Rugare Aleck Ngidi Gumbo|
March 8, 1940
|Years active||1962 to present|
|Partner(s)||Fay Chung (former)|
He was born in Belingwe on the 8th of March in 1940. He grew up in colonial Rhodesia in Belingwe district (renamed Mberengwa after independence) district of Rhodesia on the 8th of March in 1940, and was educated at a government secondary school. From his early teens he was involved in nationalist politics, and at the age of 22 was a branch chairman of the Fort Victoria (now Masvingo) ZAPU party under Joshua Nkomo.
Gumbo acquired tertiary education abroad during the early years of the nationalist struggle in the 1960s. Gumbo attained his first degree at Boston University in the United States of America. He studied for a Barchelor of Arts degree. He then went to Canada where he studied for a Masters degree at Carlton University. He went further to study for a Masters in Education at Toronto University.
In 1962, Gumbo became actively involved in nationalist politics. This resulted in his arrest that year after taking part in the organisation of a general strike. He was released in 1962 and left for the United States of America for tertiary education.
Role in the Second Chimurenga
After returning from the diaspora in 1973, Gumbo joined the liberation struggle which was popularly known as the Second Chimurenga. He was made Secretary of Information in the Dare ReChimurenga which was the external wing for the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) party. He worked under the chairmanship of Herbert Chitepo. In March 1975, Rugare Gumbo was one the people arrested and detained on allegations of taking part in the assassination of Herbert Chitepo. He was imprisoned together with the likes of Simon Muzenda, Nathan Shamuyarira and Enos Nkala. Soon after his release from prison, Gumbo actively took part in the organisation of the liberation struggle in the provision of military support for the guerrillas. He was also part of the delegation that went to Britain which resulted in the Lancaster House Agreement of December 1979.
Post War Period
- Deputy Minister of Home Affairs
- Minister of Economic Development- 2005
- Minister of Agriculture-2007 
- Publicity and Information Secretary- Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (Zanu PF)
- Member of the Politiburo (Zanu PF)
- Member of the Central Committee (Zanu PF)
Factionalism and Baba Jukwa Saga
Gumbo was accused of having facilitated the entry of Edmund Kudzayi (who was believed to be Baba Jukwa) into the party's information and publicity department. One of the journalists accused of working with Baba Jukwa, Chawarikas Matongorere who is based in South Africa, accused Gumbo of being the "godfather" of the shadowy Facebook character. Thus there was speculation that Gumbo, working along factional lines was the man behind the social network figure which leaked the party's secrets using social media.
The Midlands and Matabeleland North ZANU PF provinces accused Gumbo of factional bias. This was after Gumbo had fronted the banning of a slogan "Pasi negamatox" which was being chanted against the Joice Mujuru Faction. In fact, there was serious tension as the committees declared that Gumbo was not fit to continue in the capacity of the spokesperson of the party. There was thus a popular chorus calling the likes of Didymus Mutasa, Joice Mujuru and Rugare Gumbo to resign.
Speaking on Behalf of a Faction
Gumbo appeared on national television in November 2014 on a weekly programme called Media Watch screened on ZBC TV. He verbally responded to Christopher Mutsvangwa's allegations that Rugare Gumbo was abusing his office by speaking on behalf of a particular faction instead of speaking on behalf of the whole party. In the previous week on the same program, Mutsvangwa had made accusations that since the days of the Second Chimurenga, Gumbo had always been a "touch and go" guy who did not really contribute much to the liberation of the country. Mutsvangwa had attacked the personality of Gumbo from all angles. Above all, Gumbo was accused of fanning factionalism by openly calling for the retirement of President Robert Mugabe before the party's congress which was to be held in December.
Suspension From The Party
On the 13th of November 2014, Gumbo, among other party leaders, was suspended from the party for a period of five years. According to a press statement issued by the acting spokesperson and ZANU PF National Chairman Simon Khaya Moyo, the politburo had reached a unanimous verdict to suspend Gumbo from the party. However, no reasons were cited for the decision. Prior to the suspension, the media carried out stories in which the War Veterans had allegedly called for the immediate suspension of Gumbo from the party. Gumbo has also made public claims that the party was headed for a turbulent future due to factions and the succession issue. One of his major criticisms was that he had publicly claimed that the December Congress was meant to table the succession issue and come up with a clear plan.
On the other hand, there were also rumours that Grace Mugabe was the one behind the criticism showered towards him. Analysts have however noted that the suspension might further divide the party considering the internal cracks that are continuing to grow. Gumbo, being one of the most senior party members was bound to receive sympathy from the Mujuru loyalists who seem to have been working with him. Gumbo, one of the very few surviving members of the revolutionary council called Dare ReChimurenga was perhaps one of the iconic figures in 21st Century ZANU PF. His dismissal from the revolutionary party thus marks the beginning of a new era in Zimbabwean politics.
After his suspension from the party, Gumbo went on a crusade of defending his statements and actions. He was interviewed by a local journalist and he made the bold statement that he indeed supported Mujuru not because she had a faction but because she was the second in command and could was empowered by the constitution to take over power from the president in the event of death.
Rugare Gumbo was suspended on 4 December 2014 by the ZANU PF Central Committee in Harare. His suspension was necessitated by the growing tension between Mugabe and the Mujuru faction during the ZANU PF Congress which started on December 2 at the party headquarters in Harare. His expulsion followed the initial suspension following the alleged remarks that he made concerning the failure of his boss (Mugabe) to step down and pave way for Mujuru. The expulsion from the party also came as an early Christmas present for the Mugabe loyalists who were continuously calling for a complete revolution within the party through the elimination of all members aligned to the faction led by the vice president Joice Mujuru.
05 Dec 2016
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