Maurice Nyagumbo
BornMaurice Tapfumaneyi Nyagumbo
(1924-12-12)December 12, 1924
Makoni, near Rusape
DiedApril 22, 1989(1989-04-22) (aged 64)
Cause of deathSuicide by poison (Allegedly)
Resting placeNational Heroes Acre, Harare
  • Politician
Known forLongest serving Political Prisoner
Notable workWith the People Autobiography
Home townRusape
Parent(s)Father: Lewis Nyagumbo, Mother: Jennet Sanyangare

The late Maurice Tapfumaneyi Nyagumbo was one of Zimbabwe's veteran liberation war leaders who fought under the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front. [1]

  • 1957 - 59 - Secretary, Rusape Branch, ANCongress
  • 1963 - Organising Secretary, ZANU
  • 1980 - MP House of Assembly (Zanu PF), Manicaland
  • 1980 - Minister of Mines, Zimbabwe. [2]

Personal Details

Born: 12 December 1924, Makoni near Rusape. One of four brothers and three sisters. Raised by Grandmother.
Married: Five daughters.
Died: 22 April 1989.

School / Education

Primary school: St Faith Anglican Mission.
1940, reached Standard IV at St Augustine's Penhalonga St Augustine's High School.

Service / Career

After completing his primary education, he then crossed the border into neighbouring South Africa and worked there for some years as a waiter, butler, in Port Elizabeth. [2]


He subsequently moved to Cape Town and developed interests in politics and he became a member of the Communist Party after being introduced by Oliver Mashaba. [1] He was subsequently deported from South Africa due to his political activities which threatened the survival of the Apartheid regime.[1] After the ban of the Communist Party in 1948, Nyagumbo with James Chikerema, helped in the formation of the Central African Social Club. The reason for the formation of this political movement was to involve the Rhodesian Africans in the political activities of their country. [3] Nyagumbo later became Secretary of the movement after the deportation of Chikerema. Nyagumbo was also deported in 1955 after being accused of being in contact with the Mau Mau sympathisers in Kenya.[3]

Nyagumbo During the Second Chimurenga

Nyagumbo founded the Youth League (ANYL) in 1955 with James Chikerema. [1] In 1959, they merged the ANYL with the newly formed political party the African National Congress (ANCongress), and became Rusape Branch Secretary. It gathered political momentum during this epoch. He was then arrested by the Rhodesian security forces on 26 February 1959 and detained at Khami Prison. When he was released in 1962, Nyagumbo joined ZAPU under Joshua Nkomo but he later found himself in the opposing faction which became ZANU, under Ndabaningi Sithole, after the split in 1963.

Under the leadership of Ndabaningi Sithole, Nyagumbo was appointed organising secretary of the party (ZANU) in 1963. He was also an influential member of the party's central committee. When ZANU was banned later that year, Nyagumbo was one of the few leaders who narrowly escaped arrest. [4]

Political Activism and Imprisonment

With The People - Maurice Nyagumbo

In 1964, Nyagumbo together with other ZANU leaders was imprisoned and spent the next 11 years in various prisons and restriction camps such as Salisbury Prison and Kwekwe (Que Que). He was released just before Christmas in December 1974 as part of the Vorster-Kaunda detente exercise. Nyagumbo didn't believe in a negotiation settlement and so upon his release Nyagumbo again became actively involved in the recruitment of guerrillas in Salisbury. He was again arrested on 18 September 1975 and was sentenced to 15 years in prison for allegedly violating law and order. [3]

Whilst in detention from 1975, Nyagumbo spent most of his time reading and writing his own biography book which was eventually released in 1980. The book was entitled 'With The People' and was published soon after independence. In total, he spent 21 years in prison for his part in the liberation struggle of Zimbabwe.[4]

Post Independence

In the Zimbabwe 1985 Parliamentary Election, Dzivarasekwa returned to Parliament:


Corruption Accusations

Nyagumbo was one of the ministers who were implicated in the Willowgate Scandal which involved the illegal acquisition of motor vehicles from the Willowvale Motor Industries. He was one of the people found guilty by the Presidential inquiry which was fronted by Robert Mugabe.[5] Nyagumbo denied the accusations and he stepped down from the office of Minister of Political Affairs in April 1989. Later, he was charged with perjury. Nyagumbo committed suicide by drinking rat poison. He was awarded a national hero status.[5]

Post war Political Career in Zimbabwe

  1. 1980- Member of Parliament (Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front)
  2. 1980-Minister of Mines
  3. 1985-Minister of Political Affairs[1]



In the preface of his book, Nyagumbo was described by Jon Conradie as having "a selfless and unswerving dedication to his fellow Zimbabweans' liberation and the most uncompromising refusal to come to terms with the successive settler regimes in Rhodesia". He also said that his history was not "tainted with any hint of opportunism."[6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 , Nyagumbo, Maurice Tapfumaneyi, published:,retrieved:23 Jun 2014"
  2. 2.0 2.1 [Diana Mitchell, African Nationalist Leaders in Zimbabwe: Who’s Who 1980], "African Nationalist Leaders in Zimbabwe: Who’s Who 1980, (Cannon Press, Salisbury, 1980), Retrieved: 16 November 2020
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 R Carey and D Mitchell, African Nationalist Leaders in Rhodesia, retrieved:24 Jun 2014"
  4. 4.0 4.1 Lovemore Ranga Mataire, Remembering the spirit of Maurice Nyagumbo, "The Herald", published:16 Jun 2014,retriived:24 Jun 2014"
  5. 5.0 5.1 author, EX-MINISTER LINKED TO CORRUPTION TO GET HERO'S BURIAL , "AP News", published:22 Apr 1989,retrieved:24 Jun 2014"
  6. Maurice Nyagumbo, With the People. Published 1980. Page: 9