The Sunday Mail
Retired Major Action Mandingo
A few weeks ago, I wrote an article warning that “let’s get ready for a crazy season of drama and outright lies” as elections beckon.
Some thought I was exaggerating the situation on the ground, while others whispered that I was a reckless alarmist.
About two weeks after I wrote the article, Zimbabweans were shocked and disgusted to see a video of some people in Murewa, Mashonaland East, being beaten by some hoodlums.
In the video, some people could be seen assaulting both women and men at a homestead in Murewa.
The video, which went viral, was nauseating, to say the least.
Now hear this: Before anyone had reported the matter to the police, before anyone had positively identified the perpetrators and before the police had started investigations, opposition supporters and the privately owned media had already concluded that the perpetrators were what they called “ZANU PF thugs”.
This is the drama I was referring to about two weeks ago.
And, guess what? Let us brace ourselves for more of this drama.
The ZANU PF Mashonaland East province chairperson, Cde Daniel Garwe, quickly disowned the perpetrators.
“Apart from the disgusting physical abuse captured in the video, the province is disturbed by allegations that the perpetrators are ZANU PF members acting on behalf of unidentified bosses. The province hereby distances itself from the individuals in the video. They are neither members of ZANU PF Mashonaland East province nor any known affiliate and were clearly hired to further nefarious agendas, including soiling the image of His Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the Second Republic,” said Cde Garwe.
Police moved in swiftly.
First to be arrested over the issue was Never Chimutashu (67), then followed by Paul Kachigu (34) and Dignity Nadzo (31).
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said investigations were still in progress.
As police investigations continue, people are asking pertinent questions: Why did the victims not report the case to the police? Why did those who recorded the video not report the matter to the police? Why did the relatives or neighbours of the victims not report the case to the police?
Something smells fishy, but we leave the police to conduct their investigations.
Just when we thought the drama was over, CCC has taken the drama to another level.
As they say, fools know no bounds!
Reports say CCC leaders surreptitiously spirited witnesses involved in the case from their homes, even before police interviewed them, a move that is raising a lot of suspicion.
Some people are speculating that CCC leaders could either be coaching the victims or trying to hide the truth.
The CCC leaders have even blocked journalists from interviewing the victims.
One anti-Government online newspaper, “NewsHawks”, which is known to be pro-Chamisa, has come out in the open, attacking CCC for frustrating efforts to interview the victims.
“While the Murewa political violence case has been widely condemned by various voices – including ZANU PF – the opposition CCC is preventing journalists from interviewing victims of the brutality to expose perpetrators. Victims want to talk, but CCC claims it’s unsafe.
“Since the beginning of the week, CCC brought the elderly victims to Harare for medical attention, but has been stonewalling journalists, implausibly claiming security and other dubious reasons. They claim if they are interviewed and expose the perpetrators, they would be at risk.
“While victims need to be protected, it is equally important to interview them to know what actually happened; who the perpetrators are. A balance must be struck between interviewing and protecting them. Failure to expose perpetrators is also a way of worsening victims’ plight. We tried to interview them; they are willing, but their keepers are raising safety claims, but a balance is needed on this . . . ,” said “NewsHawks”.
Now, if this anti-Government online newspaper can be so brazen in its attack of CCC, then, surely, there is every reason to suspect that there is more to the Murewa violence than meets the eye.
Good people, let me repeat — let us brace for more drama.
The madness is just beginning.
Desperate people can and will do anything.
Why is the CCC leadership hiding the victims? Why are they silencing the victims if they want to speak out?
Soon, we shall know who is behind all this madness.
Big brother has eyes and ears everywhere, and in such cases, Big Brother never disappoints.
As I watched the disgusting video, it reminded me of the interview I once had with one of my dear comrades, Cde Constantine Mabuya, whose Chimurenga name was Cde Kenny Ridzai.
Damn! I miss this dear comrade of mine.
Cde Ridzai told me that during the liberation struggle, before military training, the comrades received political orientation.
During political orientation, they were saturated with Mao Zedong’s teachings.
One of Mao’s teachings was that during a guerrilla war, the people (masses/povo) were like water, while the freedom fighters were the fish.
Mao was trying to emphasise that during such a war, freedom fighters could not survive without the masses, just as fish cannot survive without water.
To bring Mao’s teachings to life, Cde Ridzai narrated one incident during the liberation struggle when, after a fierce battle with Rhodesian forces, he lost contact with his comrades and decided to walk back to the rear in Zambia.
As he walked back, he said the masses helped him a lot.
A few kilometres from the border, he discovered that Rhodesian forces were on patrol, so, he could not cross back to Lusaka.
He then went to Chief Makuni’s homestead, which was a few kilometres from the border.
Chief Makuni, who was a strong supporter of the war, adopted him as one of his biological sons.
He stayed at this homestead for almost two months, trying to figure out how he could cross the border.
“Without the masses, it was going to be very difficult to win the war. My story is just one example which shows the crucial role that the masses played during the war,” Cde Ridzai told me about six years ago.
For those who do not know, Cde Ridzai was among the first group of freedom fighters to enter Rhodesia in 1972.
When he joined the liberation struggle in Lusaka, he was welcomed by comrades like Felix Rice Santana and Benard Mutumwa.
When he was deployed to the warfront, Cde Kenneth Gwindingwi was the overall commander.
In his group, there were veteran fighters like Cde James Bond, Kid Marongorongo, Mabhonzo, George Rutanhire and, of course, Cde Vhuu.
Rest in peace, dear comrades!
As I watched the gruesome video, I asked myself: With this history, where freedom fighters knew the important role the masses played during the war, what were the chances that those perpetrators were ZANU PF supporters?
ZANU PF supporters know the crucial role the masses in rural areas played during the war.
How then can they turn around and terrorise villagers like that?
Something tells me ZANU PF supporters would never do that.
Anyway, like I said, big brother is at work.
We shall soon know the truth.
However, I have to be very bold – the Murewa case is a big warning to ZANU PF.
More is coming and all security systems should be alert.
Chamisa and his structure-less and ideologically bankrupt CCC have nothing to tell the electorate in the forthcoming elections.
Their manifesto will be anchored in mere promises and lies.
On the other hand, ZANU PF has a lot to not only talk about but also to show the electorate.
The Harare-Beitbridge road is there for everyone to see. Lake Gwayi-Shangani is there for everyone to see. The Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport is there for everyone to see. The growth of the economy is there for everyone to see.
I could go on and on, but this is an exciting story for another day.
During the war, our commanders would say “Vigilance! Vigilance! Vigilance macomrades!”
ZANU PF, beware!