This is from a friend of mine born and raised in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). He is Anglo (British Colonial) and now lives in Portugal. His brother and other family members continue to hang on in Zimbabwe—a country that has turned into a very dangerous place for anyone anti-President Robert Mugabe (or anyone white).
Below is an e-mail from his sister in law. Although I do not know the people about whom she is writing, and some of the terminology and references do not have meaning for me, I found it to be a very compelling but sad account of what is really going on down there.
Years ago, President Mugabe was heralded by the world, including the U.S., for bringing democracy to the country. He even received an honorary knighthood in the UK. Sadly, he has turned what was once the breadbasket of Africa into anarchy and is hell-bent on doing whatever it takes to remain in power.
The email was obviously written in haste and under constant duress. I would have been horrified by the look on her face and the urgency with which she typed. I can hardly imagine them holding out any longer.
It has been quite a weekend. We were made very aware of impending problems on our Mount Carmel farm before it even started. Various letters came in as well as verbal warnings from concerned people all over the district. People were told that Mt. Carmel cattle and potatoes would be dished out to them.
The election campaign is being fought on “one hundred percent empowerment” ie. taking everything that belongs to people who are not black and giving it to Party faithfulls. The Party has got nothing else to offer the people…
People were told if they did not come they would be beaten. President Mugabe arrived in our little town of Chegutu that afternoon and people were only informed that morning.
Everyone had to suddenly go to his rally whether they wanted to or not. He apparently told the people that if the opposition got in it would be war. The unexpected Presidential rally must have thrown the organisation for the Mount Carmel “programme” [as it was referred to in a letter from one of the organisors.
That evening we only ended up with about 500 of the expected 1500 people that were to come. They were bussed in from all over on tractor trailors, lorries, car and busses. We even had one bus from Shamva hundreds of kms away.
The drums and chanting started soon after dark. Nearly fifty fires were lit all around. The leaders were waving guns around and had everyone doing their bidding. The chanting and sloganeering was military style - all in unison for hour after hour after hour all the way through the night. We could not sleep.
When dawn broke and the birds started to call the chanting broke into a noise that sounded like a terrible swarm of bees on the rampage. We knew that the beating had then started and we prayed. It turned out that anyone who they believed had been polling agents at polling stations was covered in cold water. We had frost that morning and it was cold.
They were then told to beat each other with sticks while the crowd egged them on. The noise went on for a few hours. Some of them had already run away. Those people will not vote; still less be polling agents in the next election because you have to vote in your own ward I understand and they are designating which polling station too so that they can check who you voted for.
They had been searched for any cell phones so that they not relay any atrocities on to anyone. They were told that they would be killed if information leaked out. Everyone is tight lipped about what went on. Today they go through the day mechanically with terror written all over them.
A neighbor, Marius Erasmus, drove past on the main road and was stopped at a road block that they had set up on our road. He managed to get through that but at the next one they put burning logs on his bonnet and tried to get into the car. A couple of hundred people came out from the pack shed where the indoctrination was taking place. He managed to reverse and turn around and get through the other road block taking some rocks on his windscreen and other places on the car.
Meantime Bruce [Laura's brother] had been at the Chegutu police station trying to get police out. We had been there on five occasions the previous week trying to tell Chief Inspector Gunyani and Inspector Manyota and Assistant Inspector Bupera of what was to take place. We had given two letters for the attention of the officer in charge, Chief Inspector Gunyani. Bruce waited for six hours at the police station but could not get a reaction to stop the beating and dismantle the road blocks. He saw Chief Inspector Gunyani, Inspector Manyota and Assistant Inspector Bupera amongst others. It is clear that they are under orders not to react.
Our electricity went down and both cell phone networks also ceased to operate. We were left with no communications and our way out onto the main road was sealed off by a road block. We prayed and read psalm 118.
Bruce eventually decided to come out himself. Miraculously, just before he arrived, the road blocks were dismantled and everyone disappeared. Shortly after the guards came to tell us of thieves in the maize – about 30 people were just helping themselves. We caught some of them and chased them off and recovered their booty.
That evening we got a call from Nettie Rogers who was very badly beaten up with her husband six weeks ago by Gilbert Moyo and his gang.
They had also had everything from their house and workshops stolen in that raid including even their clothes. Gilbert Moyo was taken into custody by police but was then let out again as a hit man. He “hit” Billy and Nova Nicholson in the area a few nights ago and they had half an hour to get out of their home and off their farm or end up the same way as Bruce and Nettie had. We do not know what has been looted there yet.
Bruce and Nettie were staying in a cottage on another farm when Gilbert Moyo arrived with thirty people and said he was taking the farm for Senator Madzongwe. They managed to get to the main homestead with the Etheredge brothers while I went to police with Dirk Visagie.
We spent an hour at the police station but they refused to react as it was an “issue of land.” I told them that disposession of ones home and assault of ones workers were matters that were important for them to deal with; but after Bruce’s six hours fruitless wait for a reaction that morning I knew we were wasting our time; and so we eventually proceeded to Stockdale to give whatever support we could.
As it happened an army Major by the name of Indora spoke to Gilbert Moyo and the Etheredges and Bruce Rogers eventually ended up transporting Moyo and his gang back to their base 20 km away on Ranwick farm in the early hours of the morning as the “hit” had not got official sanction. They got to a road block of 50 ZANU people on the main Concession Hill road but they were allowed through and back without incident.
Such road blocks are now common at night to stop observers and anyone from “outside” getting to any pungwes (night marches through towns which result in public execution for many of those unfortunate to be picked up) and seeing the atrocities that are taking place. A friend’s worker went to their rural area near to the Nyamapanda border post to see his elderly mother last month. In these areas any movement needs official sanction from the Party and written ZANU permits are even required to visit the next ward in many places. I have seen such permits.
The friends worker was stopped at a road block and had to wait 2 days to get someone to vouch for him. During that time 4 people who had not got anyone to vouch for them were asked if they wore long sleeves or short sleeves. The first replied “short sleeves”.They cut his right arm off at the top with an axe. The other three replied “long sleeves”. They cut each of their right hands off.He said that he saw the hands wriggling on the ground detached from their owners. Those hands can not vote any more. I have heard of many other hands like that.
It seemed macabre that Bruce who was so badly assaulted by Moyo 6 weeks ago was taking him back to “his” home scott free. Presumably all Bruce’s worldly possessions are now in that place that they took him to. Nettie asked Bruce to look out for their dog which also disappeared on the 6 May; but they most probably killed it. Bruce saw no evidence of it.
There appears to be no sign of any SADC observers out here. A friend said he had seen some sipping drinks and reading the newspapers in the Meikles hotel in Harare over the weekend. Voter registration goes on even now. The old people at Greenways Old Peoples home say they are now off the voter’s role but the ones that are dead are still on…
Meanwhile the atrocities go on at the all night pungwes and the people tremble with fear. I read that the observers are officially not allowed out after dark because their safety can not be guaranteed.
They need to defy that and get out and see with their own eyes these things if they care at all.
We ask you to pray and send brave people and peace keepers to stop the atrocities before they get even worse. Maybe I write this in vain; but I write this crying.
With love in Christ who is our Saviour whatever happens,
Here is another example from an email I received which explains more of the corruption involved in the election process.
Thought to share this, make you laugh, or cry?
Spoke to my family in Harare on Friday (the phone worked!!) and asked how things were on election day.
“Oh its great, mugabe made it a public holiday”
“So nobody could say they had to work and couldn’t vote”
You’re not going to vote when only mugabe is on the ticket?
“Of course, we all have to”
“Cos everybody is on the electoral roll, with their home address. If you dont get ticked off on the list of voters, then you are highlighting your name and address for his thugs to target you!!”
Such is democracy. Mugabe should get near 100%.
If you happen to come across this post, please forward it to some friends and spread the word about the atrocities committed by President Mugabe of Zimbabwe.