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Tapfumaneyi Maurice Nyagumbo (12 December 1924 – 28 April 1989) was a Zimbabwean politician.

Life and careerEdit

Nyagumbo was born in Makoni near Rusape, and had his primary education at St Faith Anglican Mission and St Augustine's Penhalonga. Working in South Africa in the 1940s, he joined the South African Communist Party.[1] In 1955 he became a founding member of the Zimbabwe Youth League. In 1959 he joined the African National Congress and later that year he was detained. He spent most of the subsequent years until 1979 in prison in Rhodesia. During his time in detention he wrote a book, With the People: An Autobiography From the Zimbabwe Struggle, which was published soon after independence (Allison & Busby, 1979). He associated with Joshua Nkomo and James Chikerema, and they were arrested together in 1964.

Nyagumbo was elected to the House of Assembly in 1980. He was a ZANU (the Zimbabwe African National Union) representative in the 1985 talks to merge ZANU and Nkomo's ZAPU.[2] Nyagumbo was later was appointed Minister of Mines, and then was Minister of Political Affairs until 1988, when he became Senior Minister of State for Political Affairs. He resigned from his ministerial post and his post as administrative secretary of the governing party on 13 April 1989, in the wake of a report investigating corruption involving the sale of vehicles on the black market by Willowvale Motor Industries.[3][4]

Nyagumbo committed suicide in 1989, aged 64, by drinking rat poison after being charged with perjury during so-called Willowgate scandal,[5] ashamed of his role in the Willowvale scandal and that he had betrayed the trust of the people he had fought so hard to liberate.[6][7]


  1. ^ Multinational Monitor, April 1981
  2. ^ Abiodun Alao (1994), Brothers at War: Dissidence and Rebellion in Southern Africa, p. 101.
  3. ^ "Nyagumbo, Maurice Tapfumaneyi", ZANU PF website.
  4. ^ AP, "Ex-Zimbabwe Official Dies; Treated as Possible Suicide", The New York Times, 22 April 1989.
  5. ^ "Willogate Remembered", 27 October 2008, Zimsite – The meeting-place for Zimbabweans world-wide.
  6. ^ Re-living the Second Chimurenga, Fay Chung, 2005, 265–266.
  7. ^ Thomas Turino, Nationalists, Cosmopolitans, and Popular Music in Zimbabwe, 352.