ED’s Zambia law degree under spotlight

ON SPOTLIGHT: President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa


….as questions arise over his membership of the crocodile gang


Mnangagwa’s claim of completing a law degree at the University of Zambia in just two years, between 1975 and 1977, has raised eyebrows and prompted further investigation into his background. Renowned columnist Reason Wafawarova and researcher Jonathan Chando have delved into these mysteries, shedding light on some of the discrepancies in Mnangagwa’s narrative.

First, let’s address the timeline of Mnangagwa’s education and early years.

Born in 1942, Mnangagwa’s assertion that he started school in the 1940s seems unlikely, given that he would have been too young to attend school until around 1950.

Moreover, his claim of discovering the meaning of his name, Dambudzo, in a school library raises questions about why he needed a library to understand a common name in his generation.

The next puzzling aspect is Mnangagwa’s involvement in various activities during the tumultuous years leading up to Zimbabwean independence. According to Wikipedia, he led the Crocodile Gang in 1964 and was associated with political parties such as UNIP, Zapu, and Zanu during the early 1960s. However, Jonathan Chando provides a different perspective, stating that ZANU and ZAPU did not have military wings before 1964, and the Crocodile Gang was involved in non-military operations.

Mnangagwa’s claim of receiving a death sentence in 1965 for allegedly bombing a locomotive also faces scrutiny. Chando contends that the crime was sabotage/arson and not murder, and there was no death sentence for such offenses in Rhodesia. Mnangagwa’s narrative of narrowly escaping the hangman’s noose due to his age is disputed by this account.

Further complicating matters is the question of Mnangagwa’s release from prison in 1975 and his subsequent pursuit of a law degree at the University of Zambia. This timeline appears perplexing, as it implies that he not only completed his law degree but also practiced as an attorney in Zambia before abruptly leaving for Mozambique in 1977 to join the liberation war as Robert Mugabe’s personal assistant and bodyguard.

Chando asserts that Mnangagwa did not join the liberation war in the conventional sense, as he was not a combatant and had no military training. Instead, his proximity to Josiah Tongogara through marriage and his prior acquaintance with Mugabe from prison facilitated his role as Mugabe’s aide.

In light of these conflicting narratives and unanswered questions, the enigma surrounding Emmerson Mnangagwa’s early history and education persists. It is evident that various accounts and official records do not align, leaving room for skepticism and further scrutiny of the President’s past. Mnangagwa’s journey from a purported death row inmate to a prominent political figure remains a subject of intrigue and debate, underscoring the need for a comprehensive examination of his history to unveil the truth behind the man who leads Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, Reason Wafawarova writes in full saying:
Let me try and knit this one. ED was born in 1942. He says he went to school in the 40s. Then the youngest one could start school was 7.

So he probably started school in 1949. But that’s unlikely because he only turned 7 in September when schools have always opened in January in Zimbabwe, then Southern Rhodesia.

So realistically he could only have started school in 1950, isn’t it?

But there is more mystery. He says in the 40s he was old enough to use the school library and it is at the library where he discovered the meaning of Dambudzo his name. It is also at the library that he discovered and adopted the name Emmerson , in a book he was reading. He says he changed his name Dambudzo because he didn’t like the meaning he discovered in the library. Dambudzo and Nhamo are common names of the President’s generation. Its surprising he needed a school library to know what Dambudzo means.

He claims he also got an award in English and Arithmetics in the 40s. His mother got shocked to see her boy walk up to pick the award after the name Emmerson was called.

This is where there are many unanswered questions about our President. Lots of things just don’t naturally connect in his history.

When did he enrol and finish his LLB at Zambia University? When was he doing military training in Egypt? When did he do military training in China? When did he do military training in Tanzania? Was he part of the heroic Crocodile Gang or not?

Wikipedia says he led the gang in 1964. He was a UNIP member in Zambia in 1959. Joined Zapu in 1961. Joined Zanu in 1963. By 1965 he was serving a 10 year jail sentence.

So between 1963 and 1965 his history must accommodate training in Tanzania, Egypt and China, plus leading the Crocodile Gang in the bush, plus solo war efforts like bombing a locomotive in Masvingo. What a war time busy man!

Did he actually blow up a locomotive in Masvingo? Where exactly and when?

It’s said on Wikipedia this was sentenced to death in 1965. He would have been 23 then at the time the bombing happened.

Then it’s said he escaped death because he was Under 21, and could not be hanged.

YOUTHFUL: Young Mnangagwa

Released from prison in 1975, he is said to have studied Law at the University of Zambia and competed. It’s also said he did another similar Law Degree with the University of London, which is quite curious.

How did he get released from prison in 1975, and managed to study Law, complete it, practice for 2 years as an attorney in Zambia, quit, go to Mozambique in 1977 and join the liberation war as Mugabe’s personal assistant and bodyguard?

It’s really hard to knit together the history
I’ve written about this previously.

  1. ED was never trained in Egypt, China or Tanzania. ZANU and ZAPU had no military wings before 1964.

ZIPRA was formed by Jason Ziyapapa Moyo in 1964, ZANLA was formed in 1965. So no one was trained before 1964.

  1. Zambia was Northern Rhodesia until 24 October 1964. So no organisation for military training could have been organised from Northern Rhodesia before Zambian independence in October 1964. The Crocodile Gang was led by William Ndangana, and comprised 5 people including Ndangana. The Crocodile Gang were a group of militants who were not military trained and only used petrol bombs and pangas in their operations.

They only operated in Melsetter (Chimanimani) and nowhere else. In 1985 ZBC featured a documentary narrating the exploits of the 5 Crocodile Gang members which never mentioned Mnangagwa and he never challenged it or mentioned that he was part of the Crocodile Gang. He never claimed to have been part of the Crocodile Gang when Ndangana was alive. Ndangana went for training in China after the Crocodile Gang operation in 1965 among the first ZANLA cadres to go for training.

The other surviving member of the Crocodile Gang, Amos Kademaunga went for training in Tanzania soon after being released from prison in 1972. He is alive and I speak with him to date.

When Mnangagwa was released from prison, he never joined the camps in Zambia because he was not a combatant and was not known in ZANlA. He was released and never went to see Chitepo who was then leading ZANLA/ZANU.

Soon after his arrival in Lusaka, Chitepo was assassinated by Rhodesians.

Mnangagwa courted and hurriedly married Josiah Tongogara’s first cousin on arrival in Zambia, close coincidence. He joined the war in Chimoio in 1977 through his proximity to Tongogara through marriage and used his acquaintance with Mugabe in prison to become his personal assistant. He never went through training in Mozambique. He’s not a war veteran nor a trained combatant.

  1. His claim that he was sentenced to death and saved by age is nothing but fallacy. He claims he was arrested for bombing a goods train which was parked at a siding in Masvingo. His crime was therefore sabotage/arson and not murder. There was no death sentence for arson/sabotage in Rhodesia. Amos Kademaunga of the original Crocodile Gang was sentenced to 10 years for bombing a police station in Melsetter and not death sentence.

There’s a lot of lies in Mnangagwa’s history which is just too embarrassing to believe. He’s simply a fraud and conman who infiltrated ZANLA and fooled the leadership .

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