BY MXOLISI NCUBE
Masquerading as MDC activists coming to feed victims of Zanu (PF) atrocities, small gangs of militia and police thugs have moved into Bulawayo to sniff out victims of Robert Mugabe’s presidential run-off terror campaign who have fled from the rural areas to seek sanctuary and medical attention in the city.
This is a markedly different strategy to that employed in the rural areas, where gangs number several hundreds and carry out large-scale beatings and burning of property.
They are scared to do that in the cities, say political analysts, as any such attempt would be strongly resisted by the urban populations, who unwaveringly support the MDC in massive numbers.Mugabe’s thugs were deployed in the country’s rural areas about two months ago, to unleash a reign of terror on supporters of the MDC in an operation code-named Mavhotera papi. The campaign is aimed at displacing 500,000 voters in order to ensure that Mugabe wins the run-off.But last week the thugs made sporadic visits to the cities, where they have been asking residents about the whereabouts of MDC supporters.
The gangs, most of who are members of the country’s security forces drive around in Mazda B2500 vehicles, which are boldly marked CAM in red at the rear. They claim to have been sent from Harare to feed victims of the violence.
Residents who spoke to The Zimbabwean on Sunday in Zimbabwe’s second city on Thursday said that they were now living in fear, after some of them had been “interviewed” by the terror gangs.”They came here on Monday morning and asked me if I knew of any MDC supporters in the area. When I told them that I did not, they asked if I had seen anyone who had fled from the rural areas and where such people could have gone. They then took me in their vehicle to Nkulumane complex, where they offered to pay me large sums of money if I told them about the people they were looking for, saying that they were MDC people sent from Harare to look for victims of violence and MDC supporters in the city, so that they could assist them, said a frightened Tapera Chuma, of Gwabalanda suburb.
They ended up getting harsh and accused me of hiding their colleagues from them and promised to come back for me if they found out that I lied to them,” he added.Security sources confirmed this week that the gangs, who travel in groups of about six people per vehicle, are, in fact, state agents sent to identify the opposition’s supporters and pick them up for torture at secret locations around the country.
“They are senior police officers who have been sent to arrest MDC supporters for torture at different locations outside the city,” said a source.
This new development has been carefully orchestrated to avoid large-scale beatings such as those continuing in the rural areas, which have largely remained sealed off to the media and medical personnel, said the source. The cities pose a different problem for the military junta as any wholesale violence is likely to spark a major uprising – as all the cities are MDC strongholds. Furthermore, media and diplomatic attention would immediately be focussed on any such activity.
Several reports have been received in the past week of sporadic forays into urban areas to kidnap individual MDC activists.
Real war vets blame junta for terror
BY STAFF REPORTER
How can we have so many victims of violence characterised by serious bodily harm with no arrests to match the magnitude of the crime? ask the leaders of the Zimbabwe Liberation Veterans Forum, Happyson Nenji (Webster Gwauya) and Wilfred Mhanda (Dzinashe Machingura), who both have impeccable liberation war credentials.
This yawning gap can at best only be accounted for by the serious dereliction of duty and monumental incompetence on the part of the police and at worst their wilful and unpardonable complicity in crime, they said in a statement this week.The statement continues: The spokesperson of the Zimbabwe National Army has denied the ZNA’s involvement in the ongoing retributive campaign of violence against defenceless civilians prevalent in the communal areas. The former first lady Grace Mugabe spoke against violence in some remote area followed by Jocelyn Chiwenga, wife of the Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces General Constantine Chiwenga.
We however wish to draw to the attention of the two ladies that the victims of violence are at their doorsteps under their very noses here in Harare not only in the remote areas that they visited. Should they be serious about showing empathy to victims of violence we kindly draw their attention to the wards at the Avenues Clinic, Parirenyatwa Hospital, the church groups, and the MDC headquarters, Harvest House all in Harare where they would come face to face with multitudes of victims with broken limbs, broken ribs, lacerations and soft tissue injuries all over their bodies.
With so many victims of violence spread across the country’s hospitals, we ask how many perpetrators have been brought to book for their misdeeds?The two respected war veterans said there was overwhelming evidence of the involvement of the Army itself in the violence, as well as their partners in crime – the police and the CIO. They said evidence pointed at senior commissioned officers who were directing terror operations against defenceless civilians.They conclude that this is an operation conceived and ordered and executed by the Joint Operations Command itself. Clearly they should stop insulting the nation’s intelligence through perfunctory reflex denials.