Army punishes five year old boy for father’s links with MDC-T

June 12, 2013 at 10:40 am Leave a comment

By Nomalanga Moyo

In a case of punishing children for the sins of their parents, a
five-year-old boy has been expelled from pre-school because of his father’s
support for the MDC-T.

The little boy, Enos Choga, was until last Wednesday a pre-schooler at army
base school 1 Commando Barracks which, by law, should accept all children
including those from civilian families.

According to the father — Kubvoruno Choga — Enos had settled well, made
friends, and always looked forward to playing with his friends at the
pre-school.

But that all changed following a chance encounter between Choga and a
soldier who recognised him as an MDC-T activist. Choga is also the party’s
secretary for Chirumanzu-Zibagwe district, in the Midlands.

“Recently I was taking Enos to school and I met this guy who is also a
member of the Zimbabwe National Army. I know him from Mudzi where I used to
live and was heavily involved in MDC-T activities,” Choga said.

Choga says he suspects that this soldier must have reported to his
superiors, leading to the summons and the interrogation last week by army
official Murakasha.

“For more than an hour I was quizzed about my place of birth, my parents,
what I do in life. I sensed that something was not right because these are
not questions that a member of a school development committee would ask a
parent.

“I told them the truth. But no sooner had I left the school that I got
another call from the same army official telling me to return the next day,
with passport-sized photos,” Choga said.

Suspecting that the interrogations would not stop until he revealed his
political affiliation, Choga then admitted to the officer that he was a
member of the MDC-T.

Shortly after that conversation, Choga says a pre-school matron telephoned
to say Enos had been expelled and that fees would be refunded.

“It is clear that my son was expelled as punishment for being the child of
an MDC-T office-bearer. The army just demonstrated that it is aligned to
ZANU PF and that is why it is important that the security sector is
reformed. The current set up within the army or police favours ZANU PF. This
has to change,” Choga said.

Choga told SW Radio Africa that since the incident and his refusal to return
to the barracks with his pictures, he has had to flee from his lodgings.

“I felt my family was no longer safe. Having experienced first-hand the
violent and murderous acts the army carried out in 2008, I decided to move
to another place as my home address was already known to the pre-school
authorities,” Choga added.

Army officials however denied that young Enos had been expelled, when
confronted by the NewsDay newspaper, which broke the story.

Murakasha told the paper that he just spoke to Enos’s father, while army
spokesman Alphios Makotore claimed the expulsion story is a lie being
peddled by mischief makers.

Until young Enos is offered a place at another pre-school in his new home
area, the boy will remain at home.

“Although I have started hunting for a new place, it is going to be
difficult to find a facility that will offer Enos a place in the middle of
the term,” Choga said.

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Stop Attacks on Journalists! ‘Attack on journalists exposes intolerance’

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