'Gukurahundi victim suffers brain damage'

BULAWAYO - Charles Thomas, a 45-year-old Gukurahundi victim — who suffered head injuries during the 90s massacre — should undergo a brain scan, a government doctor has ordered.

Thomas, a member of Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF) who is facing treason charges together with Paul Siwela and John Gazi for calling for the secession of Matabeleland region from Zimbabwe, was last week instructed by his doctors to go for a brain scan.

He claims his brain was damaged from head injuries he sustained after beatings by 5th Brigade soldiers in 1984 during the Gukurahundi genocide.

According to a report from Dr Chigu of Mpilo Hospital seen by the Daily News, Thomas sustained a deep cut on the back of his head. He has been instructed to go for a computerised tomography (CT) scan to ascertain the extent of his brain damage. Thomas currently suffers from continuous headaches which the doctor said was consistent with head injuries.

“The brain damage might have led to a trauma,” wrote Dr Chigu in his report.

It costs $500 for a CT scan at the privately-owned X-Ray GM Diagnostic Centre in Bulawayo.

Thomas says in August 1984, they were rounded up by a group of 5th Brigade soldiers in rural Umzingwane in Matabeleland South and beaten thoroughly before they were dumped at Bhalagwe in Kezi.

“I was 16 years by then and the soldiers rounded us up whilst we were looking after cattle,” Thomas told the Daily News. “We were being accused of hiding information on the whereabouts of dissidents.”

Over 20 000 people were slaughtered by the notorious 5th Brigade army unit whilst some were thrown into disused mines. President Robert Mugabe has described the crackdown epoch as “a moment of madness.”

Thomas, together with Siwela and Gazi, who are also members MLF, were arrested in March 2011 in different locations of Bulawayo and charged with treason after they were found distributing MLF flyers calling for the separation of Matabeleland region from the whole of Zimbabwe.

They are currently on bail and waiting for a High Court judgment on the matter.

Thomas’ lawyer Sindiso Mazibisa is representing him in the treason case. - Pindai Dube

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