Mugabe opponent Margaret Dongo escaped Harare house fire aimed at her life

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HARARE – Firebrand opposition figure Margaret Dongo and her family are lucky to be alive after her Harare home went aflame a fortnight ago, with the 55-year-old war veteran convinced that this was an attempt on her life.

Narrating her ordeal to the Daily News on Sunday yesterday, the traumatised Dongo said the still-to-be explained fire at her Ridge View home had started as she and her family were sleeping, with part of the roof collapsing from the inferno.

The outspoken pro-democracy activist said authorities, including officials from Zesa, who had visited her to look into the fire had ruled out an electrical fault as the source of the inferno. “The forensic department has been here to try and figure out how the fire started.

So far, I have not got back anything concrete from them. “I do hope that the police will get to the bottom of this, as this is not the first time that this has happened to me.

However, I still haven’t received the results of their investigations from the 1995 and 1996 incidents,” Dongo said. Property worth tens of thousands of dollars was destroyed in the inferno, which took the combined effort of her family, neighbours and later the Fire Brigade to extinguish it.

“That was an attempt on my life,”  Dongo told the Daily News on Sunday, adding “I am not surprised as this is not the first time that this has happened to me. “In August 1995, I survived a petrol bomb attack in St Marys (Chitungwiza) before I had another similar experience in Sunningdale the following year”.

The former leader of the Zimbabwe Union of Democrats also believes that her brutally frank utterances on the dire political situation obtaining in the country may have something to do with all this, as it did not sit well with the country’s irascible leaders.

Dongo, who was very close to President Robert Mugabe’s late wife Sally, has regularly lashed the increasingly-frail nonagenarian and his ruling Zanu PF for their misrule.

“It could be that they are trying to instil fear in me because of my work as a political activist. Still, one asks why me and why has it happened in such a way.

“This approach of throwing things in our homes is presumably meant to scare people? “But some people like me are not scared. The only person I fear is God as God is my bodyguard. “All this also causes one to ask where we can go where they cannot follow us. And when you live in fear in your country it hurts badly. I participated in the liberation struggle like many others and I wonder whether this is the thank you I’m getting,” she added. “My other concern is if they start the violence now when there are still two years to the 2018 elections, what will happen as we get near there and when will it stop? “I have been to my doctor as I’m having difficulty in breathing, from the toxic fumes of the fire,” Dongo said.