Today I got an email from a friend in Mozembique with an attachment from Zimbabweans telling the story of how Robert Mugabe’s party, the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) uses violence against civilians to ensure another term in office. I’ve posted excepts from the article at the bottom of the post but first, a very brief explanation of the trouble in Zimbabwe:
Zimbabwe was in great shape a decade ago. It had a literacy rating in the 90s, was the bread basket of sub-Saharan Africa, had an effective health care system and solid economic fundamentals. Then something happened: leader Robert Mugabe, the hero who liberated the nation from oppressive white rule in 1980s and declared himself president, has reversed all those positive trends. The last decade of Zimbabwean history is awash in everything that typifies an internally destructive regime. Massive corruption has eroded internal economic freedoms, state sponsored violence is routinely used to accomplish political objectives and those opposed to the government are ending up beaten or dead.
Zimbabwe still has elections and despite all the efforts used to subvert the election by Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF party, the opposition actually won. Of course, a win is only a win if you can take power afterwards. Mugabe isn’t ready to give it up and since the ‘official’ vote count has the opposition leader, Moran Tsvangirai, missing the 50% needed to win outright, there is going to be a run off election. However, before the run off election, the state sponsored violence is beginning again, and this time it’s even more acute.
“Enclosed I am sending the pictures and true stories of Police brutality in Zimbabwe. Honestly, we need to pray if we can, we need to write something if we can, we need to demonstrate if we can, we need to raise up our voices if we are to be heard, we need to challenge our SADC (Southern African Development Community) governments to do something. We really need to…………………
PS. the pictures are shocking be ready.”
“We are having a very terrible problem now. As we finished the election Zanu PF has come up with a strategy that they are calling Operation Mavhotera Papi, They are going around and they have got all the election statistics, and they are identifying the strongholds of MDC, and they are doing everything to destroy MDC membership so if there is ever to be a re-run, they want to make sure they have destroyed the party. Our polling agents in the rural areas they are staying in the bush, our prominent supporters who are identified by Zanu PF are sleeping in the bush in groups. “The strategy is clear, they are always talking about a re-run and they are saying they want to destroy MDC there, They are taking peoples IDs and throwing them away, and beating people. We have nursed a lot of people who have injuries. “They identified him (Tapiwa Mubwanda) without wasting time, they rushed to him and they gave him no chance, They stabbed him with a very long sword, in his ribs. Straight away he fell on the ground and within five minutes he was no more.”
“In the farming community where there are some resettlements, whoever is identified as an MDC supporter or election agent is being beaten up, victimised, belongings thrown out of their houses, and they are just desperate. Peoples lives are in danger here in Mashonaland West now.”
“We were on our way from Masikote. They grabbed my husband and said you are the MDC people I want to fix you today. I ran away because I wanted to take my child to a safe place because I realised that if I stayed they were going to kill me. Then I had to go back and see what was happening to my husband. When I got back my husband was lying down, bleeding from the mouth, blood on the stomach, I removed my blouse and put it on his stomach to try and stop the bleeding and make him better.”
Another story from a 22 year old male from Musaruro Village Mudzi.
“The ZPF youth came to my shop on Friday 11 April 2008 at 9pm, broke the door down and dragged me out of the building. They said “you are an MDC member”. They took all the groceries from my shop then burned grass on both my hands. After that they beat my hands and back with wooden poles. I went to Kotwa rural district hospital and they gave me 2
paracetamol – they had nothing else.”
12 April 2008.
The violence continued yesterday. Over 500 farm workers displaced in Mutasa South and Chipinge (Tanganda and Southdown Holdings) following invasions by so called war veterans. A passenger on a bus reported seeing a man being hung by his hands from a tree while a group was beating him at Corner Store, between Muhrewa and Mutoko – this took place at approximately 4 pm Sunday 13 April 2008. Frans Joubert, a Chipinge farmer has been detained in Chipinge Police cells since Friday for allegedly “insulting Pres. Mugabe”. He is being denied access to legal representation and relatives. It has been reported that a teacher in Mudzi has also been murdered and 8 women have been abducted. We are awaiting verification of this report. The women shown in the images above were viciously beaten and have sustained deep tissue bruising of the buttocks. All were admitted to hospital. These attacks took place on Friday night, April 11, 2008.
This kraal head from Zimuto, Masvingo, was accused of getting people to vote for MDC. He was stoned and beaten with logs. His lip was split, he lost two teeth, and he sustained fractured ribs. His wife is 50 years and was beaten viciously on her right leg. In addition to these pictures and reports are the following incidents:
The MDC Secretary for Ward 1 Zimuto Masvinga, who is 36 years old, was attacked on Tuesday in Baradzi Village, Masvingo. ZPF youth broke his door down and dragged him outside insisting that he take them to all the other MDC members houses. He refused to comply so was beaten with iron bars and logs of wood. He slept the night in the bush and then found his way to medical facility. The thugs referred to their actions as Operation Mavhoterapapi – “where you put your X”. The Mudzi/Mutoko area is particularly bad, with homes being burned. One man had his home ransacked, and his chickens and goats burned alive. He and his family have left fearing for their lives.
We have also received information that one white farmer in Chipinge is in police cells (lawyers
being denied access). And that 55 farmworker families have been displaced from Tanganda
and Southdown holdings and are in need of urgent assistance. There are also a number of injured people who have been beaten with logs requiring medical treatment. The local Doctor has been displaced. The situation is reported to be out of control. Look at the way our brothers and sisters are being treated in Zimbabwe! God forbid!
The article is much longer and the pictures much more graphic. I don’t particularly like these types of posts but someone needs to hear these people’s story.
What’s America doing to help?
Rice said: “We’ve tried to make a case … that there needed to be free and fair elections in Zimbabwe as much as it was possible. It’s difficult since really no international observation was allowed.”
So what did you do about that Condi?
“The State Department said Friday the U.S. would field almost a dozen poll watchers for the elections and would report afterward on the electoral process and the results.”
Almost a dozen…
Well, maybe the international community can at least stop the shipment of Chinese weapons ordered by Mugabe to use on his own people.