The past two weeks have seen a resurgence of political violence in Zimbabwe. Gory pictures of badly injured politicians and political activists are being splashed in newspapers, bringing back frightful memories of that bloody June 2008 nightmare.
the oracle BY TANGAI CHIPANGURA
We saw photographs of Retired Brigadier General Agrippa Mutambara, a war veteran and former ambassador who had been assaulted by Zanu PF supporters in Guruve. His face was swollen, bruised and blooded. Mutambara abandoned Zanu PF and joined a new political party, Zimbabwe People First led by former vice-president Joice Mujuru.
He and several other members of his party had gone to Guruve to help a fellow party official whose farm had come under siege from Zanu PF youths. They were so badly injured they were still hospitalised as I wrote this article.
Several similar incidents of political violence, including the burning down of houses belonging to ZimPF followers, have been reported in Mashonaland Central recently as Zimbabwe ploughs towards another election inside the next 18 months or so.
In Harare, the political violence took the form of abductions and torture — again reminiscent of the 2008 disappearances and murder of political opponents by suspected Zanu PF machinery.
Silvanos Mudzvova and Kudakwashe Kambakunje, both political activists who are not aligned to any political party but are leaders of organisations that have been protesting against President Robert Mugabe’s rule, were abducted in Harare by people they said were Zanu PF members. They were assaulted, tortured and injected with unknown substances before being left for dead.
They were abducted in similar fashion to what happened to Itai Dzamara, who has not been found since he was taken away over a year ago, and in the same manner that Tonderai Ndira was grabbed from his home in Mabvuku in 2008 by the same kind of people. Ndira was later found dead with his body badly mutilated.
There were reports too last week of several anti-Mugabe protesters who said they were “arrested” by Zanu PF activists who took them to the party’s headquarters along Rotten Row road where they were detained and tortured in rooms whose floors and walls were stained with blood. Many tales of horror were recounted by victims of these detentions at Zanu PF headquarters.
All these incidents point an accusing finger at Zanu PF and given the party’s proven history of political violence and open threats of same made recently by its officials speaking against anti-Mugabe protests, there is little doubt the party is involved in this violence. It is becoming clear the party has raised its ugly violent head again and has started devouring opponents ahead of the 2018 elections. They are determined to crash protests against the party’s misrule that has brought debilitating poverty and misery to Zimbabweans.
In spite of age and bad-governance that has caused national economic collapse, Mugabe has declared he will not leave office and that anybody that complains against his rule will face his full wrath. Even state machinery, like the police, have made these threats, just as Zanu PF top officials and youths have said the same.
So, given the threats and the recent acts of brutality already being displayed by the party and the police force which has been recorded brutalising unarmed and defenceless citizens in broad daylight, it is only clear that Zimbabweans must brace for another 2008 orgy of political violence.
So many people were beaten up, maimed and displaced while others were killed in that black 2008 —at torture bases that are still out there; only waiting to be reactivated.
There is no spontaneity to this evil — it is carefully planned, plotted and directed with military precision from above and executed with the aid of military elements and structures that Zanu PF is refusing to have reformed!
Lest we forget, the late Nathan Shamuyarira, one of the party’s godfathers who was, however, viewed as one of the less cruel, once said these words: “The area of violence is an area where Zanu PF has a strong, long and successful history.”
But killing for power is one thing that should never give anyone any peace, even having successfully assumed or retained that power. Zimbabweans have suffered too much from both physical and economic pains at the hands of those that are supposed to protect and look after their wellbeing.
We do not want more shattered limbs and broken lives, blooded bodies taken to clinics in wheelbarrows —like billboards advertising the gruesome consequences of opposition politics!
And in all this madness, it is the ordinary people, blind supporters — who are usually equally suffering from this political and economic bedlam — that are set against their fellow citizens who may be raising their voices against this poverty and brutality. More often than not, when the spotlight becomes unpalatable for the politicians, it is these messengers of death that are sacrificed. Some of them are still serving jail sentences for crimes that helped keep other people in power and comfort.
There are Members of Parliament that have many times been accused of planning violence and death in their campaign for power. Even in the Guruve incident, names of top party and government officials who are also MPs have been thrown about as having orchestrated the brutal assault of ZimPF officials at Obert Mutasa’s Dunaventy Farm last week.
It is unfortunate that we still have in this country MPs who believe that their political tenure can only be safeguarded through political violence. Our Parliament today is a haven for architects of violence.
These men and women do not deserve to sit in the august house as lawmakers. They are criminals who should be punished together with the youngsters they use to execute violent political projects.