Beaten with an Iron Bar
So much is going on right now that it is difficult to keep track. But
one incident stands out in the past two days - the fact that whilst
Police custody and under Police 'protection' one of our most able
Grace Kwinjeh, a single mom who is very active in the field of
rights, was severely beaten and at one stage a policeman took an iron
her head. She now has head injuries and has lost part of her ear.
Now an iron bar is not a weapon of interrogation, or intimidation, it
murder weapon, nothing less. When you pick up an iron bar and move to
someone on the head with it - your intention is to kill not maim.
Grace is a very determined and outspoken woman - but she is also an
Christian and young. I cannot think of anything she might have said or
to justify such an act.
Then you have to look at the case of Morgan Tsvangirai - he was not
arrested on the street. He and his PA went to the Machapisa Police
to ask what was happening to others who had been arrested in the prayer
march that morning. Both of them were then arrested and both have been
Morgan is 55 (birthday the day before), a quiet family man who is
his wife and children. I have never seen him, in 10 years, ever lose
temper or even get angry. He has a calm temperament and this could not
been more evident than the weekend before when he found himself barred
entering the City Hall in Bulawayo where he was scheduled to speak to
residents. He remonstrated with the Police details on duty, then turned
the many hundreds of people on the street and said they should disburse
not cause any trouble. We outnumbered the police by a 100 to 1. We
easily have taken them on - water cannon or not.
But this time he was not on the street; he was in a Police cell and in
hands. No crime committed, no charges laid, no violence at all at that
of the game. Just pure vindictive hatred of a man who has stood for
human and political rights and freedoms for most of his life. The only
in fact who offers any chance of an exit out of this Zanu led morass.
time they outnumbered him and the crowds, which normally follow him,
What did they do with the opportunity? Talk about the way forward? Talk
about the state of the economy and how difficult things were for
and their families?
No they just beat him until he fell unconscious on the floor, they did
three times and in the process they battered his body and his head so
when his wife went to see him, he could not see properly, could not
himself and was almost unrecognizable.
They did that despite the fact that they knew the whole world was
we have been headlined on the CNN, NBC, Sky and BBC for almost 48 hours
They did that despite the fact that everyone knows we are close to the
when Zanu PF will have no choice to speak to this man they were
What was the intention? They know he will not bend or go back on his
mission. They know that what they did will inflame the people even more
outside those Police cell walls. Do they want anarchy so they can
marshal law and abandon any pretext of government by consent of the
You must answer those questions because I cannot.
What I do know is that South Africa continues to behave in a totally
inexplicable manner. First they ignored the story altogether and then
the storm of worldwide outrage grew, they reluctantly allowed some
on the news. Even then the story was put together so badly I wondered
who was doing it - even today at 13.00 hours their coverage was
and badly put together - the faces of the presenters who are very
professiona,l told another story all on its own.
So far President Mbeki has yet to say a word. No comment from the
of Foreign Affairs. Just stony, inexplicable silence! Yet no country in
world has more responsibility for the situation here, no country in the
world has more to lose. Still silence. Only Tony Leon commented that he
could not understand why the South African President remained silent
crisis in Zimbabwe plummeted to new lows.
Maybe the guys in that Police cell with Morgan know that the end is in
sight; that their privileges and special status are all under threat
of this man in the cell with them? Maybe they thought they would not be
brought to justice and had total impunity. Maybe the senior political
figures responsible for this sort of thing - Mutasa, Gotche and
told them to go ahead - have fun and beat the daylights out of the
they would guarantee that there would be no investigation, no
even - perhaps a hefty reward.
Well I have news for them - we are keeping a list and one day soon,
will be justice for all the victims of this regime. As I write the
of Gift Tandare is underway in Harare. Early this morning the
opened fire with live ammunition on a crowd of mourners at the house.
injured two young MDC members in the process. What is this about the
live ammunition against defenseless, unarmed civilians? Are they crazy?
As for regional leaders - especially Mbeki, we hold them responsible
this situation. For 7 years they have sat on the sidelines and done
to defend the rights of ordinary Zimbabweans in the face of a tyranny
bit as evil as that which confronted the ANC in South Africa and the
and Zapu movements in Rhodesian days. They have connived and protected
tyranny so that it felt it was immune to global pressure and could do
it wanted inside the country - and get away with it. They have left
ordinary people of Zimbabwe to suffer, their only recourse being flight
Even now as we near the time when this Zanu PF led regime is about to
collapse in a heap, there is evidence that they seek, not a democratic
solution to our crisis, allowing the people here to determine who will
them out of this mess. But they work quietly (that is the meaning of
diplomacy') behind the scenes to engineer a 'reformed' Zanu
take over from Mugabe, who even they, now see as being at the end of
Bulawayo, 13th March 2007