Outspoken liberation war heroin and former Zimbabwe Union of Democrats leader, Margaret Dongo, has publicly endorsed opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa ahead of next week’s crunch harmonised elections.
In a short video recording in which the former guerilla fighter drapes a yellow dress signifying CCC’s colour theme, she raises her index finger, the opposition party’s trademark symbol in clear endorsement of the party.
She goes on to tell viewers “Ngaapinde Hake Mukomana” loosely translated to mean vote for Chamisa into office.
It is uncharacteristic of an ex-combatant such as Dongo to go against the grain and not support fellow war veteran, President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Dongo, whose Chimurenga name was Tichaona Muhondo, rose to prominence during the Mugabe era being heavily involved in politics between 1990 and 2000. She was elected parliamentarian on a Zanu-PF ticket initially before she contested as an independent.
In the first instance she lost the election but successfully challenged the results in court represented by Tendai Biti, she went on to win the election re-run becoming the first independent MP in post-independence Zimbabwe.
Her run as an independent candidate was necessitated by the fact that she had been dropped by Zanu-PF, apparently for not towing the party line.
According to archives, Dongo dropped out of school aged 15 to go for military training in Mozambique.
She joined the liberation struggle in 1975, and received military training at Chimoio Military Training Camp and eventually served in the Tete Province, offering assistance to injured combatants.
After independence, she served in the President’s Office as an intelligence field officer between 1983 and 1990.
Dongo, who is no longer politically active, claims there have been several assassination attempts on her life, with the most scary being the torching of her Ridgeview home in early January 2016.
War veterans, ex-detainees, restrictees and collaborators lament the neglect of their welfare by Mnangagwa’s regime, which has not reviewed allowances to match hyperinflation.