Wilfred Mhanda whose war name is Dzinashe Machingura, a war-vet with (ZANLA) said Mnangagwa was just a bodyguard of Mugabe.

24 Oct
  • commenders of the war, leads the army to protect people.. they do not go in to gvt.. because gvt is for civilians… we are not welcoming the idea of military interccepts in the gvt.. this causes junta state.

    • Harare,- Zimbabwe’s most feared Zanu (PF) official and Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa did not play any defining or important role in the liberation struggle, although he seems to suggest to have played a bigger role, a senior commander during the war of liberation has said.


      Wilfred Mhanda whose war name is Dzinashe Machingura, a former Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA) said Mnangagwa did not play a prominent role in the liberation of the country. The former war fighter made the revelations at a symposium in Harare in a discussion to remember and honour Mozambique’s late President Samora Machel.

      Mhanda wrote his book titled “Dzino–Memories of a freedom fighter” which gives accounts of the liberation struggle. Responding to questions from journalists why Mnangagwa’s name was never mentioned in his book, Mhanda said: “If his (Mnangagwa’s) name is left out that means he did not play a prominent part during the liberation struggle,” Mhanda said.

      Mnangagwa was President Robert Mugabe’s personal body-guard and secretary during the liberation war. He was appointed Minister of State security at independence and blamed for the Matebeleland Gukurahundi massacres which saw more than 20 000 civilians being killed after disturbances in the early 80s.

      Mnangagwa joined the war of liberation in the mid-1960s and was arrested for bombing a train in Masvingo and sentenced to death but he survived the hangman’s noose and was sentenced to 10 years in jail.

      He commands a faction in Zanu (PF) which was rival to the one that was led by the late army General Solomon Mujuru who was killed in a mysterious fire at his farm in Beatrice. His family has demanded that police investigate what led to Zimbabwe’s first army General’s death.

      Meanwhile, Mhanda said commanders during the war made a mistake by convincing Machel that Mugabe be regarded as their leader. He said Mugabe had not been properly nominated at a congress to lead Zanu (PF).

      “We ourselves as ZIPA (Zimbabwe People’s Army) commanders had made an error by convincing President Samora Machel to accept Robert Mugabe as our leader. We later regretted it,” Mhanda said.

      Mhanda said Zimbabweans must not wait for war veterans or Zanu (PF) officials to solve the country’s problems but everybody must be involved in defining the destiny of the country.

      “The struggle to liberate Zimbabwe was not to liberate the war veterans or the Zanu (PF) leadership, it was to liberate everybody. It is everybody’s responsibility to participate in shaping the course of development of their country. It is everybody’s responsibility in shaping the course of development of their country; we cannot abdicate that responsibility to Zanu (PF). Zanu (PF) or Robert Mugabe do not have title deeds over Zimbabwe, we all Zimbabweans it is our responsibility,” Mhanda said.

      “Books must be reviewed by people, who give their honest opinions and not necessarily those who support even those who oppose. That is the basis of subsequent editions of the book.”

    •  martin chinyanga’s  opinion
    • Mhanda said Zimbabweans must not wait for war veterans or Zanu (PF) officials to solve the country’s problems but everybody must be involved in defining the destiny of the country.
    • “The struggle to liberate Zimbabwe was not to liberate the war veterans or the Zanu (PF) leadership, it was to liberate everybody. It is everybody’s responsibility to participate in shaping the course of development of their country. It is everybody’s responsibility in shaping the course of development of their country; we cannot abdicate that responsibility to Zanu (PF). Zanu (PF) or Robert Mugabe do not have title deeds over Zimbabwe, we all Zimbabweans it is our responsibility,” Mhanda said…i welcome cde manda, this is my commender speaking, this is a great book, and if you see .. he is almost in the same boat with nkala who recently said the same thing.. nkala brought out guerrilla politricks, tack ticks of killing true leadrs , by the fake , corrupt leaders, likes of munangangwa and mugabe.. pamberi nana rex, na teurayi ropa nhongo.. pamberi na magret dongo.. thus my true leaders,, i will work them up , to have a true national party.. yes thanks again to cde manda , for highlighting the truth. ..
  • Phillip ChabataMupfana chinyanga, what do you mean? waguta manje, are commanders not zimbabweans as anyone? I will agree with you that when in uniform, they should desist to make political or party comments but they should stand up to anyone trying to undermine the gains of our independence period.
  • Chido Dhliwayo

    ‎@Mukoma Phillip, soldiers should remain in the barracks and submit to civilian rule. Their role is to protect the physical territory from foreign invasion. They should live state craft to civilians. If a soldiers wants to go into politics they should first resign and be truly civilian with no access to military resources. A soldier who threatens civilian rule should be court marshalled. Idzi ndidzo nzira dzamasoja.
  • more helpful source  can be  found  in the  journals of AFSAAP i would like you to see this academic journal, which is basically made for the zimbabweans, and the process of democracy in zimbabwe.. this journals , tells the truth as it is… please you might go straight to page 28,, to see things of Manda and munangagwa.. thnaks.. enjoy the lecture….
  • ZIPA’s nominal head was Rex Nhongo (later known as Solomon Mujuru he
    would become Mugabe’s Army chief), but strategic and tactical leadership
    came to be held by his young deputy, Wilfred Mhanda. Mhanda had been
    typical of the new recruits to ZANU. At high school he had organised protests
    as part of a ZANU support group and in 1971, with the special branch in
    pursuit, his group skipped the border into Botswana. Mhanda joined ZANU’s
    Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army and took the war name of
    Dzinashe Machingura. Like a number of recruits who were to form ZIPA, he
    was later sent for training in China. He rapidly progressed through the ranks to
    become a military instructor, political commissar, commander of the Mgagao
    camp in Tanzania and then member of the High Command.3 Such high level
    training was to have an influence on the tactics later adopted when the young
    leaders took over the direction of the military struggle. Their strategic
    conception went beyond the aims of the old-guard which tended to be limited
    to ending minority rule through an agreement to hold elections in Zimbabwe
    based on the principle of one person one vote.
    ZIPA stood for no less than bringing about a revolutionary change in the
    country’s social and economic relations and achieving the “total transformation
    of the Zimbabwean society”.4 This conception regarded the nationalist struggle
    as a combined political military movement with close connections between the
    soldiers and the people’s aspirations for social and economic justice. As a
    consequence their military strategy emphasised securing lines of retreat and
    supply, anticipating counter-offensives, creating strategic reserves and
    preparing to establish liberated zones. Military commanders and political
    officers based themselves in, or visited, the war front.
    According to Saul the ZIPA officers had the “political clarity necessary to
    underwrite effective guerrilla struggle” which both ZANU and ZAPU lacked.5
    The old guard had turned away from non violent methods when attempts to
    persuade the white minority to reform had failed in the late 1950s and early
    1960s. They tended to perceive military action as a way of applying pressure to
    achieve reform. The combatants were regarded as subservient to their own
    political aims and ambitions, and therefore expendable. ZIPA did not see itself
    or its troops as expendable.
    ZIPA mobilised rapidly after its formation. In December 1975, troops started to
    relocate from Tanzania to Mozambique and in January 1976, one thousand
    guerrillas crossed the border.
    ARAS 28 Vol.30 No. 1 June 2009

    Dzino — A self-serving narrative – Lovemore Ranga Mataire

    by Lloyd Msipa on Monday, October 24, 2011 at 10:23pm

    Dzino-Memories of a Freedom Fighter, is a self-serving narrative of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle that fails to illuminate in a broader perspective the intricate dynamics within Zanla and Zipra liberation movements. Written by Wilfred Mhanda, whose nom de guerre was Dzinashe Machingura (Dzino); the book is a disservice to all seeking a better understanding of the liberation struggle, given its portrayal of the chief protagonist as unblemished.

    Although it is true that Dzino and others played a crucial part in re-igniting the war after the arrests of most nationalists and during the detente period (1974), it is also an incontestable fact that he failed when it mattered most to subordinate himself to the political leadership upon its release around 1976.


    In military, and indeed as per the natural detects of any war, soldiers are expected to be subordinate not just to the military hierarchy, but also to the political leadership. It is this leadership which, in turn, gives the command, policy and ideological direction to the war effort. Any failure to adhere to this basic principle of warfare is naturally viewed as not just insubordination, but an act of rebellion.

    It appears Dzino suffers from a degree of amnesia, owing perhaps to the period when he was in banishment, as he conveniently glosses over certain shortcomings in his actions that, with the benefit of hindsight, he himself would want to have done differently.


    Dzino is clearly bitter at having been a bystander in the making of a new state in the formative years of our independence, and this bitterness plainly manifests itself throughout the book, leaving it as a narrow narrative.

    On page 198, he writes: “I was in a very confused state of mind. My friends and I had spent years fighting to liberate our country but had now been reduced to footnotes of this momentous time. We had become outsiders, distanced from the contagious euphoria gripping the country.”


    This bitterness threads through the pages of the book, wailing and groaning for recognition like a jilted lover.

    Out of this wailing and bitterness, the two main purposes of this book cry out loud: To besmirch various nationalists’ contribution during the struggle and to justify the continued existence of the ill-fated and short-lived Zimbabwe People’s Army (ZIPA), of which Dzino claims to have been the chief protagonist.


    The fact that the book is a personal account of the war is not an excuse for Dzino to present his version as the noblest and would want the reader to believe that he was the impeccable and central figure.

    A case in point is his claim that he was the brains behind the Wampoa Ideological College, which churned out such cadres as Sobusa Gula Ndebele and Happison Muchechetere.

    The truth is that Wampoa was the brainchild of David Todhlana (Chrispen Mataire), who also came up with the name Wampoa, which is derived from a similar college in the then Soviet Union where Todhlana had his military training together with the late General Solomon Mujuru. It was Todhlana who became the founding director of this college.


    Throughout the book, President Mugabe is negatively portrayed as an opportunist not in tune with military matters, while the late liberation icon Josiah Tongogara is cast as rabidly ruthless.

    Nothing can be further from the truth. Everyone knows that by the time Cdes Mugabe and the late Tekere crossed into Mozambique, the war was in a state of limbo. Combatants, eager to learn of the state of internal negotiations, were desperate for fresh leadership and a new impetus to carry the struggle forward.


    In crossing to Mozambique, Cdes Mugabe and Tekere were not seeking personal glory, but carried with them a Zanu mandate to stabilise Zanla, which was at the time dogged by internal conflict.

    Even Dzino attests to the unstable state of affairs in the camps before the arrival of Cdes Mugabe and Tekere, describing it as “a taxing and intense period.

    “President Mugabe listened very intensely throughout but did not make notes and asked very few questions”. It is not merely off the mark, but scandalous to portray President Mugabe as an opportunist given the fact that the man left the relative comfort of a stable job in Ghana and came back to Zimbabwe to commit himself to the struggle. In trying to embellish his record, Dzino forgets that unlike President Mugabe, he had to be persuaded by some nationalists in Zambia to abandon his dream of pursuing his studies in England. The nationalists convinced him to undergo military training so as to equip him with the task of being an underground Zanu activist in the then Rhodesia.

    “Members of the Dare, Simpson Mutambanengwe, the Secretary for Political Affairs, and Henry Hamadziripi, the Party Treasurer, came to meet and debrief us. We discussed our plans to go to England for further studies but they asked us to consider the possibility of working for the party in Rhodesia after undertaking military training. They said they would get us lawyers to defend us in Salisbury so that we could resume our studies at the (Rhodesia) university. We agreed to their proposal and voluntarily abandoned our plans to go to England,” writes Dzino.


    So was he a conscript? I guess he was a voluntary conscript who upon the promise of resuming his studies back in Rhodesia, he agreed to undergo military training. The fact that Dzino was among the first group of University of Rhodesia students to undergo military training did not in any way make him or his group a special breed.

    There were many other individuals who left the relative comfort of foreign lands to come and join their brothers and sisters in the fight against colonial repression. It is indeed this inflated view of his self-worth that eventually became the prime catalysts for his downfall when he fell out of favour with both the political and the military hierarchy.

    I have always had fierce discussions with my father, who was part of Dzino’s group, over the latter’s insistence on the continued existence of ZIPA even when it had become apparent to everyone that its usefulness had expired. For the record, ZIPA was the brainchild of the Frontline States leadership, comprising the late Samora Machel of Mozambique, Dr Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia and the late Julius Nyerere of Tanzania. The body came as a result of the need to present a united military front of both Zanla and Zipra forces.


    Although the leadership of both Zanu and Zapu assented to this arrangement it was clear that it had been forced down their throats despite the apparent differences in military strategy and ideological grounding of the two parties.

    However, frontline states were the conduits through which the liberation movements sourced funds, military equipment and other logistical help needed in the war. It was therefore strategic for both movements to give a nod to the alliance, despite their reservations, as refusal would have offended the frontline leaders.

    It is also true, as Dzino writes that the fact that Zanu had more recruits and that it had bases in Mozambique naturally meant that ZIPA was to be based in Mozambique. This meant that some Zapu personnel, most of whom had been based in Zambia, had to join their colleagues.


    Samora pushed hard to have the ZIPA secretariat constituted, and it comprised an equal number of senior cadres from both Zipra and Zanla forces.

    Dzino admits that this arrangement was unworkable from inception given the attitude of the host country, which seemed to favour Zanla over Zipra, just as Zambia’s Kaunda backed Zapu.

    As a result, none of the fighters, except probably Dzino himself, ever took the arrangement with the seriousness it deserved. No wonder the Zapu leadership of Dumiso Dabengwa simply instructed their cadres to go back to Zambia, without even consulting their Zanla colleagues. That signalled the death of ZIPA. By the time Cdes Mugabe and Tekere arrived, ZIPA was already as good as defunct, because it needed the Zapu element to survive. Without the Zapu element, it would have been irrational for Dzino and others to expect the leadership to recognise and respect ZIPA.

    It was wrong for Dzino and others to argue for the continued existence of ZIPA instead of metamorphosing it and assimilating it back to Zanla, as was prescribed by both the military and political leadership of Zanu. The difference between the late General Mujuru and Dzino’s group was that the former saw the impracticality of giving life to a dead donkey and even advised some of the ZIPA commanders to fight from within and not from without. According to Dzino, even Tongogara tried to convince him to chart a new course and treat ZIPA as a defunct entity, but self-righteousness overtook him.


    What options were available for both the military and political leadership given the furore and the impasse that ensued? Would it not have set a bad precedence had Dzino and others have had their way?

    There was a danger of the struggle being put in serious jeopardy. Zanu wanted to show the world that it was serious about fighting the colonial regime, instead of being bogged down by positional changes and quarrels on the relevance of the ill-fated ZIPA.

    Attempts to try and embroil Julius Nyerere in that ZIPA fight by claiming he was the brains behind ZIPA and that he was the only one with the mandate to disband it were mischievous and frivolous. Dzino thought involving Nyerere in the whole debate would validate his group’s arguments. But he failed to realise that while the leadership was appreciative of the frontline states’ assistance, this was purely a Zimbabwean struggle, whose course or direction had to be controlled by its leadership.


    The choice was either the leadership continues giving a free hand to ZIPA or reconstitute the struggle according to the dynamics prevailing at that time.

    The seclusion of the group from the cadres and prevention of a serious venomous contagion was the only option available. It was not an easy option given the enormous work that Dzino and others had done but there was no any other way. It can also be argued that the majority of ZIPA commanders could have decided to hang on to the military body in fear of losing their popularity and hold among fighters and probably be relegated to insignificant posts. It is also probable that Dzino and his team could have been contemplating turning ZIPA into a political movement.

    Reading through the book one will come to the inescapable conclusion that Dzino admired Frelimo in that its military leadership later transformed itself into the national political leadership upon that country’s independence, an idea he toyed around with as the Political Commissar of ZIPA.

    Assuming that Dzino is a misunderstood revolutionary, how then does he justify his post-liberation association with the Open Society initiative for Southern Africa, funded by George Soros, a man known all over the world as a destabilising element in many progressive countries? Was that the essence of ZIPA?


2 responses to “Wilfred Mhanda whose war name is Dzinashe Machingura, a war-vet with (ZANLA) said Mnangagwa was just a bodyguard of Mugabe.

  1. Td mawire

    May 8, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    I think we need a panel of experts to review his book so that the history of our liberation struggle can not be twisted for selfish ends

  2. canisio Mutsindikwa

    June 2, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Considering his role in the liberation struggle, Comrade Wilfred Mhanda’s version of the armed struggle must be taken into account. Failure to subordinate himself to authority does not mean he is not telling the truth but telling it from the perspective of non conformists who did not see that authority as legitimate. Common views in Zimbabwe are that the history of the second Chimurenga has been monopolized and twisted to face the direction desired by certain people. Historians AS HUMAN BEINGS CAN BE BIASED. Mhanda’s version is needed for people to make their own judgments and arrive at their own logical conclusions. The truth is that people’s views differ depending on opinions (which must be respected). However fact must be given as fact. Anyone else willing to challenge Mhanda’s version must write his or her own version beyond any reasonable doubt. We commend Mhanda’s revelation and urge others to give their unbiased versions of the same issue. The fact that Mhanda was not declared a hero when he meets credentials raises serious questions. Zimbabweans from different walks of life have different views about independence and freedom of opinion in Zimbabwe today. Earlier versions of history vividly show Dzinashe Machingura as a member of the ZIPA High Command, a position he could only reach is he was highly regarded. I therefore recommend that his opinions, views, experiences and perspectives


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