HomeOpinion & AnalysisCounting The Cost Of Voting Against Mugabe

Counting The Cost Of Voting Against Mugabe

TAPUWA Mubwanda’s epitaph should read that he was murdered in cold blood on April 12 in Hurungwe, Mashonaland West, by alleged ruling Zanu PF thugs.

His crime – voting for the opposition MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai in the March 29 elections.

“They identified him (Mubwanda as an MDC supporter and) without wasting time, they rushed to him and they gave him no chance,” claimed Hurungwe Central losing MDC candidate Biggie Haurobi to a civil society network last week.

“They stabbed him with a very long dagger in his ribs. Straight away he fell on the ground and within five minutes he was no more.”

The reported murder of Mubwanda and nine other opposition supporters throughout the country, according to the MDC, is part of a Zanu PF terror campaign to coerce the electorate to back the ruling party in the anticipated presidential election run-off between longtime protagonists, President Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai.

The MDC alleged besides the killing of its 10 supporters, more than 3 000 families have been displaced in rural areas and over 800 houses burnt throughout the country since polling day when it emerged that Zanu PF lost its parliamentary majority to the opposition.

However, police deny that there was any post-election violence and challenge anyone with such information to furnish them with the details.

While acknowledging that the alleged deployment of soldiers, war veterans and youth militia in the countryside was intimidating, analysts said it wouldn’t change voting patterns as the electorate was determined to see an end to Zanu PF’s misrule.

“The so-called Operation Mavhoterapapi (where did you vote?) will not work,” political commentor Michael Mhike said. “The electorate is resolute – Mugabe must go. No amount of murder, torture and assault will discourage the people of Zimbabwe from voting out Mugabe and Zanu PF.”

Mhike said the electorate would reject Mugabe in the same way the Matabeleland region has rejected him after Independence in 1980.

“Despite unleashing the Gukurahundi in the 1980s in Matabeleland, Mugabe and Zanu PF lost each and every election that has been held in the region,” Mhike said. “This time around, the electorate throughout the country has rejected Mugabe and the same will apply in the run-off the regime is forcing on the people.”

During the Gukurahundi era, over 20 000 civilians were killed by the North Korean-trained Five Brigade in what the government claimed was a counter-insurgency operation against PF Zapu dissidents.

Mugabe is yet to apologise for the disturbances despite the fact Zanu PF and PF Zapu in 1987 became a united party.

The closest he came to offer an apology was when he described the Gukurahundi era as a “moment of madness”.

Mugabe’s ardent critic and University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, John Makumbe, said the alleged Zanu PF violence campaign was meant to instill fear in the electorate ahead of the run-off.

“The international community should rein in Mugabe,” Makumbe said. “He should be told to stop the state-sponsored violence to avoid this country plunging into chaos.”

Makumbe said the electorate had spoken against Mugabe through the March 29 elections and the “old man” should leave.

“Mugabe must go, but he doesn’t want to go easily. If the run-off is going to take place, it must be supervised by the international community and I can assure you that if that happens, Mugabe will lose,” the former chairperson of Transparency International Zimbabwe said.   

The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) spokesperson, Madock Chivasa, said it was clear that Zanu PF was spoiling for a fight ahead of the run-off.

He said it was worrying that Sadc facilitator in the MDC-Zanu PF talks, South African President Thabo Mbeki, declared that there was no crisis in Zimbabwe when the government was preparing for war as revealed by the foiled arms cache delivery at Durban Harbour destined for Zimbabwe.

“The NCA is concerned that in a situation where most citizens are facing starvation the Zanu PF government was busy buying weapons that raise suspicion of where they would be used,” Chivasa said.

“It is also NCA’s deepest concern that regardless of Mbeki claiming there was no crisis, the purchasing of ammunition at this point in time raises worry that there was a crisis in Zimbabwe that Mugabe and his kitchen cabinet are preparing to thwart through the use of lethal weapons.”

The NCA urged the United Nations Security Council to urgently enter Zimbabwe and make sure that citizens were protected from the “bloodthirsty regime” of Mugabe.

 “The NCA fears that if no immediate measure is taken the people of Zimbabwe will see a repeat of the Gukurahundi of the 1980s that saw an estimated 20 000 of Zapu supporters being killed,” Chivasa added.

Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena was this week quoted by the public media refuting claims that 10 MDC supporters were killed.

“It is being said that 10 people have been killed. Four names were given,” Bvudzijena said.

“I have personally investigated these cases.

Of those four, three have no basis whatsoever while the fourth is still under investigation and will be concluded soon.”

He said it was unfortunate that these reports of violence were only surfacing on the Internet with no formal reports being made.

“We respond to information supplied to us by the public and we have nothing to hide,” Bvudzijena said.
But the MDC-Tsvangirai insisted that political violence was rampant in the countryside.

“The MDC has been on the receiving end of Zanu PF attacks but the police have been turning a blind eye and instead intensifying arrests of MDC members,” an opposition spokesperson claimed.

“Among the deceased are Tapiwa Mubwanda who was stabbed by Zanu PF supporters on Saturday, April 12 in Hurungwe East, Murunde Tembo from Mudzi North, Tendai Chibika, Mutoko East, and Moses Bashitiyawo from Maramba Pfungwe.”

While Bvudzijena denied the alleged state-sponsored violence, Mubwanda’s alleged brutal murder still haunts his wife and the solution to the Zimbabwe crisis seems to be still very far as Mugabe continues to tenaciously cling on to power.

“We were on our way from Masikote (in Hurungwe),” Mubwanda’s widow remembered. “They grabbed my husband and said you are the MDC people. I want to fix you today.”

She said she ran away and hid her child before returning to where she had left her husband and his captors.

“When I got back my husband was lying down, bleeding from the mouth and stomach. I removed my blouse and put it on his stomach to try and stop the bleeding and make him better.”

By then Mubwanda was dead.

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