Tendai Marimo of Hopley Farm in Harare is a bitter man. His children, including a six-week-old baby were recently savagely attacked by suspected Zanu PF militants.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
The story of Marimo, an MDC-T member whose two children were left seriously injured on two different occasions, has forced some of his family members and neighbours to go into hiding.
Last Sunday night as Marimo was away running some errands, scores of people allegedly donning military uniform turned Hopley into a war zone. They pounced at his house but after failing to locate him the men vented their anger on his six-week-old son.
They lifted him from the bed by his hand and threw him to the floor, causing serious injuries.
“It was around 10pm on Sunday night as I was asleep with my children when I heard a knock on the door,” Marimo’s wife Tatenda Kadzitonge said.
“They used our neighbour whom they forced to lure me outside. But after I refused because it was late, the people started shouting and threatening, saying they were going to deal with me if I failed to open the door for them.”
She was gripped by fear but did not open the door until they broke in.
“Three men armed with logs and in military uniform entered and asked the whereabouts of my husband,” Kadzitonge said.
“They searched everywhere and when they were satisfied that he was not home they targeted my six-week-old son who was fast asleep on the bed.
“One of them picked him by the hand and threw him to the floor. I screamed and the children cried too. That was very painful.”
She said after the incident she followed the men outside where she was shocked to see about 20 young men, some in military fatigue armed with different weapons.
Kadzitonge said the men went to her husband’s sister Temptation Marimo’s place, which is near her house and roughed her up too.
The men reportedly poured several buckets of water on the two defenceless women and ordered them to roll in the mud, giving no attention to the screaming infant.
Later, they went on a rampage and terrorised other suspected anti-Mugabe activists in Hopley.
Kadzitonge said she made a police report at ZRP Southlea Park under RRB number 2919805 where she obtained a report to take the baby to hospital.
Kadzitonge says the police had since told her that the matter was still under investigation. She said she now felt insecure as this was the second time assailants have targeted her minor children.
Last year in November following skirmishes between Zanu PF and opposition supporters in Hopley, another group looking for her husband struck her seven-year -old child on the chest as a way of fixing Marimo.
The minor suffered injuries and spent close to a week at Avenues Clinic.
Marimo himself said the attack on his family, particularly defenceless children, was unwarranted.
“These are people who often come and terrorise my family. It’s surprising that this time they roped in soldiers who caused serious injuries on my child,” he said.
“Last year in November another group came and attacked my eldest son with bricks and he spent almost a week in hospital.
“All they want is to do away with my family because I am an MDC-T supporter.
“Because of the danger to my family, I am now relocating them to a place where I am sure they will be safe.
“The whole family is devastated because the two incidents could have been fatal.”
Marimo said he would not abandon his activism because he was among thousands of others who were not happy with Zanu PF’s misrule.
His sister Temptation said the Zanu PF youths must respect other people’s political views and leave children out of political contestations.
On the same night, the armed gang also roughed up several people, including Vengai Chigorimbo who sustained a swollen eye.
“The gang surrounded us at a local pub and indiscriminately assaulted us, claiming we knew the whereabouts of Marimo,” he said.
“Most people were injured and they threatened to come again once they suspected we were participating in anti-Mugabe activities.”
Suspected Zanu PF militia has of late been going around abducting people, torturing and injecting them with unknown substance, accusing them of participating in anti-President Robert Mugabe demos.
ZimRights chairperson Passmore Nyakureba said such cases must not be taken for granted and they must be thoroughly investigated.
“The alarming rate at which cases involving torture, intimidation and threats to abduct or cause enforced disappearances against anti-government activists calls for condemnation in the strongest of terms,” he said.
“Government, Zanu PF and their agents must respect the constitution-enshrined rights of Zimbabweans to hold divergent views from theirs and learn to live with criticism.
“This primitive and barbaric reaction to criticism has to stop. instead government must work on fulfilling its election promise to deliver 2,2 million jobs and exorcising the demon of corruption, and account for the stolen $15 billion diamonds money instead of spending all its energy chasing after its own citizens to harm them.”
He added: “It is sad indeed that things have gotten to a level where the political destitution of the government results in brutal assault of infants.
“This is deplorable and I hope the civic society is documenting these abuses for presentation before international forums such the upcoming UN periodic review in November in order to name, shame and expose this brutal government.”
Zanu PF has been accused of unleashing its militia after months of protests against Mugabe’s rule.
Some protest leaders have been tortured and left for dead by unknown assailants.