Know your leaders: Fungai Chaderopa

Fungai Chaderopa: MP Sanyati Constituency
Fungai Chaderopa is the member of the house of assembly for the Sanyati constituency. She gained notoriety in her constituency in the run up to the 27 June 2008 elections, through her heavily militarized systematic perpetration of political violence in Sanyati.

Though relative peace prevailed in Sanyati during the campaign period of the 29 March harmonized elections, there was a dramatic turn of events soon after the results were announced. Chaderopa, who had previously feigned a motherly love towards all the people of Sanyati, showed her true colours in a gruesome turn of events.

MDC activists who were unfortunate enough to have been captured and hauled before Chaderopa and her gang of torture tacticians have heart rending stories to tell. Fungai Chaderopas team of torturers consisted of Inspector Chiremba (ZRP Sanyati), Constable Magwaza (ZRP Sanyati), Captain Mutodi (ZaNA), councillor Isaac Muchekeni, Don Dube (ZNA), councillor Muteshe, Hilda Jonasi, Choga, Maskot Mapute and Frank Munjugwe. This team was in command of hordes of local Zanu (PF) youth gangs of marauders. These youths were used to capture all known MDC supporters and those who had served as polling agents in March 29, 2008 elections.

They had their own ways of punishing the enemy (MDC supporters), but the victims real ordeal would begin once they had been delivered to the MP and her military experts.

What really made Chaderopas mode of operation really effective and unique compared to other Constituencies was her hand on approach with the victims. Working in cahoots with the ZRP officer in charge of Sanyati police station, she unlawfully detained MDC supporters in 2008, for periods ranging from three days to two weeks without charge. These people were tortured daily and sometimes denied food during their detention.

Many victims of political violence in the Sanyati Constituency have reported the presence of uniformed police officers at scenes of abduction and torture. Nowhere else has there been such a widely reported joint operation of armed ZRP officers in uniform and Zanu (PF) youths.

Many of the MDC supporters abducted in Sanyati by the police found themselves locked up in Ngezi / Kadoma Prisons, their cases having been fast tracked through the magistrates courts in Kadoma. It appears that starving the prisoners was Chaderopas favourite torture technique, a claim substantiated by the victims accounts of their terrible ordeal at the hands of Fungai Chaderopa and gang.

June 2, 2008

O.M. (initials used to protect victims identities) was forcibly taken from his home on 2 June 2008 by a group of Zanu (PF) youths in the company of Captain Mutodi. They dragged him to Sanyati Council premises where a meeting of Zanu (PF) supporters was in progress.

O.M. was forced to confess that he was an MDC activist. They also wanted to know why his daughters where not attending Zanu (PF) meetings. Since his abduction on 2 June 2008, O.M. had a torrid time at the mercy of soldiers and Zanu (PF) militia. He was shuffled daily from one Zanu (PF) rally to the next confessing his sin of supporting MDC while operating as village head. He was denied food and water during his trying times, they tortured him from morning till the evening. O.M. said that he was humiliated before the young boys and girls, before all those women and men who respected him, he was so overcome with the pain that he used to openly shed tears at these meetings. He was released on 22 June 2008 after Chaderopa and the army units had completed addressing rallies in Sanyati.

June 7, 2008

J.S. was taken from home on 7 June 2008 by armed soldiers. They used a police truck to take him to Arda Estates in Sanyati. At Arda he found MP Chaderopa waiting for him and he was heavily assaulted by members of the army with Don Dube leading the assault. He was warned against seeking medical help for they would kill anyone who dared treat him.

After the soldiers had satisfied themselves that J.S. had been punished enough, they surrendered him to ZRP Sanyati who detained him for four days without food. J.S. said that the soldiers who were abducting and assaulting people in Sanyati had come into the constituency under the guise of Operation Maguta (an Army agricultural Inputs Supply Programme) but their main objective was to hunt down and punish all MDC activists.

June 22, 2008

On 22 June 2008, Zanu Pf youths abducted S.M., a known MDC activist, from his home. On arrival at S.M.s home, the Zanu (PF) youths and war veterans accused him of supporting the MDC and changing the political fortunes of Zanu (PF) in Sanyati in favor of Tsvangirai. He was also accused of failing to attend Zanu (PF) meetings called for by Chaderopa. They assaulted him in his home, in front of his wife and children.

His wife managed to sneak away with the children. They then dragged S.M. and handed him over to Fungai Chaderopa and her troops. He was bundled into their vehicle and taken to a torture base set up at the ARDA estate in Sanyati.

At the base, S.M. was subjected to a severe bout of torture, which included heavy and thorough beatings using wooden hoe handles, open hands, fists, booted feet and button sticks, punctuated by sessions of cold water boarding. The beatings lasted a whole night and he sustained serious injuries to the buttocks, back and all over the body and suffered a fractured right wrist. He was released into the hands of ZRP Sanyati who detained him for four days without food, after which they set him free without any charges. S.M. has not fully recovered from the injuries and trauma more than a year after the attack.

June 23, 2008

On 23 June 2008, L.M. was taken from his home by a band of militia, Zanu (PF) youths and war veterans. They took him to their local torture base at Geja Clinic, where unfortunately for him MP Fungai Chaderopa and her unit had visited on their routine supervisory round.

L.M. was immediately taken through his paces of political reorientation sessions, which included torture and assaults with Fungai Chaderopa physically participating in the whipping and punching. Matolelas ordeal lasted for 12 hours during which time Chaderopa made him sing chimurenga songs on his own and dance to the melodies, whilst chanting Zanu (PF) slogans. L.M. described Chaderopa as a much more ruthless master and her beatings more severe than the military men in her company. She issued orders that the prisoners would not be given any food until their release.

June 23, 2008

On 23 June 2008, a physically disadvantaged, wheel chair-bound A.H. was hauled before Fungai Chaderopa. His crime was supporting the MDC and its leader Morgan Tsvangirai, an inexcusable crime (according to Chaderopa), that called for a deterrent punishment to serve as an example to would be offenders. She pushed and shoved A.H around in his already broken down wheel chair. Though A.H was lucky in that he was not beaten up, he was denied food and water for the whole day until his release the following day his wheel chair was further damaged during the interrogation.

June 23, 2008

An MDC councillor candidate S.H. was abducted from her home in Ndava village by a group of 20 Zanu (PF) youths on 23 June 2008. The youths told her that she had to go with them because the elders where waiting for her. They harassed her as they pushed her to Geja Clinic where a large crowd had been gathered. Fungai Chaderopa, Councillor Isaac Muchekeni, Captain Mutodi and some armed ZNA military personnel in uniform interrogated her for the whole day.

They wanted to extract from her all information about the operations of the MDC in the area. She was denied food and water through out the day, she was only released later in the evening the same day, they stressed on her that they would come back for her after the 27th of June election results. The soldiers warned her about her continued support of the MDC, stressing that it was Zanu (PF) that she should swear her allegiance to. S.H. reported that she was highly traumatized by this incident.

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