Phelekezela Mphoko

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Phelekezela Report Mphoko
Phelekezela Mphoko, Vice President Zimbabwe
Vice President of the Republic of Zimbabwe
Assumed office
December 10, 2014
Preceded by John Nkomo
Personal details
Born Phelekezela Mpoko
(1940-06-11) June 11, 1940 (age 76)
Gwizane, Bubi District, Matabeleland North
Political party Zanu-PF
Spouse(s) Luaurinda Mphoko
Children Sikhumbuzo Mphoko
Siduduzo Mphoko
Siqokoqela Mphoko
Religion Christianity

Phelekezela Mphoko is the second vice president of the Republic of Zimbabwe and one of the two vice presidents and second secretaries of the Zanu-PF party.[1] Mphoko was appointed to this position by Robert Mugabe on 10 December 2014. The other Vice president appointed at the same time is Emmerson Mnangagwa. The two replaced outgoing vice president Joice Mujuru. According to the 1987 Unity Accord between Zanu PF and the Zimbabwe African People's Union, Mphoko was appointed as a successor to late Vice-President John Nkomo.


Mphoko was born on the 11th of June in 1940 to Mahlwempu Mphoko and Muntu-omubi Mphoko in Gwizane, Bubi District, Matabeleland North. He grew up in the Bubi area at a time when the country was still under colonial rule by the British settlers. He is married to Luaurinda Mphoko, a Mozambican national (said to have been close to Samora Machel[2]). They have three children, daughters Sikhumbuzo Mphoko, Siduduzo Mphoko and son, Siqokoqela Mphoko (Part owner of Choppies Zimbabwe). He has three grandchildren.[3]

Educational Background

For his early education, Mphoko attended David Livingstone Memorial School in Ntabazinduna in Matabeleland region. He did his secondary education at Mzilikazi High School in Bulawayo.[4] Mphoko trained as an agriculturalist in field and animal husbandry in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe's name before Independence).[4] Between 1959 and 1960, he enrolled at Tsholotsho Agricultural Breeding and Experimental School where he studied Cropping and Animal Husbandry.[4] In 1964, he went to the Soviet Union to study military science and photojournalism.[4] On his return he joined the liberation war, in which he fought for more than 10 years.[5] Between 1996 and 1999, he did advanced courses on semen collection, artificial insemination and embryo transfer at the institute of genetics in Austria.[4]

Political Career- Liberation War and Aftermath

He entered mainstream nationalist politics in 1960s when he joined the National Democratic Party under the leadership of Joshua Nkomo. The NDP during this era was the most vibrant of all nationalists movement in the country although it had not yet assumed a militant approach in its quest for independence. NDP was shortly banned by the Rhodesian government and this prompted the ex NDP members to form another party, the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU). He was thus among the first crop of ZAPU cadres to register the movement as a political party. In 1962 following internal and external pressure to militarize, ZAPU formed a Special Affairs wing led by James Chikerema that was charged with building an external military wing. By 1963 the wing had a formal structure led by Ackim Ndlovu, Robson Manyika, Dumiso Dabengwa, Abraham Nkiwane and Mphoko.[6]

When ZAPU split in 1972, following differences between Chikerema and Jason Moyo, it culminated in the formation of Front for the Liberation of Zimbabwe (Frolizi) (a predominately Shona faction led by Chikerema and Nyandoro's new party), (and ZAPU remained with predominantly Ndebele's) Mphoko was elected into the ZAPU's Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (Zipra) High Command as Chief of Logistics in a solid line-up led by Nikita Mangena, a commander. Overall control however was under JZ Moyo the Acting Commander-in-Chief [7] At one time after the formation of ZIPA he was accused by Dzinashe Machingura of diverting weaponry and supplies to ZIPRA instead of it being used by the joint army.[8]

In the 1970s, During Zimbabwe's war of independence, also know as the Second Chimurenga, Mphoko was the Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) (Zapu’s military wing) commander.[9] In 1978 he was re-assigned by Nkomo from commander to diplomatic missions in a reshuffle that included people ZIPRA commanders like Ackim Ndlovu, Mbulawa Noko, Cephas Cele "Groucha". Their positions were taken by a new breed of commanders under Lookout Masuku which included Ambrose Mutinhiri (Deputy Commander) and Gevan Maseko. Ananias Gwenzi, Gedi Ndlovu, Eddi Sigoge, David Thondlana, Mike Grey and Sekuru Patrick.[10]

In the early 80s, soon after independence, Mphoko was Deputy Director under John Shonhiwa in a government's newly instituted Demobilisation Directorate which fell under the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare. In August 1985, during Gukurahundi, Mphoko was arrested together with Cephas Msipa, Sydney Malunga, Welshman Mabhena and Stephen Nkomo. It was during the same time that Joshua Nkomo and his wife's (Mafuyana) travel documents were seized by the government. Kembo Mohadi, then the Beitbridge MP and a personal friend of Mphoko, was arrested in Bulawayo around that time too.[2] It is also believed that during the period between 1981 and 1987, Mphoko was said to have been working for the Central Intelligence Organisation and this was also the time when the Gukurahundi saga took place. Thus some critics link him to the controversial civil conflicts.[11] Mphoko was in the first executive of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association together with Chris Pasipamire and Hebert Matanga in 1992.[12]

As Ambassador

Vice President Mphoko is a former Zimbabwean ambassador to South Africa, a position he served in from 2011 to May 2014. Before serving in South Africa, Mphoko was Zimbabwe's ambassador to Russia.[13] Mphoko was a diplomat since 1987[14] and served in Mozambique, Austria and Botswana respectively before being appointed to Russia.[5]


Mphoko is infamously known for having said, while speaking on a panel at an event in Botswana, that the Gukurahundi atrocities were a Western conspiracy. Mphoko is said to have said that the Gukurahundi atrocities were a ‘Western conspiracy’.[13]
Mphoko further brewed controversy in February 2015 he maintained his controversial statements on the Gukurahundi massacres which he argued were an institution of the West. In an interview published in the state-owned newspaper The Sunday Mail, Mphoko claimed that the Gukurahundi were as a result of cold war politics and western imperialism meant to destabilise all countries which were aligned with Russia, China and other socialist countries.[15]

Appointment as Zimbabwe's Second Vice President

In June 2014, several months before his appointment, it was reported that Mphoko had met Mugabe to stake his claim to the post arguing that he was more senior in the hierarchy of PF Zapu - than Simon Khaya Moyo.[9] As the December 2014 congress drew near Mphoko made claims that among the 15 former nationalists who formed Zipra, it was him and Ambrose Mutinhiri who were still alive. The claim was immediately refuted by Dumiso Dabengwa who said there were many Zipra founder commanders alive.[16]

On 8 October, Mphoko made it clear through a press statement that he wanted to become Zimbabwe's next second vice president. His statement read:

From the beginning, I made it very clear that when the VP post campaign has been opened, I will submit my Curriculum Vitae to the party for consideration, together with other aspirants.

However, I am aware that there are forces that are trying by all means to prevent me from contesting because of this and that reason including that I have not been a ZANU PF card carrying member until recently, that I have been out of the country for too long and I have not been in touch with the situation in the country.

First and foremost, you cannot be a member of the Central Committee of ZANU PF unless you are a member of the party.

I have been a member of the Central Committee of ZANU PF.

Like all Ambassadors, I was out of the country on assignment by The State President.

When I was Ambassador of The Republic of Zimbabwe to South Africa, I was a member of ZANU PF Pretoria Branch.

There are efforts to try to stop me from contesting for the post of VP. Only the President and First Secretary of ZANU PF, President Robert Mugabe, can stop me from contesting. And to me this is a God given post, after fighting for Zimbabwe.

I therefore believe very strongly that only an enemy agent of the former Rhodesian government would not wish me, being a freedom fighter from contesting the vacant VP post.[17]

Eventually, on 10 December 2014, Mphoko was appointed second vice president of the Zanu-PF party and Zimbabwe, effectively succeeding, as part of the 1987 Unity Accord, PF-Zapu previous leader John Nkomo who died in January 2013.

Business Interests

Mphoko is also a cattle ranching farmer and entrepreneur who is one of the shareholders of Choppies Zimbabwe.[14]

The Car Crash

In almost similar fashion to the accident in which vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa was involved in, newly appointed second vice president Mphoko was also involved in a car crash. The car crash was apparently caused by the driver of a T35 truck who made an abrupt stop and the car of the vice president could not avoid the T35 truck and rammed into the truck resulting in both vehicles being damaged.[18] The vice president was not hurt but one passenger in the T35 truck sustained minor injuries.

Rejecting Government House

In January 2015, Mphoko is said to have refused a number of government houses he was offered. According to one local independent newspaper, Mphoko first refused a government house in Harare's leafy suburb of Highlands which was used as he official residence by the late vice president John Nkomo.[19] Mphoko and his wife are said to have also refused another mansion in Harare’s affluent suburb of Ballantyne Park worth $3 million, claiming that it was small.[19] His wife Laurinda was said to have refused all government houses on offer.[19] She is said to have started shopping for another house and went to view houses in Glen Lorne, Borrowdale Brooke and Ballantyne Park, refusing to take any of them for varying reasons.[19] Before his appointment to the post of VP, he was reportedly staying at Meikles Hotel on his frequent visits to meet Mugabe.[19]


Mphoko is a photographer.[13] He has also said he likes to play golf, jazz music and cooking.[5]



President Robert Mugabe swears in new Vice Presidents, Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko
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  1. Nduduzo Tshuma Twitter Status Update, Journalist at Chronicle (Zimbabwe Newspapers), Published:10 Dec 2014, Retrieved:10 Dec 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 Judith Garfield Todd, Through the Darkness: A Life in Zimbabwe, ISBN 177022002X, 9781770220027, Zebra, Published:2007, Retrieved:10 Dec 2014
  3. Nduduzo Tshuma, Profile: Phelekezela Mphoko, The Chronicle, Published:11 Dec 2014, Retrieved:11 Dec 2014
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 N. Tshuma, Profile: Phelekezela Mphoko,Chronicle, Published:11 December 2014, Retrieved:29 December 2014
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 African Professional, Zimbabwean Envoy Phelekezela Mphoko, African Professional, Published:4 July 2012, Retrieved:10 Dec 2014
  6. Peter Batchelor, (Peter Batchelor citing Nkiwane 1999)
  7. Felix F. Silundika, [Pages 33 -35. Tarcisius Malan GEORGE SILUNDIKA, The story of a freedom fighter], WestBow Press, ISBN 1466993456, 9781466993457, Published:01 May 2013, Retrieved:10 Dec 2014
  8. Sadomba
  9. 9.0 9.1 Herbert Moyo, Mphoko pleads for VP post, Zimbabwe Independent, Published:20 June 2014, Retrieved:10 Dec 2014
  10. Brian Raftopolos, The Hard Road to Reform: The Politics of Zimbabwe's Global Political Agreement, ISBN 1779222165, 9781779222169, African Books Collective, Published:2013, Retrieved:10 Dec 2014
  11. G. Garare, Mphoko haunted by his CIO past,Zimbabwe Independent, Published:19 December 2014, Retrieved:29 December 2014
  12. Sadomba, War Veterans in Zimbabwe's Revolution
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Gukurahundi storm envoy posted to SA, New Zimbabwe, Published:24 July 2010, Retrieved:10 Dec 2014
  14. 14.0 14.1 Pamela Shumba, Ambassador Mphoko speaks on retirement, The Chronicle, Published:29 March 2014, Retrieved:10 December 2014
  15. M. Sasa, VP Mphoko Opens Up on Gukurahundi,The Sunday Mail, Published:15 February 2015, Retrieved:16 Feb 2015
  16. Richard Muponde, New twist to Vice-President race, NewsDay, Published:13 August 2014, Retrieved:10 December 2014
  17. Phelekezela Mphoko, My position on the VP post, Bulawayo24, Published:8 Oct 2014, Retrieved:10 Dec 2014
  18. Kuda Bwititi, Vice President Mphoko in car crash, The Sunday Mail, Published: December 14, 2014, Retrieved: December 15, 2014
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 , Mphoko Rejects $3Million Govt House, Says Its Too Small,ZimEye, published:22 Jan 2015,retrieved:23 Jan 2015"