Dumiso Dabengwa
Dumiso Dabengwa, Liberation War Hero, War Veteran, War Vet, Simba Makoni
Born(1939-12-06)December 6, 1939
DiedMay 23, 2019(2019-05-23) (aged 79)
  • Politician

Years active1958 to present
Political partyZAPU

Dumiso Dabengwa was a politician and the president of ZAPU. He was also a member of Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) officially until 2008 when he left to revive ZAPU political party. In 2018, Dumiso formed the Dumiso Dabengwa Foundation.

Between 2018 and 2019 Dabengwa was mostly ill. He was admitted at a South African hospital in 2018. In early 2019 he was taken to India for further treatment.

During Zimbabwe's war for independence, he was the head of Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) intelligence.


He was born on the 6th of December 1939. He is married and has two children.


He holds four degrees, two of which are honorary

  • Honorary doctorate degree from the University of Zimbabwe
  • Honorary degree for his dedication towards the emancipation of black people in Zimbabwe and Africa
  • Diploma in Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Commerce degree.[1]

Political career

He started political activism in 1958 when he was still working for the Bulawayo City Council. He then participated in the Second Chimurenga heading the Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Party (ZIPRA) intelligence.[2] Dabengwa received his military training in Moscow, Russia hence is known as the 'Black Russsian' by his fellow comrades. He was appointed Home Affairs Minister in 1992, a post which he held for eight years until 2000.

He was charged with treason in 1981 but the state failed to provide evidence for the offence but he was rearrested in 1982 and spent four years in detention for the offence until the death of his colleague Lookout Masuku in 1986[3]

In 2008 he quit Zanu-PF political party to revive the Zimbabwe African People's Party thus reversing the 1987 Unity Accord which had merged ZANU and ZAPU into one political party. Dabengwa reportedly said he left ZANU PF because he was convinced the party would lose the election with the kind of leadership it had.[4]

He did not contest in the 2008 presidential election but supported another former Zanu-PF official Simba Makoni. Similarly, in July 31, 2013, elections, he formed a coalition with Welshman Ncube turning down Morgan Tsvangirai's call to form a grand coalition to oust Robert Mugabe [5]

Formation of Dumiso Dabengwa Foundation

In 2018 Dabengwa, formed the Dumiso Dabengwa Foundation. According to the website, the Foundation seeks the emancipation and capacitation of people for an independent, well-governed and self-reliant continent with empowered citizens. [6] It was reported that Dabengwa indicated that he will retire from active politics in 2020 as he would have served two terms as required the constitution of his party hence why he formed the foundation, so that people will appreciate the country’s history, promoting values of democracy and constitutionalism, among others. [7]

Endorsing Nelson Chamisa

Dabengwa backed and endorsed Nelson Chamisa's bid for the presidency in the 2018 harmonized elections. He had to pull out of the presidential race and put his party's weight in support of Chamisa and the MDC Alliance. Dabengwa also said that this was one of the reasons why he did not file his nomination papers to contest in the July 30 elections. [8]

In a statement Dabengwa said

At the last minute yesterday ZAPU drew back from fielding its President as a candidate in the 2018 elections. Prior to this decision, we had facilitated protracted discussions and consultations with what we regarded as significant actors in Zimbabwe’s national politics, with a view to forging a Grand National Coalition. Needless to say the will to take this difficult but necessary path did not prevail, hence the number of opposition presidential candidates standing on their party tickets by the end of nominations yesterday.

In bilateral negotiations between ZAPU and the MDC-Alliance, the two entities have finally arrived at a Memorandum of a Political Cooperation Agreement. Through this agreement, the two entities have committed themselves to the promotion of practical cooperation in what they view as a turning point in the struggle for democracy and good governance in Zimbabwe.

A united front of opposition parties has failed mainly because of competition for the top spot of presidential candidate, yet it is essential to enhance the capacity of one of the opposition leaders to take over the country’s presidency. My party is, therefore, throwing its weight behind Nelson Chamisa as a Presidential Candidate in the 2018 elections for which I am not standing, in his favour.

This is consistent with the line we have taken that personal egos and vanity should not be allowed to prevent us from crafting a combination capable of bringing about a democratic transition essential for peace, security, economic reconstruction and development. Zimbabweans deserve this, both current and future generations.

In terms of our agreement, the parties remain autonomous and ZAPU will continue to campaign for its candidates. However, the two entities will make sure that they do not compete against each other in some parliamentary seats.

In addition, the MDC-Alliance will reserve some agreed slots for ZAPU among those to be chosen on the basis of proportional representation (PR). For my part, I will actively support the candidacy of Nelson Chamisa and be at hand to support if he wins the presidential contest, as I earnestly hope. Our candidates too will include in their campaigns the party’s commitment to the cooperation agreement and the presidency of Nelson Chamisa.

ZAPU to back Chamisa for Zim presidency - 15 June 2018


He passed away on 23 May 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya while in transit to Zimbabwe from India where he had gone for treatment. He was buried at Manxeleni Village in Ntabazinduna, Umguza district, about 37km from Bulawayo.[9]

Picture Gallery

Video Gallery

Dumiso Dabengwa eNews Interview
ZAPU Special Congress 2009

Further Reading


  1. Education
  2. Dabengwa a desperate politician
  4. Interview with Dumiso Dabengwa
  5. Ncube, Dabengwa forge pact
  6. Dumiso Dabengwa Foundation, DD, Published: , Retrieved: 22 March 2018
  7. Dabengwa to retire from active politics , The Chronicle, Published: 8 November 2017 , Retrieved: 22 March 2018
  8. Full Text: Dumiso Dabengwa Backs Nelson Chamisa For Presidency, Says That's Why I Am Not Contesting ⋆ Pindula News, Pindula News, published: 15 Jun 2018, retrieved: 23 Jul 2018
  9. [1], The Sunday Mail, Published: 2 June, 2019, Accessed: 10 August, 2020