ZAPU leader Dumiso Dabengwa yesterday told Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko must “shut up before going on to describe him as a sellout and a cheat, who hides information that he was a State security agent after independence.
In a statement in response to what Zapu saw as an attack on their party and leader, Dabengwa chronicled how Mphoko ditched Zipra at the height of the struggle, saying from then on, the military wing disowned Mphoko.
Dabengwa accused the new vice-president of embellishing his role during the armed struggle, so as to enhance his credentials, now that he was at the helm of the country.
“In the mid-1970s when the Zimbabwe People’s Army (Zipa) was set-up in Mozambique to bring together Zipra and Zanla forces, the Zapu contingent was led by Alfred Mangena (Nikita), with Mphoko still in charge of logistics,” the Zapu leader said in a statement.
“When irreconcilable differences cropped up among commanders in that force, Nikita pulled back the Zipra contingent to Zambia, but Mphoko stayed back and indicated he would follow at a later date.
“That did not happen much to the anger of Nikita and the rest of the Zipra command; at this point Mphoko started acting as Zapu representative in Mozambique.
“As far as Zipra commanders are concerned, Mphoko joined Zanu when he reneged from joining his contingent when they left Zipa to return to Zambia.”
Mphoko has been reported to have been one of the senior Zipra commanders, but Dabengwa seemed to suggest this may not be true. Dabengwa said contrary to Mphoko’s account, the vice-president did not lead joint operations between Zapu and the African National Congress’s military wing Umkhonto weSizwe.
Mphoko was quoted by the State media criticising Dabengwa and others for leaving Zanu PF to revive Zapu, arguing that the 1987 Unity Accord between the two parties still exists, drawing the ire of his former comrades.
Dabengwa said it is surprising that Mphoko hides that he was a member of the Central Intelligence Office (CIO) before he became a diplomat and advised him to shut up about Zapu.
“On attainment of independence in 1980, Mphoko was one of the few Zapu cadrés to be inducted into the CIO,” he said, in a statement written jointly with the Zipra high command.
“It may be significant that from the CIO, Mphoko was sent out to the Zimbabwe embassy in Austria.
“For some reason he does not mention this attachment as the beginning of his diplomatic career.
“This precedes his appointment to Russia, Botswana and finally South Africa which are quite publicised.”
Dabengwa reiterated that Mphoko and the rest of the former Zapu members who remained in Zanu PF were no longer representing the former, as the Unity Accord, bringing the two parties together, had ceased to exist.