Mnangagwa says I am not a crocodile, I am Shumba


Q: When and how did you first meet Mugabe?

A: We’ve been together for about 54 years when I was a student and also when I went for military training in Egypt as well as in China. He was responsible for sending my group in September ’63 for military training in China, where I spent some time in the military academy in Nanjing. Graduated from there, came back to Rhodesia then, and attended the first Zanu conference in Gweru where he was elected secretary-general of the party. Our main task was to recruit young men at the time for military training abroad. We were called the Crocodile Group.

Q: Who called you the Crocodile Group?

A: Reverend Sithole. I’m the only survivor. We received communication from Mugabe that there will be a liberation committee meeting in Dar es Salaam; can you do some sabotage in the country . . . to show that the battle was active in the country. So, as a result of that, I blew up a train.

A: I was later captured. I was put in this . . . Butcher House A20, yes. Butcher House A20: it’s a room at Harare Central Police Station . . . No, Salisbury Central Police Station. We were then tortured there. What they do is there’s a bar . . . See, like, that one doesn’t cross. There’s a bar from one end of the wall to the other end of the wall. Then there are hooks like in a butchery. Then they put a leg, then one leg goes through the hook, then the hook on the other side of your leg. Then they pull the table away so you have your head hanging down with your legs up there. You are hanging Upside down. Then they hit you and they hit you. So I become unconscious, of course. They take you off, then they say again, you trained in China? I said no. On one occasion they took me to a room; they were foolish. They took me to a room, opened a window on the second floor of the building. A TNT slab, then a fuse with a blasting cap. Then they put the blasting cap into the TNT slab. Then they light it. Now, because I was trained in military engineering, I knew that the size of the TNT, if it blows, we’ll all perish. And there was Inspector Beans, Bradshaw, and Smith. These are the guys who are doing this. So they knew that . . . They opened the window. They knew that when the fuse comes and of course before the blasting cap blows, I would throw it away. But I knew that I would keep it. And they know that if it blows, if they allow it to explode . . . they will all die. So, I kept it. Before it could blow, one of the guys jumped and threw it! They said you will go to prison but before that we will castrate you. Then you go for five years. I said in my mind, if I’m castrated, I’ll be in jail for five years, then I’m released. Then I’m nobody. It’s better to die a man. Then I said, OK. Of the crimes you listed here, I’ve done one, two, three. They said, just the one is enough: you will get hanged. That’s why I was not castrated. Then I went to court, sentenced to death. But then when they came to the question of age . . . At that time the age of majority was 21, and I wasn’t 21. That’s how I survived; then I got 10 years’ imprisonment.

Continued next page


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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