By Leopold Munhende
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa and exiled former Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo have led tributes for the late liberation war stalwart and Zapu’s former intelligence supremo, Dumisio Dabengwa.
Dabengwa died early Thursday, in Nairobi, Kenya on his way back home after being airlifted to India last month for specialist treatment.
He was 79.
In a post on his micro-blogging social media site Twitter, Mnangagwa said he had been touched to hear of Dabengwa’s passing.
“I am very sorry to hear of the passing of Comrade Dumiso Dabengwa. I had huge respect for Dumiso and his contribution to Zimbabwe.
“As a liberation fighter, a long standing Minister of Home Affairs and as a man,” said Mnangagwa.
“My deepest condolences are with his friends and family at this sad time.”
Moyo described Dabengwa as a true liberation war hero whose harassment by the Prime Minister Robert Mugabe’s government in the early years of independence derailed the war hero’s contributions to Zimbabwe.
“A true freedom fighter, selfless revolutionary and national hero; whose service to Zimbabwe was derailed by Gukurahundists who maliciously detained him in 1983 for four years under the evil Rhodesian State of Emergency Act. Giants like him don’t fall!” said Moyo.
Gukurahundi is a term, describing a brutal military campaign by Mugabe against Zapu supporters that left over 20 000 civilians dead. Mnangagwa was State Security Minister at the time and Moyo has in the past referred to the Zanu PF leader as a “Gukurahundist”.
Dabengwa was incarcerated alongside Lookout Masuku and four others on treason charges but the State’s case crumbled for lack of evidence. However, his best friend Masuku then Zapu military general died chained to his hospital bed as Mugabe sought to overturn the acquittal.
Nicknamed the Black Russian, Dabengwa is a former Home Affairs minister who left Zanu PF in 2008 to revive Zapu argued the 1987 Unity Accord that brought together the two liberation movements had failed his party’s supporters.
Social media went into meltdown with condolence messages. Most Zimbabweans called on Mnangagwa to declare Dabengwa a national hero.