Oliver Mtukudzi

The Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front- or the ruling nationalist party is it is popularly known, has nurtured and produced politicians of diverse capabilities. Since the days of Herbert Chitepo the founding chairman, Robert Mugabe the first Secretary, Josiah Tongogara the Commander, Joshua Nkomo the Unifier; to the 21st century period where new nationalist blood has taken over; there seems to be a continuous tendency of strong revolutionary sentiments entrenched in the party and the country at large.

The life and deeds of Jabulani Sibanda testify this. Sibanda belongs to this new blood of nationalist cadres who began his political activism during or after the famous Second Chimurenga war which saw the transition from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe. He is the chairperson of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association. Sibanda has received a fair coverage in both the print and electronic media due to his controversial actions and words which have made him, altogether, a controversial persona in the Zimbabwean political landscape.

To say that Sibanda is a controversial figure may sound demeaning, but here is the paradox; his age is not even known to the Zimbabwean public. His age became of great interest to the public due to his claims that he actually fought the liberation struggle in Zimbabwe aganist the white regime of Ian Smith. There was general speculation that during the peak of the Second Chimurenga war in Zimbabwe, Jabulani Sibanda was still very young and others even claim that he was still in primary school. Sometime in 2012, during a hot interview with [[The Sunday Mail] journalist, Mun­yaradzi Huni, Sibanda ran out of words when drilled about his real age. [1] Some journalists in the local media have speculated, though without tangible proof, that Sibanda actually went to war at the age of 9. They argued that he did not really take part in active combat due to his age.[1]

For many years, people in ZANU PF have queried why president Robert Mugabe entrusted Sibanda said to be too young to have fought in the liberations struggle with the headship of the war veterans association together with Joseph Chinotimba who also the late retired army general Solomon Mujuru several times openly embarrassed rubbishing his liberation war credentials;This was before Mujuru’s mysterious death at his farm house in 2011.[1]

Military Training

Sibanda claims that he joined the liberation struggle and crossed the border in 1976 to join fellow guerrillas in Zambia. He revealed that he was very young at that time of joining the liberation struggle. In his personal narrative, he also illuminated that he went to train in Angola at Boma Training Centre in Moxico Province. From Zambia we moved by trucks. He also narrated how they moved fr4om Zambia to Angola; "It was a long journey taking into account that the state of the roads in Zambia was very bad, but in Angola the roads were worse because there was a civil war at that time. Boma was about 39km north of a small town called Luena, which was called Lusso during the colonial regime."[1]

Tsholotso Declaration

Sibanda was one of the key figures involved in the Tsholotsho declaration of 2004. The declaration was a political arrangement which was meant to seize power through unscrupulous means from Robert Mugabe the president of the Republic. Other key members who were involved in the declaration included Emmerson Mnangagwa and Jonathan Moyo. Due to his taking part in the Tsholotsho declaration, Sibanda was suspended from the party. He however returned with new energy in the 2008 elections when he was made part of the national campaign team. Critics have argued that his return was necessitated by the need for unity of purpose at a time a when the opposition parties such as the Movement for Democratic Change were gaining ground especially in the rural areas.


Sibanda was believed to be the one behind a crusade of violence perpetrated against opposition supporters in Masvingo Province during the 2007 run-off elections which resulted in the government of national unity. Sibanda with other war veterans and youths targeted those aligned to Morgan Tsvangirai and other opposition movements. [2]


In the drama brewing "Meet the People" rallies held by the first lady Grace Mugabe in the month of October 2014, Jabulani Sibanda was one of the leaders who did not support the initiative. This led to widespread speculations that he was linked to the Mujuru camp led by vice president Joice Mujuru.

Attempted Ouster

After his absence from Grace Mugabe's rallies, some war veterans passed a vote of no confidence in their national chairman Sibanda, accusing him of making the association dysfunctional. The war veterans elders said the non-participation of Sibanda in the war veterans meeting with Grace Mugabe at Mazowe and at previous rallies countrywide showed that he sympathised with those being condemned by the First Lady for deviating from the principles of the party and destroying it from within.[3]

Controversial Speech

Sibanda made shocking comments that Grace Mugabe the first lady and a member of the women's league was attempting to effect on bedroom coup on President Robert Mugabe. Sibanda openly rejected the authority of Grace Mugabe arguing that the first lady was agitating internal strife through her slogans which ridiculed big figures like Joice Mujuru and Didymus Mutasa who are believed to be the strongholds of the Mujuru camp.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 , “War Vet” Jabulani Sibanda refuses to disclose his age, "Zimeye", published:27 Oct 2012,retrieved:28 Oct 2014"
  2. E. Mushava, Jabulani Sibanda at it again, "Newsday", published:13 Feb 2013,retrieved:28 Oct 2014"
  3. , Jabulani Sibanda ousted?, "ZBC News", published:24 Oct 2014,retrieved:28 Oct 2014"
  4. M. Matenga, ‘We reject bedroom coup’ Jabulani Sibanda, "publisher", published:27 Oct 2014,retrieved:28 Oct 2014"

[[Category: Zimbabwean Politicians]