Rhodesians used child soldiers



ONT-FAMILY: ‘Times New Roman’; mso-bidi-font-size: 10.0pt”>If it wasn’t for the fact that a number of people have been deprived of their freedom and are currently being tortured I would have rolled on the floor laughing when the Zimbabwean police announced that they had ‘discovered’ what was said to be an ‘arms cache’ at the home of Peter Hitshmann in Mutare.

The police produced one AK 47 rifle, four FNs, seven Uzzis, three aged 303s, 11 shot guns and a couple of pistols. To complete the cache was one radio base station and a couple of hand-held receivers – the type used by commercial farmers for years.

They proudly proclaimed that they had thwarted a coup in the making. ZBC and ZTV joined in the mutual back-slapping and congratulations at this profound ‘discovery’.

Not to be outdone, Didymus Mutasa, minister in charge of the CIO, waxed lyrical about the wonders of his all-seeing, all-hearing intelligence services, which had master-minded this entire operation. “They are next to none,” he declared fulsomely. What he did not tell us, however, was that the ever-watchful men in dark glasses had observed the chief coup plotter, Hitschmann, buying finger-licking good chicken take-away from Nando’s in Mutare for his fellow coup-plotters Thando Sibanda and Knowledge Nyamhuka. This was a dead giveaway and they arrested him forthwith. The discovery of the weapons cache came later.

These brave operatives did not let the minor detail that Hitschmann is a licensed gun-dealer, allowed by law to keep guns for sale, stop them from getting their man.

The Herald was quick to point out that Hitschmann was a former member of the Rhodesian Security Forces. Another minor detail that was overlooked in all the excitement is that he is now 30 years old. Which makes him four years old at Independence in 1980 – I always knew that those Rhodesians used child soldiers.

With this one simple arrest, our gallant spooks have managed to disrupt the MDC’s forthcoming congress by widening their coup-plotters dragnet to include Roy Bennett, chairman of the MDC in Manicaland, Giles Mutsekwa the party’s defence spokesman and a few others who have not yet been named. This will undoubtedly send a chilling message to other party supporters that the evil eye is watching them and they had been watch out. Perhaps Mutasa is right after all.

But how come these remarkable investigative powers seem to dissipate when it comes to investigating crimes such as the bombings of the Daily News and Voice of the People offices and the murders of several MDC activists in broad daylight?

Post published in: Opinions

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