This blog looks after the debates relating to that period of Zim History where our brothers and sisters in Midlands and Mandebeleland suffered under the yoke of ZANU-PF and its 5th Brigade etc. Refer: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 0791463039 RSA.
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PROF KEN MUFUKA CRITICALLY LOOKS AT THE ZIM CRISIS!
“................................The atrocities in Matabeleland started in 1981 and ended 1988. Only the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace raised the issue publicly.
My thesis in this paper is that these extra-judicial activities consumed the greater part of the Zimbabwean Government until 1998 to the exclusion of Economic Planning...............................................”
Prof Ken Mufuka.
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MOST HEATED DEBATE ON "GUKURAHUNDI" BY AFFECTED NDEBELE BROTHER!!!
SEE AMAI SALLY MUGABE, CDE BENARD CHIDZERO, DR J M NKOMO HIMSELF ETC!!!!
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Monday, September 3, 2007
Tracing the last days of Look-out Masuku!
sundayview by Judith Todd
IN mid-March, my parents invited the Shamuyariras to dinner. Halfway through, Nathan said: "Judy, I hope CIO is not still interfering with your mail?" I had to think on my feet, as it were, although I was sitting down.
What worried me was any possible fright to my mother, so I tried to pass his question off as a light-hearted matter and said: "Minister, I haven’t told my mother about this, but everything seems to have led to vastly improved relations with the CIO, and Mr Stannard and I are even due to have lunch with each other."
The minister seemed amused, and my mother and the two New Zealand visitors seemed unperturbed. I supposed, sitting warmly around the table, the possibility of the CIO opening my mail seemed unreal to everyone but the minister, my father and me. But of course, whatever I hoped, my mother would have known exactly what was happening. Her sensitivity was ultra acute.
Now and again, I thought I had reached the age and the condition when nothing was so bad that it could shock me. That particular thought was in my mind on Monday 24 March when Michelle Faul rang to say that we must meet, which we did high above Harare on the Meikles Hotel pool deck at lunch time. She worked for Associated Press and was a stringer for the BBC.
Four days earlier, Michelle had been instructed to meet Nathan Shamuyarira. She was told that "we" are tired of her reporting; she would have no further assistance from the ministry — which meant she would lose her accreditation. She couldn’t be deported, as she was a citizen by birth of Zimbabwe, so the only way to deal with her was detention at Chikurubi.
She was rightly very frightened, and at the same time ashamed of being scared. She was leaving Zimbabwe within the next 48 hours, deprived of her home, her right to work and, basically, of her citizenship.
After our painful lunch, I got back to the office to find a white woman of about 60 who asked if I could spare a few minutes. Between Michelle and now this lady, I realised that there were still things that could profoundly shock me.
She sat down, introducing herself as Margie Schwing, and although she never actually wept, she was on the verge of tears and struggling for control throughout the awful story she told me. She had been in Park Street in November, and all of a sudden was surrounded by five men who said they were from CIO and took her off to Harare Central police station. From there she was moved to Chikurubi Women’s Remand Section. She appeared once in a magistrate’s court and the CIO opposed bail because they said they were still investigating fraud.
From what Mrs Schwing said, it was CIO throughout, and not the fraud squad. She said she still didn’t know why she had been held. She was released at the end of February, suffering from pneumonia, and was taken to Parirenyatwa Hospital outpatients. Due to one of those strokes of good fortune, Mrs Schwing had been alone when a member of her church saw her and came to ask what was wrong. She was accompanied by two CIO agents, one of whom had gone to get her prescription filled, while the other had gone to the toilet.
The friend was extremely practical and whipped out a notebook, and took down the name and address of Mrs Schwing’s son, who apparently worked for Tabex in Malaysia, and then darted off before CIO reappeared.
The conditions she described were terrible: women not knowing of any rights they might have; beatings by wardresses; people having their hair torn out; a woman having teeth punched in; the use of hosepipes on prisoners by the wardresses; malnutrition among toddlers and babies picked up with their mothers. She said that on New Year’s Day as the women came out of the cell blocks, they each received a blow with a hosepipe and the accompanying greeting: "Happy New Year!"
Mrs Schwing also said something that I thought might be the truth of the matter, although she apologised for saying it, because, she said, it sounded so unreal. She had been at a party before her detention, and Simon Muzenda was there. He had been very nice to her, and introduced her to a lot of people. Mrs Schwing heard a young man, who seemed to stay close to her all the time at the party, saying to someone else: "It’s just not fair! I’m also in business. Why doesn’t Muzenda introduce me to all these people?"
So, she said, it may have all started with jealousy. To me, that didn’t sound unreal.
On Tuesday 1 March 1986, Lieutenant General Lookout Masuku and the veteran PF Zapu politician Vote Moyo were officially released from detention. As was the case under the Smith regime, the names of detainees could not be published, so there hadn’t been news of them in the papers for the four years they had been imprisoned in Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe. Now their freedom was headline news.
Lookout’s wife Gift managed to get permission for me to see him on Sunday 9 March from 3.30PM to 6PM at Parirenyatwa Hospital. There were four heavily armed soldiers outside his room. I sat down with them, and said I gathered they had a permit for me to see Masuku. They were perfectly pleasant and said that was fine, so I walked into the private ward.
Lookout was attached to two drips but sitting up in bed, and he gave a small scream when he saw me, jumped up and hugged me hard. The drips were suspended from a wheeled stand, so he was mobile.
There was no awkwardness. It was as if we had known each other for years and had seen each other yesterday. But the joy was precisely because we hadn’t seen each other for more than four years, and because it was so wonderful to see one another again. I couldn’t begin to fathom the hell of uncontrolled suffering he had been going through. There were some days he had no memory of, which was probably just as well. The full story would probably never unfold, but if it did, it would be bleak. For example, it turned out that the "specialist" the prison authorities had told his lawyer he had seen in December was neither a specialist nor even a registered doctor.
I wondered, too, about the doctor at Chikurubi. I had learned he was a Russian Jew on contract, that he had worked previously in Israel and that he was very timid. I wondered if he had ended up in his position because he had such good qualifications.
We talked non-stop, an interested guard listening in the corner, until after six, when the soldiers very reasonably asked me to leave, as visiting hours were over. That was sad, because we didn’t then think we would be seeing each other again in the foreseeable future.
I rang Gift the next day to thank her, and to say I’d had a wonderful time. Of course, "wonderful" was the wrong word. Lookout was skinny and his arms were very swollen from trying to find veins for the drips, and he was very, very sick. But he sat up all the time I was with him and was mentally as bright as a button. There was a heart-rending moment when he said: "But what of the future? When I went to prison I got high blood pressure. Then I got kidney troubles. Now I have this. What is going to happen to me next?
I said: "Oh Lookout!" as though, how could he ask such a question?
But he said: "No, Judy, I mean it. Let’s be practical about the whole thing."
I feared he was absolutely right. I had been consulting Professor Noel Galen, who was very gloomy about Lookout’s future.
Late on Monday night I returned a call from Gift.
"Have you heard anything?" she asked.
I said I had heard a rumour that Lookout was to be released. She said it was true. I said: "How do you know? Who told you? Is there a piece of paper?"
She laughed and said the fact that she was telling me meant that it was true.
She travelled up the next day from Bulawayo, and I spent half an hour with her and Lookout at Parirenyatwa. As he was now a free man, no permits were required to see him and the armed guards had been withdrawn.
At about six that Tuesday evening, an unknown man walked in and stood by the bed. Lookout was polite but cool. I kept thinking, what an odd doctor. He didn’t ask how Lookout was feeling — he just kept informing him that he would be seeing him again, the next night, in hospital, in Bulawayo.
When he left, they simultaneously said: "CIO." Then I remembered him.
*Excerpt from Judith Todd’s latest book, Through the Darkness; A Life in Zimbabwe, available from www.zebrapress.co.za.