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Fired Dongo walks familiar road

Fired Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) women’s league boss Margaret Dongo has found many political homes in her long career which started when she became an MP for the ruling Zanu PF in 1990 after quitting her Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) job.

BY OBEY MANAYITI

Margaret Dongo (left) and Joice Mujuru at a ZimPF rally last year
Margaret Dongo (left) and Joice Mujuru at a ZimPF rally last year

Some have described her as “an uncompromising voice of the voiceless, and advocate of the rule of law, democracy, human rights, and good governance.”

After her expulsion from Zanu PF, Dongo — a former freedom fighter who joined the liberation war at the age of 15 — has been hopping from one party to another.

She finds herself pondering her next move along with ZimPF founding fathers that include Didymus Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo following a decision by interim leader Joice Mujuru to expel them.

Mujuru alleged that her erstwhile comrades had turned themselves into “elements determined to stall the progress that the party has been making” and “agents of the regime.” The former vice-president also alleged that her party had been infiltrated by Zanu PF agents.

The fired leaders claimed to be rightful owners of the party and both factions are now claiming ownership of ZimPF.

Dongo has indicated that she is ready to fight for control of the party and it is a battle she must be cherishing.

She has been involved in the formation of a couple of political parties that turned out to be bad experiments.

From independence, Dongo served in Zanu PF and later became Harare East legislator in 1990 on the ruling party’s ticket.

The outspoken politician was later fired from the party due to her constant attacks of Zanu PF and at one point she described party leaders as “[President Robert] Mugabe’s wives.”

After being fired from Zanu PF, she contested for Harare South constituency as an independent candidate in 1995 and lost to the ruling party’s candidate, the late Vivian Mwashita — another former CIO agent.

However, she challenged the outcome after producing evidence that the election was rigged and successfully forced a re-run, which she won.

In 1998 Dongo, with others like Kempton Makamure and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, formed the Zimbabwe Union of Democrats.

Dongo led the party but in no time she parted ways with Makamure and others following sharp differences, after which the party went into hibernation.

After the split, Makamure formed Zimbabwe Union of Democrats Transparency Fund.

According to MDC sources, Dongo was offered the national chairperson’s post in the build up to the first elective congress of the once united opposition party but she reportedly spurned the offer.

When Simba Makoni resigned from Zanu PF and formed his Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn, Dongo showed an interest and contested for a senatorial seat as an independent candidate, but after the elections she withdrew her interests.

Dongo was again linked to a new political outfit in 2015 named Zimbabwe’s Movement for People First.

Many people felt she was trying to lure Mujuru and her followers into a coalition at the time.
She said of Zimbabwe’s Movement for People First in August 2015: “The Movement for People First is set to bring new, committed and patriotic leadership which is untainted with the past.

“Therefore, to those with any uncleared baggages, we say declare them and clear yourselves before the mass of the Zimbabwe people. We clearly hold that Zimbabwe’s issues cannot be solved by replacing corrupt and arrogant persons with other corrupt and arrogant persons.”

However, she found herself as the interim ZimPF’s women league boss, but that didn’t last long as she was kicked out together with the party elders, Mutasa and Gumbo

Dongo refused to discuss her political future with The Standard and why she has been associated with many parties, insisting that she would address a press conference this week.

Those that have worked with her in different parties refused to comment on record about their working relationship with Dongo.

“What I find is that those who have held very prominent positions before cannot be subservient to the other person where they cannot exercise authority,” said an official of one of the opposition parties.

ZimPF interim national chairperson Marian Chombo said it would not be proper to talk about Dongo’s role in the split in public.

“There are a lot of things that were not going on well and it doesn’t help anyone to wash dirty linen in public,” she said.

“Suffice to say women’s issues were being appended to narrow and selfish agendas by some male handlers

“I am going to do my best to ensure that the women’s wing stands out as a distinct, vibrant, organised and effective organ of the party from the grassroots to the national executive committee.”

Chombo added: “We have programmes that we are rolling out to ensure the women’s wing reclaims ownership of its programmes.

“We are creating platforms for different women to organise themselves in their wards, identify particular programmes that they want to champion.”

The ZimPF chaos erupted when Mujuru was inching closer to a coalition with former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC-T.

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