Dabengwa’s Letter Asking Russia For Arms To “Overthrow” Mugabe’s Government

The Dumiso Dabengwa Foundation (DDF) which was formed by Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa to, among other things, push for restorative justice for the Gukurahundi and political violence victims in the country dating back to 1980, has released a letter that was used as evidence in Dabengwa’s treason trial.

Dabengwa was accused of asking Russia for arms to overthrow former President Robert Mugabe’s government. Dabengwa and fellow colleague Lookout Masuku were later acquitted of treason charges in April 1983, but immediately rearrested and detained until Masuku’s death in 1986. Read the letter below:

28 April 1980

The Honorable Chairman



Dear Comrade Chairman

In connection with  comrade Nkomo’s personal request to you I am authorised by him to define more precisely some points and to make some additional explanations so that our stand could be more clear to you.

Comrade Nkomo is unable to leave the country at the present due to the tense situation in the country which could develop to be explosive as a result of a provocative and aggressive conduct of ZANU elements aimed at assisting to bring into reality the pro-western policies of Mugabe. His candid inclination towards Anglo-American imperialists has already widely opened doors to the country for all governments that in the past contributed in suppressing the masses of Zimbabwe.

The masses of Zimbabwe are deeply convinced that Mugabe has turned out to be actually more reactionary and pro-western than Muzorewa and that his policies will undermine the national interests of Zimbabwe and her people. It has also become clear that the British and USA governments intend to make a stance in their neo-colonialists aspirations and make Zimbabwe into a key country in the region for their Southern African axis of influence.

This is why we are of the opinion that the greatest threat to Zimbabwe her national independence and sovereignty originates from UK and South Africa. Having in mind the above mentioned , we now request you comrade Chairman to render us further assistance in our next struggle against imperialist intrigues, and  the subversive activities of their secret services against Zimbabwe. As far as the political power in Zimbabwe is concerned we consider this an internal affair  for the people of  Zimbabwe  to decide.

In order to start active work and to achieve better results as spelt out above we request you to allow your representative comrade Maxim to remain in Zambia under his present cover and to be allowed free access to all frontline states –Zambia, Tanzania, Mozambique, Botswana and Angola (perhaps Lesotho as well) so that he can lean in his work on the whole KGB facilities in this part of the world. We are confident that we can arrange his entry visits to Zimbabwe.

I should further like to assure you that Comrade President Nkomo has already sought President Kaunda’s consent on his (Maxim) continued stay in Zambia pending your approval.

Contacts and consultations between us (NSO) and comrade Maxim we suggest should in future be arranged in all the frontline states mentioned above. In addition we intend to station our NSO representative in Zambia for liaison functions.

With warmest regards

Dumiso Dabengwa

Secretary for NSO.

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3 comments on “Dabengwa’s Letter Asking Russia For Arms To “Overthrow” Mugabe’s Government

  1. To CDE Davengwa I respect your intelligence and the sooner you let bitterness out of you and embrace Emmerson and channel your intelligence for the uniting and betterment of Zimbabwe the better. I will tell you why Emmerson is not your enemy Mugabe has always been. Remember this when you wanted to attend The late garland son exceptional soldier and freedom fighter Lookout Masuku Emmerson let you out not because you threatened him but he understood your pain. EMMERSON is calling on all to build Zimbabwe. You were part of the South South cooperation you Mujuru and Zvobgo. Do you think people like the late Joshua Nkomo deserved to serve under Robert it was pure sacrifice for our country. Do not keep your mind on Gukurahundi it unearths bad things this letter is just a tip of the iceberg.The gamble you took failed because of the strategy overlooked one aspect that of the white Rhodesians because it presumed that they would not involve themselves when the civil war between Zipra and Zanla after independence. They stood firm to support the Government of the day with Robert as the prime minister need I remind you Colonel Dyke volunteered to crush the rebellion. I was in the Army then it was always known that you guys would not ganner enough votes to clinch majority so from training Zipra combatants were getting conventional war training and Zanla forces just Gorilla warfare. You acquired armoured cars and these were transported using the railway line into the Gwai River Camp from Zambia. That assembly point was being monitored when the Entumbane unrest started it was known it would trigger the deployment from Gwai I remember you being taken to make a sky shout for the convoy to go back into the camp or else exRhodesian airforce artillery and armoured car units would open fire
    The logistics needed for that operation could only be planned and masterminded by someone au fait with military logistics that was you because you were trained in that by Russia Rhodesians knew about this and called you the black Russian. When they tried to test you, Solomon Mujuru and Lookout you passed the examination with flying colours Mujuru and Lookout failed. You were not supposed to be jailed because Mugabe had failed to prove the case I remember you simply saying so I am going to spend a few days in Mugabe’s jail ? There was nothing to link you with unrest but Mugabe had been told of your I involvement.
    Please embrace Emmerson Zimbabwe needs you to rebuild YOU Presidential material but Robert would not have it .work with Emmerson and others to Rebuild not to disunite.off course when the economy is ok people can compensate Victims of Gukurahundi.Pointing fingers will not help us CDE

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