This force of young men and women has proved to be ZANU-PFs most effective weapon when it comes to bullying the electorate and, in past elections, they have committed acts so gross. there may be a case for charging their commanders and ministers responsible with crimes against humanity.
All the militia who were interviewed had been involved with
Breaking up MDC meetings and beating opposition supporters
Helping ZANU during elections
They have, themselves, been beaten and subject to harsh discipline and all say they would never again support ZANU.
But the Bombers also have a message for the MDC, which they see as nave and unprepared for the next election. And they predict that in 2011 the party will again be cheated of victory. The Zimbabwean and those who conducted the interviews do not necessarily agree with the opinions of the militia, but we believe they have a vital message for all who seek real change.
The interviews were conducted in a mix of English, Shona and isiNdebele and have been translated to keep the original voice. Each of the Bombers has read the final text in English and agreed that it captures what they wanted to say.
Starting today, we will publish one interview per week. In some cases, personal details have been altered to protect the speakers, their families and those who conducted the interviews.
Why ZANU will win in 2011
1. Clement P. (age 21)
Q: Where are you from?
A: My home area is almost 20 km from Gweru.
Q: Why did you join the youth militia?
A: My father was in the police. I wanted to do the same job. But to join you must do the militia and get a tsamba.
Q: What did you do in the Bombers?
A: I was beaten so many times. They make you naked wearing nothing and then beat you, when your friends are watching. And you cry and your friends must laugh and tell the leaders to beat you again. It was terrible.
Q: And after you had been beaten, what work did you do for the militia?
A: I was in a group of six and we would do pungwe (indoctrination sessions) with people in the villages. Make them sing songs about Mugabe, beat the sellouts, and the people would have to identify those who supported MDC.
Q: This was before the 2008 election?
Q: What happened to the people who were identified as MDC?
A: We took them back to the camp for punishment and to teach them about ZANU. Some died but it is not true that the Bombers killed many people. But many were tortured or injured.
Q: Did they become ZANU supporters?
A: For short time, but once they return to the village or to town, some go back to MDC or others will run to South Africa. We were told that is okay because even if they run away, at least an MDC voter has gone from the area.
Q: Yet MDC won the 2008 election?
A: It will not happen again. ZANU were used to winning so they became confident that nothing can stop them. After 2008 they know the price of losing and they will be careful. Now it is MDC who are confident because they can wear T-shirts and the police dont arrest them for that, so they think they have already won the election.
Q: Who would you vote for in the next election?
A: Obvious, I now hate ZANU.
Q: And how will MDC do in 2011?
A: I think they will find it hard to win.
Q: Is there still a militia in your area?
A: For now the camp is closed, but because all the youth leaders are still being paid, it can be opened in a very short time.
Q: The youth leaders are being paid?
A: ZANU is paying all the militia leaders $100 a month, and they have to come to party meetings and secret pungwes. In the rural areas, $100 is the salary of a teacher, and you are getting it for nothing. So you know that at the election you must protect your salary.
Q: Where is ZANU getting all this money?
A: There is no answer that I can say is true, but I think at one time the government was printing US dollars.
Q: The banks would soon find out?
A: There are no banks in rural areas. You give me the money, I spend it at the store, the owner there buys vegetables from a farmer in the village and that farmer pays his workers. Few of those notes would end up at a bank.
But I said this was what used to happen. Now, the smallest rural store has a blue light or the pen to check real dollars so it cannot work these days.
Maybe they are funding from Chiadzwa.
Q: If you were talking to Morgan Tsvangirai, what advice would you give him?
A: He wouldnt listen to me.
Q: Okay, lets say he is listening to you?
A: The MDC talk to each other and they grow convinced that they are in power now and will take over without ZANU after the election.
We ex militia know so much about Mugabe, but most of us are now in Harare or Joburg or Lusaka washing cars or trying to sell some goods.
Q: That still doesnt answer the question. What advice would you give to the Prime Minister?
A: There is no prime minister. It is just a name they gave him to stay quiet. But if he talked to me I would tell him to find as many Bombers as he can and use them.
Q: To form his own Youth Militia?
A: No, the police would arrest them. No, he must build a network. Maybe he could call them the Peace Veterans instead of the War Veterans.
Q: You make it sound like he needs a private army?
A: If it sounds like that then you are not hearing me. In most areas, MDC has no real control, just young guys who can shout slogans. For many areas. there is no discipline and no leadership.
The way it is now, ZANU has won the election because they still control.
Q: Control what?
At every police station, the officer in charge is ZANU. Every army commander for even a small a unit, all the bosses at CIO even in far places away from Harare, they are chosen by ZANU.
Land, food, the chiefs. And ZBC.
Q: I still dont understand. You say MDC doesnt need a private army, but ZANU has control. So what exactly does MDC need outside the cities?
The MDC needs people to control the election. If that group includes the former Bombers, then they will recruit their friends who are still in the militia. In rural areas there are few young people. Most are in the towns or kwaNdazo (South Africa) or Botswana. So there is not a big supply of people for MDC or ZANU, but for now ZANU has so much control. If MDC can form the youth into a good network, there will be no-one left for Mugabe to recruit.
Q: If they did that would they win the next election
A: They would have a chance.
Tsvangirai, Bennett, Biti, they go kumusha to the countryside and they see their people wearing MDC T-shirts and saluting at rallies.
They can see the fish swimming in the shallow water and they think they will step from the jeche (river bank) and pick the fish with their hands, but deeper where you cant see are the makarwe (crocodiles) and they are all ZANU.Post published in: Politics