due to Mugabe’s hostility and apartheid raids. People like Moeletsi Mbeki and others lived in Zim, but they were very low level in the ANC and insecure. Then again they have stories to tell. ANC and MK guys did not get a single gun and base from Mugabe.
It was largely symbolic support. The ANC bigwigs didn’t live in Zim except Gqabi who was killed in what remains a mystery with clear signs of Zanu collaboration. So during Gukurahundi Mugabe attacked Zapu/Zipra structures (the so-called dissidents) for his one party state project to work, while apartheid SA formed Super Zapu and deployed it in Matabeleland to destabilise and combat ANC/MK secret movements in the name of fighting communism which was appealing to Western powers during the Cold War era.
Britain supported the campaign for its own interests. Mugabe even had a secret security structure to purportedly deal with communism (read Zapu/ANC which were Soviet-funded) just to please Pretoria and cover his back, which was irony writ large: Mugabe and Zanu were communist Chinese-funded and worked with communist pariah state North Korea to execute Gukurahundi.
Pretoria used a carrot-and-stick approach to deal with Harare; Mugabe would during the day denounce apartheid everywhere, but during the night cut deals with them, he did not support the ANC/MK the same way he was supported by Machel or Kaunda supported Zapu and ANC. Pretoria would attack Harare if it did not cooperate and retreat when it did.
Simply put, Mugabe denied the ANC and MK bases in Zim because of historical rivalries and fear of the nuclear-bombs wielding Pretoria. Some of these things are there in Mbeki’s book by Mark Gevisser and declassified documents mostly collected by Professor Timothy Scarnecchia, a Kent historian who has written on Zim.
Read his articles on Gukurahundi which I ran on our media platforms. Also read other literature on Gukurahundi including the recent one by Stuart Doran and Hazel Cameron, it becomes more clearer what was happening. Also read the book by Kevin Woods, the Zim intelligence operative who was an apartheid spy or double agent.
So I have no doubt at all in my mind Dabengwa is telling the truth. In fact, he was very polite, the truth is more uglier than what he said. And it’s documented. Ultimately that’s why Zuma and his Sadc colleagues let Mugabe to be toppled in the November 2017 military coup; the ANC cdes, Zuma in this case, would not have saved him partly because of what Dabengwa was saying.
Mugabe even told us during an interview at his house last year he feels Zuma betrayed him because he could have stopped the coup, but he didn’t.
Let’s connect the threads and relatedness of events, and the truth beyond Mugabe’s threadbare propaganda clearly emerges.
FOR IRREFUTABLE EVIDENCE ON THIS WATCH AND LISTEN TO THE MUGABE VIDEO INTERVIEW BELOW: