Thursday, May 15, 2008

Violence Continues

It's hard to know what to write about the situation in Zimbabwe, except that it seems to get worse daily. There will be a run-off election for President. Normally this should happen within 21 days but the government has extended the deadline to 90 days, in an obvious attempt to intimidate those who voted for the opposition to support the ruling party. You can read more about it here.

Below is another article from the Zimbabwean that I found interesting:

Gukurahundi commander terrorizes Manicaland

The ZimbabweanTuesday,
13 May 2008 20:14..

Air Marshal Perence Shiri, the head of the Zimbabwe Air Force, isdirecting a terror campaign in Manicaland whose carnage so far involves seven shut-down schools , smoldering huts, hundreds internally displaced and at least three killed.

Reports from Manicaland this week spoke of a door-to-door campaign bymarauding Zanu (PF) thugs, war veterans and troops, other gun-toting troops lounging around bars and shops, in the villages and at schools, spearheading a purge of the province of all MDC activists.Shiri, who has taken temporary residence in Manicaland, where he is booked in at the serene La Rochelle Gardens in Penhalonga, is commanding the joint operation that also involves senior police and army officials.The teams deployed across Manicaland have been mandated with ensuring that Mugabe wins the impending presidential election run off by any meansnecessary.

This is not the first time that Shiri has been called to defend Mugabeagainst threats to his rule.Shortly after independence in 1980, Shiri was chosen to head thenotorious Fifth Brigade of the Zimbabwean National Army which, between 1982and 1987, slaughtered up to 20,000 men, women and children in Matabeleland,the area of the country populated by the Ndebele people.He is now in charge of "operations" in Manicaland, a province whichvoted overwhelmingly against Zanu (PF) in the March 29 poll. Senior Zanu(PF) officials suffered their heaviest losses in Manicaland, where formerministers such as Joseph Made, Patrick Chinamasa, Oppah Muchinguri, ChrisMushowe and former deputy Speaker Kumbirai Kangai lost their seats.The province also voted overwhelmingly against Mugabe, according tovoting figures, reflecting a massive shift in allegiance from a provincethat has loyally supported Zanu (PF) and Mugabe to MDC and its leader MorganTsvangirai.

The deployed troops and the Zanu (PF) militia are beating hard on thedrums of confrontation, taking on all opponents of Mugabe and Zanu (PF) thatpose a threat to the veteran ruler's electoral victory in the crunch runoff. Two-week long investigations have revealed that the operation is beingspearheaded by Retired Brigadier Zambara in Mutasa Central, Colonel Masamvuin Nyanga, and Col Romeo Machinguma in Makoni West.There is also Col Matuvhunye and Brigadier Mandama, jointly headingoperations in Musikavanhu; Col Morgan Mzilikazi in Buhera, and the former Harare Central Law and Order chief, Senior Assistant CommissionerMusarashana Mavhunda, heading the Chipinge operation. Mabhunda is ironically a member of the ZAOGA church, yet he is notorious for torturing opposition activists. The Zimbabwean heard that by far the most gruesome of these teams is the one assigned to Makoni South. This team comprises former CIO bossShadreck Chipanga, Senior Assistant Commissioner Pfumvuti and Wing CommanderMandeya.In Makoni South seven schools have been shutdown over the past one week by the terror troops after headmasters and teachers were first manhandled by the goon squad.

The Zimbabwean can reveal that in Makoni South, Chakuma Priimary School has been shut down. The headmaster, Jethro Manyani was first assaulted on allegations he was an MDC activist and then forced to shut the school and flee.Pupils have missed class since last week. Chikobvore Primary School has also been shut down and the headmaster, only identified as Duma, beaten up. Teacher Chipadzwa's car has also been burnt by the terror squad loyal toMugabe. Other schools that have been shut down in Makoni South by the Zanu(PF) terror troops include Mutungagore Secondary School, Zambuko PrimarySchool, Handina Secondary School, Makumba Secondary School and Zembera Primary School.Across the provinces, violence has escalated sharply.

The newly-elected MDC MP for Mutasa Central, Trevor Saruwaka remainedin police custody on Tuesday following his arrest on Monday after visiting Penhalonga Police Station to inquire about the arrest of an MDC activist.The activist had been abducted by war veterans and soldiers because hewas wearing an MDC T-shirt, brutalised, before he was handed to the police.When the new area MP Saruwaka visited the police station inquiring about the MDC youth's whereabouts, the member-in-charge, Assistant Inspector Goronga, was ordered by Col Masamvu to detain the legislator on charges of inciting violence."We now have a situation where people sleep out in the open becausethey fear spending the night at their homes," said Reverend Stephen Maengamhuru, the regional official from human rights group ZimRights.

MDC Manicaland spokesman Pishai Muchauraya told The Zimbabwean thatthe level of brutality was shocking and said people were fleeing their homesin numbers."It's a big problem we are having," he said. "It's a campaign of retribution."Across the Mozambican border, officials are struggling to cope withthe huge number of people fleeing the violence."There is a massive exodus of Zimbabweans going into Mozambique,"Mozambican immigration official Boste Marizane told journalists in ManicaTown, about 25km east of Mutare. "What is happening is that these days thereare lots of people crossing to Mozambique who do not return," he said.