Ex-soldier narrates Zanu PF horror attack

HARARE - He might have dodged bullets during the war of independence in the 1970s and escaped enemy wrath — but retired brigadier general and former diplomat Agrippah Mutambara was last Sunday caught between the proverbial hard place and a rock — as Zanu PF youths aimed missiles at him while he struggled to swim.

“Too bad I am not a good swimmer” he said as he sat on the edge of his bed with a green gown and a towel wrapped around his waist.

In a scene that could easily pass for a movie clip while Mutambara was narrating his ordeal Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) leader Joice Mujuru, a former vice president and a war veteran of note, sat beside him with a puzzled expression.

The two were once high flying Zanu PF officials but now find themselves on the receiving end of supposed State-sponsored violence.

“Zvakaoma” Mujuru says with a heave all the while starring almost blankly at her legs probably lost in the gravity of the moment.

A battle-hardened soldier, who rose through the ranks to retire as a brigadier general, Mutambara is certainly no ordinary man and his etiquette attained during his spell as a diplomat is evident — but so is the pain and shock.

“They were about 200 people who were at the farm so we decided first to visit the police so that they could accompany us to the plot and rescue our colleague. We asked to see the officer-in-charge but he could not give us any assistance. A guy from the Central Intelligence also expressed concern but he could not convince the officer-in-charge.

“The roads were blocked by boulders and fallen trees, so we were travelling slowly as we had to remove those items first before proceeding. When we arrived at Obert Mutasa’s homestead the Zanu PF youths initially fled. We then told Mutasa to leave and he locked his door.”

While they set up camp at the ZPF activist’s home, the Zanu PF yobs helped themselves to his fowls and whatever edible they could get their hands on.

“While we were still there, I heard a gunshot and we immediately retreated to our parked vehicles, unfortunately there was a group that was coming from that direction so we changed and headed towards the dam,” said Mutambara.

Almost four decades after the country gained its independence  — Zimbabwe is still troubled by violence and partisan distribution of land, the vices are numerous and opposition parties oft point an accusing finger at the ruling party.

“We were trapped, on one side there was a dam and on the other side the youths were approaching. They were charging towards us throwing stones so we ran as fast as we could and plunged into the dam,” said Mutambara.

But with age taking its toll, the former agility of youth is long gone.

Mutambara said it was hard to outpace the charging youths “but by some grace of God we got into the dam before them”.

For a moment, Mutambara thought he could swim himself to safety and escape the stone-throwing Zanu PF supporters, but even in his paralysing fear he was aware that he was a “pathetic swimmer”.

“I am not a good swimmer so after looking at the distance to cross I decided that I would not take that risk. Unfortunately the water was deep and had it not been for the reeds we would have drowned,” said Mutambara.

Seeing their foes trapped, the Zanu PF youths allegedly sat the reeds on fire so as to flash out their enemies from the sanctuary of water.

“They started to burn the reeds and because they were dry, the fire was moving towards us very fast. To escape the fire we would submerge under water but the moment we emerged stones would rain on us,” he said.

Trapped with nowhere to run, the “general” and his comrades, with drenched clothes, had no choice but to surrender themselves to their “enemies”.

“They were hurling insults while beating us ... I was beaten all over the body and one of the guys suffered a broken hand, it was horrible,” said Mutambara.

As the sun was setting Mutambara recalled, the police officers, who had initially refused to accompany them, finally arrived.

“We were being forced to chant Zanu PF slogans but even before we were taken away, we saw someone giving the youths about $200 for a ‘job well-done’.

“When we were led away by the police, we were treated as criminals and after they had recorded our statements when we were leaving we were stopped at the gates. It appeared as if the officer-in-charge was taking instructions from somewhere,” said Mutambara.

Much to his shock and dismay, in his pain, Mutambara and his colleagues were detained at a private hospital in Bindura under the watchful eye of police officers.

“We were guarded 24/7, in my ward they was a policeman who slept right at the door, we were almost sent to jail because when the magistrate came to preside over the case while we were in hospital the prison warders were also in tow with leg irons and prison garb,” said Mutambara.

While Mujuru’s nom de guerre was Teurai ropa (Spill blood), Mutambara went by the moniker Cde Dragon, but it appears, at least to them that the ruling party is now bent on spilling blood of opponents and even past glories cannot shield them from the wrath to come.

Mujuru summed up her pent up frustrations when she described her erstwhile colleagues in Zanu PF as “satanic”.

“As People First, we are always against violence, it is sad that in this day and age we are still witnessing land grabs. There is no party that owns land in Zimbabwe; we all have a right to land. The government is there to serve the people,” said Mujuru.

“Those youths in Zanu PF actually need to be rescued from  what they are doing. We cannot have a leader who comes from the United Nations where they talk about democracy yet his party is beating up people, that is satanic, its demonic.”

Comments (4)

this incident is a typical example of how ZANU runs the country. First if you aint ZANU hauwane purazi if you were once a ZANU member and leave you risk your farm being taken away. Now brigadier you have felt the pain that the white farmers endured during hondo yeminda. Zanu is the most violent party in southern africa. They dont like sharing and the whole party is filled with extremists with the moderates either dead or afraid to voice their opinions.You dont listen to people you enrich yoself at the expense of us the people. You intimidate and employ violence against your enemies. You rig elections so tell me how can you be the peoples party when you terrorise the very same people whom you say you want to lead. Even during the liberation struggle the bruitallity of ZANLA and Seleous scouts was at par. Gukurahundi you killed people to initiate a one party state wich i thank the late Edgar Tekere for vehemently rejecting. Look at the people left in ZANU And someone tell me who is hopefull enough to lead the country out of the abyss that Mugabe put us in because of his sel;fish hate of the West wich he expexts everyone to hold. You want to turn us into ultra racists

NUTTY DREADLOCK - 3 October 2016

When you have a sitting govt that encourages violence from the top, even publicly declaring they have degrees in violence, then surely they are not fit to lead any organisation. However, people support that activity simply by mortgaging an entire future for the present desire of a car, a house or a farm. Such is the cruel nature of decisions we have to make in life.

Sagitarr - 3 October 2016

This is what this guys felt to address during their tenure of office when opposition were crying.

MPERG - 3 October 2016

The general must simply repeat what he did to Ian Smith. Narrating sorrowful stories will not benefit anyone anything. Yes they beat you because you are very silly. Why would you contrant a snake with bare hands. It will bite you. Get a log and confront the snake. Period

Danai Pazvagozha - 3 October 2016

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