FORMER Zanu PF spokesperson and now Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) elder, Rugare Gumbo has dismissed accusations he betrayed his comrades during the country’s liberation war as claimed by one Cde John Makwasha in a state controlled weekly.
In an interview with the Sunday Mail, Makwasha, a war veteran whose nom de guerre was Bayayi Mabhunu, alleged Gumbo displayed traits of being aloof when the fighters were in Tanzania in the 1960s.
Makwasha said the now ZimPF spokesperson, during the time wanted to pursue academic education leaving his fellow young comrades then to wage the struggle.
Gumbo is said to have told his war peers they should proceed with the war whilst he prepared to become one of the rulers of what would later become a liberated country.
Gumbo, who later became Zanu PF legislator and politburo member, is further alleged to have said the war was for the uneducated.
“What I am saying can be verified with others who were with us,” Makwasha said of his war comrade he said was then known as Alex Gumbo.
“Some comrades had to be removed from this big house we were staying. They were two gangs; those who wanted to go to school and there were few of us who wanted to go to war.”
Makwasha dared Gumbo to challenge his account of the events.
However, his claims elicited strong denial from Gumbo who described them as “nonsense”.
“I never said such words and was in the top echelons of power during that time. It’s all nonsense! It’s an effort to smear my name…” he said.
Gumbo, who is among dozens of Zanu PF bigwigs who were last year dislodged from the party for allegedly conniving to dethrone President Robert Mugabe, said he doubted Makwasha’s own liberation war credentials.
“I don’t think he is a war veteran. Ndaigotengesa chii (what was there to sell out)? I was up there in the Zanu PF hierarchy. Those are sponsored guys who are seeking to tarnish my image,” he said.
Zimbabwe’s accounts of the liberation struggle have always been associated with controversy with those who break ranks or disagree with the ruling Zanu PF followed with accusations of being traitors.
War veterans themselves are currently rocked by internal divisions over succession issues within Zanu PF.
The Joice Mujuru led ZimPF also claims a good following from among the country’s liberators.-RadioVop