True war heroes are living in hell: Chimoio survivor

Amos Rufuse (63) is having sleepless nights after some war veterans and Zanu (PF) militia besieged his homestead in Zimunya.

Cde Groundforce holding baby with his neighbour.
Cde Groundforce holding baby with his neighbour.

Rufuse, a survivor of the Chimoio attack in Mozambique in 1976, is a former member of Zanu (PF) Mutare district coordination committee. He left Zanu (PF) and joined the popular MDC-T in 2008. Late last year he was targeted by war veterans and Zanu (PF) militia during the constitution outreach programme, because he spoke out against the party’s policy of warning villagers to either shut up or support Zanu (PF)’s views on the new constitution.

“About two months ago, members of the youth militia accused me of being a sell-out. I told them that I was no longer interested in Zanu (PF). But they threatened to burn my house and told me that they would kill me if I did not follow their orders, so I was forced to attend their rallies,” Rufuse told The Zimbabwean in an exclusive interview.

“I am living in hell here. They are always monitoring my movements and they sometimes camp at my house. They fear that I might influence other war veterans to jump ship and join the MDC,” he said. The former fighter, whose Chimurenga name was Cde Groundforce, has a painful story to tell:

“I fought and survived the Chimoio attack. I went to the war to liberate this country. A lot of blood was shed and many died. But today some people who claim to be war heroes are running the country. All those people you see in higher places in Zanu (PF) are fake comrades. They do not have the true war credentials, but they claim they are the heroes of the liberation struggle.

“Look at me today, I am almost destitute. I truly liberated this country. We have been used by these cronies at Zanu (PF). There are a lot of true war veterans who are in my same predicament.

“As we approach the Heroes’ holiday, I want to take this opportunity to tell the world that true war veterans are fed up with Zanu (PF). The party is full of looters and crooks. I am a victim of the June 2008 elections violence and still live in fear. Even though we were living in peace following the formation of the inclusive government in February 2009, the ghost of violence and fear is returning. I have challenged them to finish me off, because I am already dead and useless”.

“These militia stole and killed my cattle because I am now a member of the MDC-T. My close relatives have gone away in fear of death. But I am prepared to die until sanity prevails in this country. If they are normal can they steal cattle and kill people like me, who is also a hero?”

“Now they have embarked on numerous meetings in this area where they force me to attend and contribute. They force me to carry supporters to their meetings using my Mazda F13 truck. They said I would influence other war veterans and few remaining Zanu (PF) supporters to join MDC-T. The people in the community respect me because of my war credentials. I am popular because I tell them the truth”.

“It is very painful that Zanu (PF) is in tatters because of their bad policies. This is not what our true cadres died for. The majority of us are suffering yet a few at the top are enjoying through our sweat, blood and tears. Look at me I have scars and wounds from the war and there are many like me. A person who fought a true war will never support Zanu (PF).”

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  1. Peter Macklyn

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