2008 deaths worry MDC

July 22, 2011 at 7:42 am Leave a comment

By Godfrey Mtimba

MASVINGO – Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC in Masvingo says the
number of its activists dying from injuries sustained in political violence
dating back to 2008 has become a major worry.

Speaking to the Daily News following the death of Betty Zimoto, the party’s
former deputy chairperson of the provincial youth wing, MDC Masvingo
spokesperson Harrison Mudzuri said three years after the violent 2008
elections, the party continued to lose members from long-running injuries.

“The issue is becoming serious because every month we lose one or two
members since 2008 and this must be addressed at national level,” said
Mudzuri.

“We are increasingly becoming concerned at the rate at which our members are
losing their lives as a direct result of the injuries and wounds they
sustained in the 2008 violent presidential election run-off participated by
a single candidate Robert Mugabe after we pulled out our candidate,” said
Mudzuri.

Tsvangirai pulled out of the run-off citing gross violence that he said left
over 200 of his supporters dead, thousands injured and hundreds of thousands
displaced as Mugabe sought to overturn a first round loss to the former
trade unionist.

The violence forced the African Union (AU) to mandate Sadc to push for the
formation of a coalition government between Mugabe and Tsvangirai as well as
oversee a fresh free and fair election.

The AU decision was made at a summit in Egypt’s Sharm El Sheikh days after
Mugabe’s solo election and swearing-in.
Zimoto’s attack bears the hallmarks of the brutal 2008 violent days.

The MDC claims Zimoto (37) was abducted by suspected state security agents
in Masvingo city and was tortured and beaten before being dumped in the
gigantic Gonarezhou National Park.

Gonarezhou is infested with dangerous wild animals such as lions, elephants,
leopards and cheetahs.

She was, however, rescued by patrolling game rangers who untied her from a
tree after spending three days in the jungle.

Her death came barely two weeks after the party buried another official,
Kamurai Sarai in Chivi, who was allegedly abducted during the same period
and sustained internal injuries that he eventually succumbed to.

The MDC claims that it has lost over 100 activists in the province who were
victims of torture and assaults since 2008.

Mudzuri said the government should take up the matter and come up with a
solution to assist the victims and their families.

“There is need for some sort of reparations and justice. We are angered by
the fact that this national healing organ has done nothing to resolve this
issue which is contentious.

“Perpetrators of the violence are known and out there. They are walking scot
free yet they should be brought to book and face punishment,” he said.

“We are losing patience over the continued delay by the inclusive government
and its toothless national healing organ in dealing with victims of
political violence and the perpetrators,” read a joint statement by the
party’s provincial women’s assembly chairperson Judith Muzhavazhi and youth
secretary for information Arnold Batirai.

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