A Guruve opposition activist who was allegedly abducted by Zanu PF supporters who wanted him off his farm for defecting to Joice Mujuru’s ZimPF has recounted the horror he endured at the hands of marauding ruling party zealots.
By Everson Mushava
Obert Mutasa was rescued by fellow ZimPF members from the marauding Zanu PF supporters led by war veterans who had camped at his Dunavety farm and held him hostage for the greater part of last Sunday.
His rescue, however, had casualties, with Retired Brigadier General Agrippa Mutambara being heavily assaulted together with other party members and had to be admitted at a private hospital in Harare for treatment.
Mutasa yesterday recounted his ordeal, saying about 500 Zanu PF supporters first came to his farm and vowed to eject him. They claimed the farm belonged to the ruling party.
“They were about 500 of them who came on Tuesday. They vowed to eject me from the farm for supporting Mujuru,” Mutasa said.
“On Sunday, about 300 of them came, with national and Zanu PF flags and camped at my farm. They locked me in my house from around 6am. I called the police from Guruve and they came two hours later. As soon as the police arrived, the Zanu PF supporters released me from the house.”
He added: “The police, led by the officer-in-charge, one Mugoro, then told me that they were leaving since I had been released from the house. I pleaded with them to first disperse the Zanu PF supporters who were singing and armed with machetes, knobkerries and various other objects. The police refused to disperse them, saying it was a peaceful protest and they had the right to do that.”
“I asked him if they had been cleared to protest, but the police officer told me that the law only required them to notify the police, not seek permission. I asked him if they had notified them, they told me that they did not but it was not a crime since they were peaceful. I then requested to get into their car and leave the farm for security reasons, but they refused.”
Mutasa said as soon as the police left, his problems mounted. This time he was not locked into the house, but was surrounded by about 17 armed men while others were being addressed by one Dzerengende, who is war veteran.
“I heard him saying they should have beaten me. I then phoned my party’s provincial leader Brigadier Mutambara to tell him of my situation. He then came in the company of Titus Manyika, Matthias Dzangarame, Maz Manokore, and others. They passed through the police seeking escort, but the police again refused, asking them to go and rescue me on their own,” he said.
“They came and tried to negotiate with them, but they were all assaulted with bicycle chains, stones, machetes and other objects. I managed to escape and ran to Engineer Mubaiwa’s land cruiser vehicle which was parked outside the gate, with the Zanu PF supporters in hot pursuit. I managed to get into the car and escaped, but they smashed the rear window of the car.”
Brigadier Mutambara and crew were later rescued by the police, who then drove them in their car and later gave them letters to facilitate medical treatment.
“But at the police station, the police kind of detained them before they eventually released them. The matter was reported under case number RRB2720419 and 2720420 in Guruve. I have secured a court order to have them evicted but I fear for my life and I can’t go back there because they have been threatening to abduct me,” Mutasa said.
Mutasa reported the matter to Bindura police.
National police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba could not be reached for comment yesterday.
After the matter was reported, President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba accused the ZimPF members of stage-managing their attack in order to discredit Zanu PF.
He said the ZimPF officials went to interfere with Zanu PF supporters who were going about their business.
But ZimPF spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire yesterday hit back at Charamba, accusing him of being inconsiderate and reckless.
“George is not a trained detective who can dispute police findings on this particular issue. The police details who attended to our supporters were clear on who instigated the violence, brutally assaulted them and was therefore liable for their injuries,” Mawarire said.
“The 234 forms filled in by the police at Guruve are clear on who assaulted our supporters. The police noted in the forms that, ‘the victims were assaulted by Zanu PF supporters at Dunavety Farm’ and the police further requested medical officials to attend [to our supporters] and fill in the attached affidavit”.
He added: “It is, however, clear now, after Charamba’s rants, that the violence was planned from the highest Zanu PF office, which is the party presidency because if it wasn’t so, Charamba would not have been called to conjure the violence stage-managing spin that he threw around with amateurish exuberance yesterday.
“Charamba is not the Zanu PF spokesperson. The fact that he shares the same surname with the police spokesperson Charity Charamba does not also mandate him to speak on behalf of the police or masquerade as a detective inspector.”