New wave of torture

Political violence is rearing its ugly head in the dormitory town of Epworth, with suspected members of the Zanu (PF) youth militia, Chipangano, unleashing a wave of terror against members of the MDC.

Chipangano has declared some areas in the dormitory town no go areas for MDC supporters and has also set up torture bases – a development reminiscent of the bloody 2008 elections. Senior Zanu (PF) members with interests in contesting in Epworth at the next elections are said to be behind the wave of terror.

The Zimbabwean spoke to some of the victims of the violence who were captured and tortured in August for being perceived opponents of President Robert Mugabe.

They narrated their ordeal at the hands of the ruthless Chipangano militia and said they were now living in fear as the Zanu (PF) youths had vowed to exterminate them.

Two of the victims, Bolden Nhika, the MDC-T Vice Organizing Secretary for Youths in Ward 2, and Petros Makaza claimed that a soldier with the Presidential Guard, identified as William Makurumidze, was behind the violence.

They claimed that Makurumidze confronted them at a nightclub in Munyuki Shopping Centre and demanded that they remove the MDC-T regalia they were wearing while enjoying their drinks.

“He also took our beer saying he was punishing us for supporting Morgan Tsvangirai. We refused and he told us he would punish us. The next morning he came to our home in the company of a police officer in uniform. They were accompanied by seven other militia members wearing civilian clothes and soldiers’ boots,” said Nhika. “They put us into a white B1600 vehicle and told us they were taking us to Chipangano. Makurumidze even swore that we were going to die in Mbare and boasted about the ruthlessness of the group. In Mbare, we were taken to Zanu (PF)’s Mbare 3 offices where some Chipangano youths were waiting for us,” added Nhika. He and Makaza said the youths spread burning plastic over their bodies while beating them using iron rods, fists and boots. The pair spent the day and night at the Zanu (PF) Mbare offices and were handed over to the Mbare police station the next morning where Makurumidze changed his statement and reported that the pair had stolen from him.

“They were singing Nyama yekugocha (Meat for braai) as they beat us up and took turns to assault us at their Mbare offices,” Said Makaza, adding that the soldier lied to the police that they had been beaten up by an angry mob.

Makurumidze, who was the complainant in the matter, did not making any follow-up with the police, resulting in the continued detention of the pair. He eventually came after being called by the police and the matter was referred to the courts on 15 August where they were given $30 bail each.

They continued to receive threats after their release. Another MDC activist, Samson Muripo, revealed how he was severely tortured at a Zanu (PF) base in Ward 2 Epworth after being kidnapped while driving his car in the area.

He was hijacked during the Heroes holiday and taken to the base, where he was severely tortured with iron bars and logs. “They told me I was not supposed to be walking in the area since it was reserved for Zanu (PF) supporters only. Right now, I have a difficulty in walking as I was severely assaulted on the leg with an iron bar. Since then, I have received numerous threats on my life from the Zanu (PF) activists,” said Muripo. His right foot is now gangrenous and he fears that it might be amputated.

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