‘Rhode­sians kid­napped Ethan Dube, killed JZ Moyo’


This week we con­tinue with a nar­ra­tion by Cde Jane Lungile Ng­wenya who speaks to our Deputy News Ed­i­tor Levi Mukarati from her home in Bu­l­awayo. An in­de­fati­ga­ble rev­o­lu­tion­ary, Cde Ng­wenya re­counts events lead­ing to the kid­nap­ping of Cde Ethan Dube and the as­sas­si­na­tion of Cde Ja­son Ziya­papa Moyo.

Ques­tion: You men­tioned a con­fer­ence in Moscow, what was this con­fer­ence about?

An­swer: I think an­other im­por­tant chap­ter in my trav­els to these in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ences was my par­tic­i­pa­tion at the first United Na­tions World Con­fer­ence on Women. It was held in Mex­ico in 1975 and it led to the adop­tion of the World Plan of Ac­tion and the Dec­la­ra­tion of the Equal­ity of Women and their Con­tri­bu­tion to De­vel­op­ment and Peace. I at­tended many con­fer­ences rep­re­sent­ing our lib­er­a­tion move­ment. Un­for­tu­nately, you young peo­ple are now try­ing to dig the coun­try’s his­tory when our mem­o­ries are now not very sharp. We had peo­ple like Wil­lie Musarurwa who passed on with­out hav­ing fully doc­u­mented his own his­tory. We now have a sad sit­u­a­tion where some peo­ple are ly­ing about past events to get po­lit­i­cal posts. That is why cor­rup­tion is ram­pant in Zim­babwe be­cause these peo­ple want to amass wealth be­fore they get ex­posed. I am not say­ing I am the start and end to Zim­babwe’s his­tory, but it should be known that I am among some com­rades who are not happy about how his­tory has been dis­torted. Many peo­ple died be­fore in­de­pen­dence, but to­day they have been erased from our route to in­de­pen­dence. We have peo­ple like Ethan Dube and many oth­ers who dis­ap­peared and to­day no one talks about them. These are peo­ple with rel­a­tives who want to know what hap­pened to them. It is un­for­tu­nate that Robert Mu­gabe con­cen­trated much on pol­i­tics and failed to ad­dress crit­i­cal so­cial prob­lems we had. Dur­ing the first years of in­de­pen­dence, Mu­gabe showed the so­cial and eco­nomic will, but that was to be over­taken by pol­i­tics. We are too much into pol­i­tics, that is

why we see peo­ple start cam­paign­ing

just af­ter an elec­tion and be­fore thank­ing the peo­ple who would have voted. Ques­tion: You men­tion Ethan Dube,

what hap­pened to him?

An­swer: Whilst in Zam­bia in Oc­to­ber 1974, I was as­signed, to­gether with Ethan Dube on one of our usual du­ties to go to our Zapu camp in Fran­cis­town. Ethan was our direc­tor of in­tel­li­gence and as of­fi­cers we used to set up camps. I was as­signed to work with Ethan Dube. I don’t know if it was planned within our or­gan­i­sa­tion or not that we were to be kid­napped. A lot of peo­ple have told me it was an in­side job but I would not like to be­lieve it and I do not know or have proof of such al­le­ga­tions. The two of us were sent and ar­rived in Botswana and were re­ceived by our rep­re­sen­ta­tive who was also look­ing af­ter our camps in that coun­try. We used to call our rep­re­sen­ta­tive by

his sur­name, Matswaha. He later joined the prison ser­vices af­ter

in­de­pen­dence. We were re­ceived well and went to have

our sup­per at Matswaha’s house. Af­ter sup­per I was taken to a Mrs Sit­hole’s house where I was to sleep for the night. When I got there I found the place had

al­ready been pre­pared for me. The fol­low­ing day we were sup­posed to

wake up at 4 am. I re­mem­ber go­ing to Mrs Sit­hole’s place

around 6pm. Be­cause of the travel from Zam­bia, I was very tired and de­cided to take an early sleep. Just be­fore 8 pm, a team from the Botswana po­lice came and asked me to quickly dress up and fol­low them. They told me that Ethan had been kid­napped. I think this hap­pened around the same time I ar­rived at Mrs Sit­hole’s place. The po­lice said peo­ple had seen Ethan be­ing car­ried on the shoul­der of one hugely built white man. They said no one had both­ered to ask

what was hap­pen­ing or tak­ing place. You see, the Batswana are cul­tur­ally not nosey, so they did not bother them­selves over what was hap­pen­ing. Ques­tion: Sorry to in­ter­rupt, but af­ter sup­per didn’t Ethan tell you where he was go­ing be­fore you made your way to Mrs Sit­hole’s house? An­swer: I don’t want to bring a lot of new con­spir­a­cies now. But peo­ple are free to draw con­clu­sions over what I know or what I can say about Ethan’s dis­ap­pear­ance. We had a woman con­tact in Fran­cis­town. When I joined other cadres in Zam­bia, she was al­ready there and many peo­ple in the lead­er­ship knew her. I had not met her, but I knew she was there be­cause she would ac­com­mo­date some of our lead­ers when they went to Fran­cis­town and pro­vided crit­i­cal in­for­ma­tion. Ethan drank al­co­hol and I knew that the woman con­tact also drank al­co­hol. Af­ter sup­per, Ethan wished me a good night but in­di­cated he was go­ing to cool off over one or two beers with an ‘old friend’. He did not men­tion he was go­ing to this woman’s house but I sus­pected that is where he was go­ing. Like I said ear­lier, I knew there was a woman con­tact who I sus­pected to have fel­low women friends who would join in at some of the drink­ing meet­ings. But I will not bring in any con­spir­acy the­ory as to why Ethan chose to see this woman be­cause I was not with him at the place. But the Botswana po­lice con­cluded that our com­rade had been kid­napped by the no­to­ri­ous Selous Scouts from the woman’s house. When they ques­tioned the res­i­dents, they said Ethan had been car­ried away like a sleep­ing baby. Judg­ing by the time I had left him, he could not have been drunk to be car­ried away like that. We sus­pected he was in­jected with an un­known sub­stance that made him un­con­scious. As we were try­ing to come up with var­i­ous an­swers, we ar­rived at the po­lice sta­tion and I was to be kept there for the night. I had got­ten out of the house in my night dress and slept at the po­lice sta­tion be­fore I was es­corted to take my be­long­ings at Mrs Sit­hole’s house the fol­low­ing morn­ing. The au­thor­i­ties feared for my safety and that morn­ing I was put on a plane back to Lusaka. When I got to Lusaka, I ex­plained to the lead­er­ship what had tran­spired in Fran­cis­town. The Zam­bian Gov­ern­ment and po­lice

came to­gether with some OAU of­fi­cials and it was rec­om­mended that we go back to Botswana and carry out in­ves­ti­ga­tions on Ethan’s kid­nap­ping. But even up to this day, we don’t know where Ethan was taken and what hap­pened to him. Ques­tion: You were one of the last per­sons to see Ethan Dube and I un­der­stand you were in the same of­fice with the Zapu Vice-Pres­i­dent Ja­son Ziya­papa Moyo on the day he was killed. Can you nar­rate this in­ci­dent?

An­swer: There was an OAU meet­ing in Lusaka in 1977 and a lot of del­e­gates and per­ma­nent rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the United Na­tions wanted to meet lead­ers of the lib­er­a­tion move­ments be­fore the start of the con­fer­ence. We were wait­ing to re­ceive a sched­ule to know what time Zapu was set to meet the OAU lead­ers. Ja­son Moyo went to Ma­puto for a lib­er­a­tion move­ments’ cau­cus meet­ing on a Thurs­day and came back the fol­low­ing day. On the day he left, our chief ad­min­is­tra­tor in the Zam­bian of­fice, Jack Amos Ng­wenya, re­ceived a note to col­lect a par­cel from the post of­fice that had been sent to Ja­son Moyo. We had worked with Ng­wenya from the days of NDP (Na­tional Demo­cratic Party). He was a sea­soned ad­min­is­tra­tor. When Ja­son re­turned, Ng­wenya did not hand over the par­cel. The par­cel was sup­posed to be a small book and a Parker pen. On Sat­ur­day morn­ing, as Zapu lead­ers we were sup­posed to join Ja­son Moyo in a meet­ing with Sierra Leone’s per­ma­nent rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the United Na­tions, a Mrs Ban­gura and Mrs Mo­ham­mad from Mali. I am sorry I no longer re­mem­ber their first names. Be­sides, back then we re­lated to each other more on sur­names than first names. So we first had a meet­ing at our Zapu of­fice to strate­gise on the en­gage­ment we were sup­posed to have with Mrs Ban­gura and Mrs Mo­ham­mad. When we got to the of­fice, Ng­wenya told JZ he had for­got­ten to give him his par­cel upon ar­rival the pre­vi­ous day. In that of­fice was my­self, John Nkomo, Du­miso Dabengwa, vice-pres­i­dent Ja­son Moyo, Ng­wenya and two se­cu­rity guys - Din­gani and Car­los. I was the only woman in the of­fice. We were sup­posed to leave for the meet­ing with only Ja­son Moyo, Jack Amos

Ng­wenya and the two se­cu­rity guys. Dabengwa and Nkomo would carry on

with our work at the of­fice. Be­fore we left, Jack Ng­wenya got up and

handed JZ his par­cel. It was not some­thing new as JZ and other lead­ers fre­quently re­ceived parcels from sis­ter lib­er­a­tion move­ments and or­gan­i­sa­tions in sol­i­dar­ity with us. Again, we all knew Ja­son had re­ceived a par­cel. But it later dawned on us that our phone line was be­ing tapped by peo­ple aligned to the Smith regime. I think the Zam­bian Gov­ern­ment was re­laxed on this one and the Rhode­sians took ad­van­tage. Again the Zam­bian Gov­ern­ment did not think there were dan­ger­ous parcels that could be shipped through their postal ser­vices. Jack Ng­wenya was re­spon­si­ble for col­lect­ing our mail. We were later to con­vince our­selves that our phones had been hacked. The in­ter­cep­tors of our com­mu­ni­ca­tion knew we re­ceived parcels fre­quently and that is why they opted for a par­cel bomb tar­get­ing JZ. So when JZ got the par­cel he im­me­di­ately opened it. I re­mem­ber see­ing a small flame on the par­cel and a thud­ding sound. I was thrown out of the of­fice as a re­sult of the force from the bomb ex­plo­sion and tem­po­rar­ily lost my hear­ing. I re­mem­ber later get­ting up and go­ing back to where the ex­plo­sion had erupted. All the peo­ple in the room were in­jured. Dabengwa sus­tained burns on his face while Nkomo also got some burns. Jack Ng­wenya was bleed­ing while ly­ing on the floor and JZ Moyo was also on the floor with his in­testines ex­posed. JZ’s ab­dom­i­nal flesh had been ripped

off in the ex­plo­sion. It was a ter­ri­ble sight. JZ was not dec­i­mated into pieces of flesh as some might think. It was only his in­testines that were out but the rest of his body was in­tact. We then had some peo­ple say­ing Ng­wenya knew of the bomb, but how could he be so stupid to give JZ the par­cel and re­main in the room. Dur­ing the lib­er­a­tion strug­gle peo­ple al­ways tried to ap­por­tion blame to each other but in JZ’s case I be­lieve our tele­phones had been hacked by the Rhode­sians. ◆ To be con­tin­ued next week...

Cde Ng­wenya

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