November 2004

You often hear those of us in the MDC talking about 400 politically inspired murders of MDC activists since 2000. Not one of these has been investigated or prosecuted in the past 4 years. You would have also heard about our taking 38 of the 62 Zanu PF victories in the June 2000 elections to Court, asking that they be set aside on the grounds of violence and intimidation as well as various forms of electoral fraud.

It is so easy to pass over this information without appreciating what actually happened on the ground during these incidents. Here, in a chilling report based on Court documents, a South African news service catalogs what happened in Makoni in 2000. The news report also shows what Zanu PF does to one of their number who is guilty of murder. The use today, of this man as a SADC Observer of the elections in Namibia extends this gross mockery of everything that human decency stands for. Think of this young mans mother - let alone his comrades in the MDC who still weep for him.

This is just one of many such cases, what about the ones who have just disappeared? We have been looking for an activist who went home recently to visit his family. He was picked up at home in the rural areas, beaten so severely that when he was taken before a Magistrate, the Magistrate ordered him taken to a hospital. We have searched the hospitals in a 300 kilometre radius - there is no sign of him.

Just last week the Dutch Government issued a visa to Kumbirai Kangai - a Minister in Mugabe's government to enable him to attend an ACP/EU meeting in Europe. Once there, this man, with blood on his hands, will strut into the meeting to be greeted by the ignorant as a hero of some sort. We despair when a State known for its principles allows such things to happen on their soil. We need to stand firm on such issues, these guys are monsters who are destroying the country they control illegitimally.

Observer 'Zim violence veteran' 15/11/2004 15:25 - (SA)

Harare - A senior member of an African observer group monitoring Namibia's elections which began on Monday had his own election in Zimbabwe's 2000 polls annulled because of violent intimidation in his constituency, according to court records.

Shadreck Chipanga, a former director of Zimbabwe's notorious secret police, was identified by witnesses as being at the wheel of a pick-up truck carrying ruling party supporters who disembowelled a young man on the bonnet of the vehicle for having opposition pamphlets during the run-up to the violence-wracked 2000 parliamentary elections, according to a judgement in the case.

Zimbabwe's state-controlled daily Herald reported on Thursday that Chipanga had been appointed as one of two deputy chairs of the observer delegation of the parliamentary forum of the Southern African Development Committee, the 14-nation regional political bloc, to the two-day elections in Namibia.

Appointed deputy minister
In October last year, high court judge Paddington Garwe ruled that the attack was sufficient to order the cancellation of the election result in the constituency of Makoni East about 180km east of Harare. Chipanga won by fewer than 100 votes. However, he has remained in his seat and last year was appointed by President Robert Mugabe to be deputy minister of home affairs.

An appeal by Chipanga against the ruling was noted, said Sheila Jarvis, lawyer for Nicholas Mudzengerere, who stood against the former director of the CIA. Nothing has happened since then. The hearing took place in 2001 and it took Garwe, the head of the high court, two years to come to a decision.

The court heard that Francis Chigonzo and a friend were walking home from work in the constituency shortly before the elections when they stopped to pick up election leaflets scattered on the road by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). A pick-up truck loaded with supporters of Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party stopped and seized them, ramming the head of one of the two young men under one of the vehicle's wheels and making as if they were about to drive forward.

Man's stomach slit open
Chigonzo, 23, told the court that Chipanga was the driver. The other young man was allowed to flee while Chigonzo was then pinioned on the bonnet of the truck and Chipanga's campaign manager slit open his stomach with a knife. They drove off, leaving him for dead. The young man pushed his entrails back into his stomach and walked to the nearest clinic, the court heard. He was able to give evidence in the case, but died of his wounds soon after. Chipanga told the court he gave Chigonzo's mother ZIM$500 (about US$3) for medical expenses.

The constituency is one of 38 that the MDC challenged after the 2000 election, but only a small proportion of the cases have been heard. -

16th November 2004