The Children of War Veterans (COZVWA) has invited former Central Intelligence Organization (CIO) Director General Happyton Bonyongwe and Rtd Lieutenant General Engelbert Rugeje for the post of Board of Advisory members.

COZVWA describes itself as a non profitable pressure group which seeks to further human rights, democracy and maintenance of rule of law.

It is a critic to the ZANU PF regime.

COZVWA announced the proposal for the Board of Advisory members on its X handle and said the targeted individuals are yet to respond as to whether they accept the invitation or reject it.

“COZWVA has made to following Proposal for Board of Advisory

“Prof J Moyo
Prof Madhuku
Dr G Mugano
Prof Nkosana Moyo
Dr D Shumba
Dr Chimedza
Rtd Gen Rugeje
Rtd M/Gen Bonyongwe
Dr Gandawa
Prof Mutambara
Eng Mzembi
Adv F Mahere

“They are still to confirm their availability,” said COZVWA in an X post.

While COZVWA is targeting a number of individuals including former cabinet ministers Jonathan Moyo, Walter Mzembi; economist Gift Mugano, Professor Arthur Mutambara among others, of key interest to some are Rugeje and Bonyongwe because of their war credentials taking into account that COZVWA is claiming to be children of those who took part in liberation war (war veterans).

Rugeje joined the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA) as a teenager at the age of 16, serving as a partisan.

Taking the moniker of “Sunbat”, he rose within the ranks of ZANLA to become a member of the movement’s general staff.

After the Second Chimurenga, Rugeje was offered the rank of major in the new Zimbabwe Defence Forces.

In 2007 retired army Captain Albert Matapo, Colonel Ben Ncube, Air Vice Marshal Elson Moyo and Major General Engelbert Rugeje were arrested for allegedly leading an attempted coup.

According to the government then, the soldiers had planned to forcibly remove President Robert Mugabe from office and asked the then Rural Housing Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa to form a government with the heads of the armed forces.

Treason charges were laid against Matapo and other civilians, but no treason trial ever took place, for lack of evidence.

However seven men (including Matapo, but not Ncube, Rugeje or Moyo), who were allegedly only trying to form a new political party, were held in prison for seven years before being released in 2014, and subsequently founding their new party.

Ncube, Rugeje, and Moyo were all reported under house arrest in June 2007, but all remained in the army.

Rugeje was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1983 and was made a colonel in 1987.

In December 2017, he was appointed Secretary for Commissariat for Zanu PF.

Meanwhile, Bonyongwe spent the war years as a military instructor at the Nachingwea Guerrilla Academy.

Before joining the government, Bonyongwe worked as a lawyer at the Atherstone & Cook Legal Practitioners law firm. Bonyongwe was a member of the Zimbabwe National Army and between 1981 and 1999.

He left the ZNA with the rank of Brigadier General. In 2002, he succeeded Elisha Muzonzini as the Director-General of the Central Intelligence Agency.

On 9 October he replaced Emmerson Mnangagwa as the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. As, the head of the CIO, he used to report directly to the former president Robert Mugabe, without going through Minister for State Security Kembo Mohadi.

After the swearing of Emmerson Mnangagwa as president in November 2017, a new cabinet was appointed. Bonyongwe was relieved of his duty as the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. He was succeeded by Ziyambi Ziyambi.

Bonyongwe is a lawyer and the former Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. He took over from Emmerson Mnangagwa after being appointed in a cabinet reshuffle on 9 October 2017.

Before his appointment he was the director general of the Zimbabwean intelligence agency, the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO). Bonyongwe is a former member of the Zimbabwe National Army, when he retired he was Brigadier General.