Robotics major reluctant to return home, fears persecution

An outstanding Zimbabweans robotics major in Sweden is afraid to come back home to use his knowledge for the development of his motherland fearing persecution because of his links to the under-fire opposition MDC.



Cornelius Sagandira, an MDC activist who is nephew to the party’s
Makoni Central constituency top official Patrick Sagandira, told the
Daily News that he is fearful for his life in Zimbabwe.

“I was very young at the time when my family was heavily involved in
the opposition politics and naturally I would join other youths but I
unfortunately became a target of the Zanu PF youths as they attempted
to burn us alive in our home,” Cornelius said.

“I would love to come back home and work for my country but the mere
thought of it sends a chill down my spine because of what I
experienced. I had hoped that now (former president Robert) Mugabe is
gone, it should be safe but what I am seeing in the media regarding
the human rights situation there is not good,” said the Jönköping
University student.

“Only recently I heard that some party officials who supported my
uncle in the last elections before he lost the primary elections were
also kidnapped by unknown people and it is sad.

“On the 7th of March 2017 I went back to Zimbabwe to attend my
grandmother’s funeral in Nyanga and I had planned to stay in Zimbabwe
for three weeks but on the 10th of March when I was on my way to
Mutoko, I was attacked by Zanu PF youths.

“I was stabbed with a knife at the right-side armpit. Fortunately, I
managed to get in the car and left. I had to book a ticket to go back
to Sweden on the 12th of March because I was afraid of being killed.”

MDC spokesperson Jacob Mafume warned that it will be foolhardy for
Sagandira to come back hoping to see change.

“The situation is still as dire as the boy left and it would be unwise
for him to think that because Mugabe is gone then there is change
because it has become worse, restrictions are continuing,” Mafume
said.

Following Mugabe’s ouster in the November 2017 soft coup that saw the
ascendancy of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, most European countries
began to prepare to deport Zimbabweans on the assumption that things
had changed back home.

But Amnesty International, the International Crisis Group and the
Zimbabwe Restoration of Human Rights Organisation (ROHR)’s recent
reports show that authorities have maintained a brutal crackdown in
the wake of protests over fuel prices, with dozens of killings,
reports of rape by military personnel and widespread arbitrary arrests
and torture among other serious human rights violations.