President Mugabe has said former Zanu-PF secretary for information and publicity Mr Rugare Gumbo was unrepentant after being brought back from the cold following a botched coup attempt against the party’s leadership during the liberation struggle.
He said the sacked party spokesperson abused his position to settle personal scores.
In an interview during ZTV’s programme “Reflections at 91” to mark his 91st birthday, President Mugabe said he was surprised that Mr Gumbo plotted against him together with former Vice President Joice Mujuru when he, together with the late Vice President Simon Muzenda, worked for his re-admission into the party against the views of fellow party members.
“Well, it is the man repeating himself,” he said. “What he doesn’t know is that I was personally responsible for getting him back and even for giving him that position which he had.
“Some people wondered whether I was doing the right thing for a new person, giving him position yaSecretary for Information . . . and he was using that position there in Mberengwa to get people to support him and achiti ndini ndamukuru wezvakati muPolitburo.”
President Mugabe said Mr Gumbo had a grudge against Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and other officials in Midlands whom he accused of sabotaging his bid to represent Mberengwa in Parliament.
He narrated how Cde Gumbo and his associates were incarcerated during the war and how an olive branch was extended to them after independence despite their attempts to depose the party’s leadership.
“I think we had gone to Malta (conference) and we of course imprisoned them (Mr Gumbo and his associates,” he said.
“The first group ranaDzino (Dzinashe Machingura) we handed them over to Mozambicans, but this group takati we imprison them ourselves and takachera gomba deep . . . vari pasi kugadzira dzimba ipapo, kuisa zvimubedha ipapo, saka taivapa sadza vari mugomba iroro ratakanga tachera remba reprison and we didn’t even tell Samora this time about them.”
President Mugabe said Lord Soames, who had been appointed Governor of the country in the transition to independence, tried to influence former Mozambican President Samora Machel into releasing Mr Gumbo and his associates assuming this would aid their performance at the polls.
He said when they eventually came home, they tried to lure the rebels to rejoin the party, but they refused.
The President said he later managed to get Mr Gumbo to rejoin the party.