Uzumba: A traumatised people in a 'free' country

HARARE - The floor remained intact, itself the only surviving evidence of a round hut that once stood there.

MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai sits down on the desolate floor, listening intently to the gory details from villagers of how it all happened some six years ago.

We are in Zanga village in Uzumba, Mashonaland East, some 120 kilometres north east of Harare.

Mashonaland East remains one of the most traumatised provinces where houses were burnt and people murdered, a place where the story is refusing to die; the story of how Zanu PF reacted with unprecedented violence to its defeat by the MDC in the March 2008 elections.

President Tsvangirai uncontrollably sheds a tear as he listens to the surviving orphans of how the very hut in which he sits was razed to the ground.

In hushed tones and tearful voices, the two boys explained how they lost their mother, Georgina Gogoda, who was callously murdered in that violence that destroyed the entire homestead.

On our way to this house, we had passed through another homestead where a father had been killed during the same senseless violence of 2008.

We spend the entire afternoon visiting other families who lost houses and their loved ones.

Recently, one late afternoon, president Tsvangirai wound down a hectic day by addressing MDC supporters at a homestead in Katiyo village, giving courage and hope to party members who still suffer the trauma and pain of that scourge of 2008.

Some had been killed, others beaten up and homes petrol-bombed as Robert Mugabe and his shock troopers violently swooped on a whole nation for voting for change.

Tsvangirai was in Uzumba to send one simple message: that the MDC had not forgotten the service and sacrifice of thousands of party supporters who lost loved ones and property in the needless violence of 2008.

He was in Uzumba to hand over building materials, including cement and roofing sheets to 10 families that had lost their homes in that dark moment of our country’s political history.

Peckson Kazingizi, who hails from Uzumba who was the MDC candidate in the last election, mobilised resources to enable these traumatised families to rebuild their homes and restore their dignity.

“The violence I have seen today leads one to ask the question: Is this the freedom we fought for in this country?” he asked party supporters in Katiyo after touring razed homes, traumatized families.

“The people of this area experienced the brutality of war during our struggle for independence but never budgeted that the independence would come without freedom, the freedom of political choice,” the MDC leader said, to thunderous applause.

“We are trying to make sure this does not happen again. I want to thank the son of this constituency for sourcing these building materials. I know that in 2008, Mashonaland East and Mash Central provided the highest numbers of those who sought refuge at (MDC headquarters in central Harare) Harvest House. We are here to show that we will not forget; that every struggle has its own heroes and you are the heroes of our democratic struggle.”

As we left the desolate community of Uzumba, it became clear that the villagers will not easily forget how those who purportedly brought them independence had denied basic freedoms to the people.

But Morgan Tsvangirai remains the true leader that he has always been. He is always among the people, sharing with them their fears and frustrations in this tortuous journey towards positive change and transformation.

I know only too well the natural chemistry Morgan Tsvangirai has with the brutalized people of this country and have, over the years, seen him showing his qualitative difference from other political leaders.

He simply cares.

On Friday, 27 June 2014,

I accompanied him to Chiweshe to commemorate that day when Robert Mugabe contested against himself and claimed to have won an election after killing over 200 MDC supporters, an election whose outcome was outrightly rejected by both Sadc and the AU.

As we drove back to Harare, I remembered our visit with the people’s leader to Chiweshe two months ago, spending a whole day with other MDC families that had lost loved ones in that murderous orgy in 2008.

The people’s mood in Uzumba was the same as the one we witnessed in Chiweshe some two months ago.

The spirits remain high among the people, despite the sad loss of lives and that unprecedented violence meted on their helpless communities.

In Uzumba, as in Chiweshe, the graves of Zanu PF violence reminded me of a morbid song I have heard so many times since the days I was growing up in the village at my rural home in Domboshava in the late 1970s.

Those in Zanu PF boldly still enjoy that song, with neither shame nor compunction; the song that says Zanu ndeyeropa (Zanu PF is for blood).

We are in no doubt of what they mean because from Matabeleland to Mashonaland, their legacy is a blood-soaked story of graves and a traumatised people punished for their political beliefs.

*Luke Tamborinyoka is the spokesperson to former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and the director of Information and Publicity in the MDC.

 

Comments (6)

Rambai makashinga ipapo Mhofu mongochenjera kurigwa neriva reZANU muvete modoita hope dzeruvhunambwa chaidzo nokuti mukavatisa aiwa munokandigwa ibwe nenyuchi dzaBonyongwe

MukarangawekuMberengwa - 7 September 2014

Indeed,ZANU PF ndeyeropa. Anyone with a different political view should be killed.Hence the murderous slogan,''PASI NA NHINGI.'' This has always been the ZANU PF way of doing things.Never mind the dying economy. ''PASI NEVASINGADI GWARA RE ZANU PF.''And that literally means killing a fellow black Zimbabwean.

ROPA NDIZVO - 8 September 2014

Mugabe is evil, period!

Bingo Wokwa Gutu - 8 September 2014

President Tsvangirai uncontrollably sheds a tear as he listens to the surviving orphans of how the very hut in which he sits was razed to the ground. In hushed tones and tearful voices, the two boys explained how they lost their mother, Georgina Gogoda, who was callously murdered in that violence that destroyed the entire homestead. After shedding the crocodile tears did Tsvangirai tell the boys that he could have stopped this ever happening again if he had implemented the reforms during the five years in the GNU? He did not implement any reform because he was too busy gallivanting all over the world and chasing women of ill repute. He is back in Uzumba and shedding the crocodile tears because he misses the gravy train life of the GNU days and will shed a bucketful of tears to get back on the gravy train.

Wilbert Mukori - 8 September 2014

This tour that Tsvangirai made to Uzumba should be commended, he has shown his true colours as a leader with people's concerns at heart. He did not make that trip to campaign for votes but to sympanthise with poor village people whose livelihoods were destroyed for simply having a different opinion. I can guarantee you that those villagers have not seen their Member of Parliament they 'voted' for since last year and will only set sight on him/her when talk of another election is in the air again. Heaven help us all.

Dr Know - 10 September 2014

“The violence I have seen today leads one to ask the question: Is this the freedom we fought for in this country?” he asked party supporters in Katiyo after touring razed homes, traumatized families. This is deception. ".....the freedom we fought for in this country....' is not a phrase some people with documented cowardice are qualified to say. Why stock up emotions with falsehoods. Where did they fight for freedom? How? When? To be honest,. this sucks

shame - 15 September 2014

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