Enos Nkala

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Enos Nkala
Enos Nkala
BornEnos Nkala
(1932-08-23)August 23, 1932
DiedAugust 21, 2013(2013-08-21) (aged 80)
  • Politician.
EmployerGovernment of Zimbabwe
Political partyZimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front

Enos Mzombi Nkala is one of the founding members of Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) in 1963 and hero of the country's liberation war


Nkala was born in Insiza on 23 August 1932 [1]

Political Career Prior 1980

When the National Democratic Party (NDP) was formed in 1960 under the leadership of Joshua Nkomo, Nkala was part of the party's executive as he was the secretary general of the party.[2] Nkala claims that, he was one of the people who brought Mugabe into the political scene of the country in 1960. In May 1960, he argued that, there was a sort of a rally held at Cyril Jennings Hall in Highfield and this sort of created a platform for Mugabe who was accorded an opportunity to address the congregates.[2] Impressed by his eloquence, the central committee agreed to send Nkala and Morton Malianga to lure Mugabe to join the NDP which was fighting against colonialism.[2]

In 1961, the NDP was banned and this saw the inception of another political party under the leadership of Nkomo, Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU). In 1963, there was the split of ZAPU and this saw the formation of ZANU PF. Nkala has been highlighted as being the person who spearheaded the formation of ZANU PF because of his rivalry with Nkomo.[1] It has been alleged that Nkomo had impregnated Nkala's sister, Ivy out of wedlock and they bore a son Lloyd who is now late.[1]

Another reason which has been highlighted as sparking tension between Nkomo and Nkala is the issue of how to strategise the liberation struggle.[3] Nkala was of the view that, it was no longer important to give precedence to negotiations rather it was more important to take a more militaristic approach.[3] It is also along this view in which Nkala also had differences with Ndabaningi Sithole. As a result of this, Nkala is said to have also endorsed the deposition of Sithole as the president of ZANU PF in support of Mugabe.[3]

Even at his burial, Mugabe hinted that Nkala had opted deal with Nkomo and he requested the party to allow him to do so on the basis that they belonged to the same tribe, Ndebele, though Mugabe believed that there was something behind this request which remains unknown to Nkala.[4] Dumiso Dabengwa also made the same sentiments trying to characterise the tension that existed between Nkala and Nkomo stating that, Nkala was at the fore front to ensure the spilt of ZAPU which led to the formation of ZANU PF.[5] He also argued that during the Lancaster House Agreement of 1979, Nkala was one of the most vocal people who rejected the idea of letting ZANU PF and ZAPU to form a united front during the 1980 elections.[5]

When ZANU PF was formed, Nkala was appointed to be the treasurer general of the party being deputised by Nathan Shamuyarira.[2]

Post Independence Era

With the inception of independence in 1980,Nkala was appointed as one of the cabinet ministers, until his controversial resignation in 1989. He also remained the party's treasurer general until he resigned from the party in 1989.

Between 1980-1983, Nkala served as the Minister of Finance.[1] Nkala was supposed to serve as Minister of Finance for five years until the next elections were to be held in 1985. However in 1983, the ministry of finance was consolidated into the Ministry of Finance, Economic, Planning and Development and Dr. Benard Chidzero was appointed.[1] This incident has been generally viewed as sparking and or creating tensions between Mugabe and Nkala.[1] Nkala was appointed as Minister of National Supplies until 1985.[1]

Gukurahundi Debacle

After the 1985 elections, Nkala became the Minister of Home Affairs for a short period and later on became the Minister of Defence.[1] By virtue of being the Minister of Defence during the period when Gukurahundi was instigated, Nkala has been implicated as having played a significant role before and during the massacres. Nkala however denied all these charges.[6]

It has been reported that at Pelandaba Stadium in Gwanda in 1986, Nkala who was in company of Perence Shiri, John Mbedzi and others, paraded all ZAPU officials and loyalists calling them dissidents.[7] It has also been stated that at the same time, Nkala regretted being a member of the Ndebele tribe saying that if there was a magical soap to clean off his tribal origins, he could have acquired it long back.[7] As a result of his speech that he made in Gwanda, Nkala has been associated with the massacres.

In Gwanda Nkala has been referred to as the 'butcher of Matebeleland' and the 'architect of Gukurahundi' on the basis of that he wished to extricate himself from being identified with the Ndebele.[7] The fact that he failed to do anything to stop the massacres of his own tribe whilst being the Defence Minister also contributed in making people to implicate him as being instrumental in the massacres. After it was announced that Nkala had died, instead of mourning him, people in Gwanda assembled at Pelandaba Stadium to celebrate his death.[7]

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Dabengwa also hinted that, whilst he was in Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison during the Gukurahundi period, Nkala, Emmerson Mnangagwa and Eddison Zvobgo visited him and Nkala offered him a ticket ensuring him his freedom by just accepting to ditch ZAPU and join ZANU PF.[5] Dabengwa however opted to rot in jail rather than to betray his party.[5] As a result of these revelations by Dabengwa, Nkala has continued to be pinned as being instrumental in instigating the massacres.

Corruption Claims

Nkala has also been implicated in the Willowgate Scandal, whose exposition is said to have led to him resigning from the government and anything to do with politics. Nkala argued that the Sandura Commission which was initiated by the president to inquire about the scandal was meant to get rid of vocal people who were a threat to Mugabe.[2] His argument was that, the scandal was used as a pretext to weed Nkala and his accomplice from the government. Despite this however Nkala admitted that it was not wrong for someone to sell something get profit, not thus distancing himself from the scandal.[2] After this scandal Nkala together went into oblivion and one of his accomplice Maurice Nyagumbo committed suicide.

Nkala also argued that this scandal fast tracked his departure from the political arena as he was already disgusted by the manoeuvres by Mugabe and his Zezuru's to create a monarch, enabling him to retain power something that was contrary to democratic politics.[2] Nkala admitted that this stance by Mugabe made him to be one of his fiercest critics, resulting in the exaggeration of the Willowgate Scandal which forced Nkala to withdrew from politics.[2] From then onwards Nkala began to label Mugabe as someone betraying the principles of the revolution.In 2006 Nkala described Mugabe as a ruthless dictator on the basis that Mugabe was considering himself as being the only person who fought for the independence of Zimbabwe whilst others were asleep.[2]

In spite of this, Nkala hinted that his bond with Mugabe though it was affected, it never really ceased to exist. Before his death Nkala made relevations that Mugabe frequently visits him and he personally increased his pension to ensure that he does not rot in poverty.[3] When Nkala was pronounced dead, Mugabe is said to have subsided from tradition by making a statement saying Nkala was to be declared a national hero.[3] The ZANU PF politburo later inevitably declared Nkala a liberation war hero.[3]


ZANU was actually formed in his house in Highfield


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Ibbo Mandaza, Enos Nkala: A controversial nationalist giant, Bulawayo 24, Published:30 August 2013, Retrieved:23 June 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Enos Nkala Nkala statement on Mugabe running ‘ruthless dictatorship’, Zimbabwe Situation, Published, 30 Aug 2013,Retrieved, 23 June 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Foster Dongozi, Enos Nkala’s last controversial interview, Zimbabwe Independent, Published, 6 Sep 2013,Retrieved, 23 June 2014
  4. Nqobile Bhebhe, Enos Nkala vowed to fix Joshua Nkomo: Mugabe, Southern Eye, Published, 30 August 2013,Retrieved:23 June 2014
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Nduduzo Tshuma, Enos Nkala caused me suffering: Dabengwa, New Zimbabwe, Published, 23 Aug 2013,Retrieved:23 June 2014"
  6. Thembani Dube, Enos Nkala loses cool during Gukurahundi interview, The ZimDiaspora, Published, 25 Oct 2011,Retrieved, 23 June 2014
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Ndaba Nhuku, ‘Demons Drag Enos Nkala Into Hell’, Zim Eye, Published, 23 Aug 2013, Retrieved:23 June 2014