Madzore sees hope in darkness: Part II

HARARE - Madzore reveals how the local community and businesses such as Innscor were donating food stuffs to prisoners but alleged these were being hijacked by prison guards and other employees.

“Right from the officer-in-charge, the prison workers diverted cooking oil and other foods.

“Chikurubi guards were stealing cooking oil, sugar and bread meant for prisoners. The bread was known as gwangwata to prisoners because it was little but surprisingly Innscor was donating plenty.

“I think Innscor should monitor what is happening to the bread meant for prisoners.”

Prison is not a haven for the innocent and meek but the lanky, youth leader said he was humbled by the unity and love inmates he met.

He was incarcerated in a section that housed dangerous criminals such as armed robbers, murderers and rapists.

“I met three prisoners that belonged to Zanu PF and they were in custody for assaulting MDC supporters in 2008.

“One was actually in for murder. When I was about to go out one of the guys hugged me in a warm embrace that revealed that even if we were from opposite sides, we were brothers.

“One of the Zanu PF inmates made sure that I had aqua tablets in my water for purification.

“He would test my water to make sure that it had the tablets. He wanted to make sure that I remained healthy.

“Such was the love in prison; I wish it translates to the outside world, where people could tolerate one another.”

He met war veterans in custody both from Zanla and Zipra.

“One war veteran told me that he will die a Zanu PF member and I asked him how they survived bombings and live ammunition fired at them during the war of liberation and he told me that it was resilience and an idea of fighting for a purpose, for a revolution.

The war veteran then advised me that, ‘you are also fighting for a different kind of cause and you need resilience’.”

Being in prison is often referred as “doing time” in American lingo because of its abundance to the inmates.

Madzore indeed had lots of it.

“I had plenty of time on my hands. I would think deeply and I was in touch with myself. I found that prayer is very powerful. I would pray for my own well being and that of my family and my country.

“I was in touch with my inner self and my God. There are times when one can be stretched to the limit or to a breaking point while in prison but it was very few times that I got to this.

“I am naturally a strong character and like I said earlier, a human being adapts.”

Madzore, a university graduate in social sciences, wrote many articles while in prison.

“The wardens would actually encourage me to write on different subjects, it kept my mind busy.”

Reading also kept the young leader going.

He had three books in prison, Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela, At the Deep End by Morgan Tsvangirai and An Inconvenient Youth by one South African author.

“Mandela kept me going; it was as if I was detained with him. He travelled with me, as he said in the book, you do not need to panic know that freedom will come one day.”

It is funny how some domestic chores that are despised in good times can become a favourite past time in periods of adversity.

Madzore enjoyed washing his clothes in prison just like Mandela who also enjoyed doing this duty from his writings.

The MDC youth chief read censored newspapers while in prison.

“I subscribed to the Daily News, News Day, some weeklies and The Herald, just to get a picture of what was happening in the outside world.

“But the papers were not only censored, they were shredded and one would struggle to make sense of the news.

“I was happy at the news that the inclusive government was calling for tolerance and engaging in a non-violent campaign ahead of the elections.

“I was also happy with the news on the second all-stakeholders meeting that went without incident. I was disturbed by cases of violence reported in Mutoko and Midlands.

“On the international scene, I remember praying for Obama the night of USA elections and being very happy when he won.”

Madzore appeared a philosophical guy and this could have been heightened by his incarceration.

In one illustration he quoted a great Greek philosopher, Aristotle, who famously said he would “rather be free in death than to be shackled in pretext and lies”.

Aristotle took his life and Madzore said while he agreed with the great philosopher that there is no price too high for freedom, the youth leader did not believe in killing himself.

His face lit up when he started talking about the people he met in prison, how hardened prisoners came to him clandestinely and quizzed him on whether Tsvangirai would really rule the country and what the future held for Zimbabwe.

The father-of-two was not allowed to visit the crowded sections of prison where more than 300 prisoners were held in one hall.

“Prison guards feared that I would incite other prisoners.

“However, I had a chance of preaching democracy to the ones I met. The youngest prisoner I met was 12 years old and the oldest was 86 years old, both were charged with rape.”

This was the second time that Madzore was incarcerated. He was in prison for five months in 2007 for banditry and terrorism charges.

Like any other visionary leader, Madzore has grand plans for his constituency of youths and his political party.

“I want to make sure that there is going to be a lot of new faces in the coming elections.

“The youths have to lead from the front and they have to learn the job. Youths are going to be seen in different leadership positions but senators are not threatened of cause.”

Madzore said he is envisioning a situation where everyone will support Tsvangirai in the coming elections.
“I want a situation where everyone backs Tsvangirai for presidency. The elections are a chance for Zimbabwe to progress and anyone who is serious should vote Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai represents health and progress. You can see the future in his eyes; he represents hope for the country.”

Madzore alleged President Robert Mugabe lost elections and refused to leave the presidential seat.

“Mugabe refused to go and the mother of my plans is that we will not accept this madness again. If Mugabe tries this at this coming election he would have made a very grave mistake for the whole of Sadc. We will not allow a repeat of what happened in 2008.

“There is no high price to pay for our freedom even if it means that we will be incarcerated again at Chikurubi.

“If it means be free in death; so be it. We will ask Tsvangirai to walk alone to the state house if he wins these elections and some people try something (funny).”

The youthful leader does not fear guns. “Guns are not the most powerful thing.

“People are powerful because they can operate the gun. People shoot people so people are the ones powerful. I believe in people and the power of God guides us. We will not be pressured into submission.” - Margaret Chinowaita, Community Affairs Editor

*Continued from yesterday

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