Through the Wire: Why Didymus Mutasa must be arrested ‘yesterday’

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By Lance Guma

Minister of State for Presidential Affairs (and Political Violence) Didymus Mutasa is desperately trying to cleanse himself of any blame for the tragic death of Christpowers Maisiri, the 12 year old boy from Headlands who died after the hut his family was sleeping in was burnt down.

Lance Guma
Lance Guma

We all knew Mutasa was lying when he initially mumbled something about the boy’s father Shepherd Maisiri and his family being Zanu PF members.

That bizarre claim later morphed into an even more bizarre one when Mutasa claimed that Shepherd Maisiri (an MDC-T official) was his ‘friend’.

It’s not the first time Mutasa has victimised Maisiri. I will get to that later.

Maisiri promptly set the record straight bluntly telling SW Radio Africa “All I can say is that he (Mutasa) is a mad man and needs to have his head examined. To say that he is my friend is a total joke. If he was…he should be here with me paying his condolences with the rest of the other people gathered here.”

It did not take a rocket scientist to establish that there would be no arrests. This is because all the people implicated in the murder, Gilbert Makura (Zanu PF district chairperson for Village 47), Isaac Dhogo (Dobo), Annah Mumbana and Tendai Gosho (Zanu PF district chairlady) all work for Mutasa the local MP.

So when the police announced that their investigations had determined that the fire in Headlands last week was a result of the explosion of tobacco chemicals and ammonium nitrate, only intellectual midgets were going to believe that. Our ZRP is not nicknamed the Zanu Republic Police for nothing?

This is the same police force on a nationwide campaign (on behalf of Zanu PF) to confiscate shortwave radios from people. The motivation is to deny many Zimbabweans especially in the rural areas alternative news and subject them to the hateful verbal sewage spewing from the Zanu PF controlled state media.

Police spokesperson Charity Charamba (most likely related to Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba) claimed there was no evidence of a petrol bomb on the scene. “There is (a) high probability that ammonium nitrate and tobacco chemicals exploded during the fire. No foul play is suspected,” she said.

Charamba decided to go the political route and attacked Maisiri saying he had lied that his house had been set on fire eight times in the past. She said only three cases were reported to the police. Can you believe this nonsense? Whether its 8 or 3 attacks is not important! His house has been attacked before!!!!!

The late army General Solomon Mujuru was burnt to death in a similar dubious fire and nearly 2 years down the line police investigations have not shed any light on what happened. Notice how within a week they have completed their investigations into the Maisiri case and concluded “No foul play is suspected.”

It’s not the first time Didymus Mutasa has victimised Maisiri
It’s not the first time Didymus Mutasa (pictured) has victimised Maisiri

Responding to Christpowers death Mutasa claimed “The MDC-T is afraid of me. They know that they will never win in my constituency. So they are working so hard to tarnish my image so that I can lose credibility. I never killed anyone, neither did I play a part in killing Christpowers.”

History repeats itself because we never pay attention the first time. Mutasa has in the past led violent political campaigns in his Headlands constituency and other parts of the country. As a former Minister responsible for the notorious Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) he has often used its agents.

In 2002 Mutasa shocked Zimbabweans when he blatantly said he would not care if 6 million people died because of food shortages, as the country would be better off with Zanu PF members only. During that time ZANU PF was notorious for politicising the distribution of food aid, especially in rural areas.

It’s also not the first time Mutasa has victimised Maisiri. MDC-T activist Shepherd Maisiri, a poor farmer in the Inyati Resettlement area, has suffered relentless persecution by Mutasa since 1999. In addition to being abducted and tortured, his homestead has been burnt down many times in the past 10 years.

The people assigned by Mutasa to carry out these abuses have been identified as Walter Rushambwa, Maxwell Chidzambwa, Punish Mhiripiri, Walter Mhepo (now deceased), Kainos Chidzambwa, Albert Makura, ZRP police Inspector Muchazorwa and Lovemore Manenji.

Christpowers was born in hiding “on a mountain” after his mother fled their homestead when it was burnt down on the 2nd of June 2000 by Mutasa’s thugs. According to Maisiri his heavily pregnant wife delivered Christpowers prematurely owing to the trauma of having to flee during the night.

In another incident Maisiri was put into a jute bag, bundled into Punish Mhiripiri’s truck and dumped in the Rusape Dam. He was only saved by fishermen laying their nets during that night.

On the 3rd January 2008, Maisiri was in Harare when he was again manhandled by two men who took him to a waiting car. To his surprise Mutasa was there and personally threatened him before driving off. Later that day a man and a woman followed Maisiri to Mbare Musika.

“They boarded the same bus with him to Mutare, where he was arrested on arrival, put into cells and released. The two people who had followed him from Harare were at the police station when he was released; Maisiri sensing danger managed to outmanoeuvre them and escaped to Mozambique that same night.”

Mutasa’s thugs however were not done with Maisiri. With the MDC-T activist hiding in Mozambique, one of the thugs, identified as Lovemore Manenji, raped Maisiri’s wife on the 23rd June 2008 as punishment ‘for hiding her husband.’

On the 22nd May 2008 another activist, Taurayi Kamuchira, was abducted by ZANU PF militia under instruction from Mutasa. They took him to Chinyamukamani base where youths led by Phillip Mushayi assaulted him with logs, iron bars and whips. Kamuchira died during the assault.

Philip Mushayi addressed the MDC-T activists detained at the base, telling them what had happened to Kamuchira was going to be their fate as well. He said Mutasa had given them authority to kill anyone who supported MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai so they were safe from arrest.

On the 25th June 2008 armed youths deployed by Mutasa wreaked havoc in the Eagles Nest area of Headlands and were seen driving around in two vehicles, one of them reported to be Mutasa’s Toyota Venture.

Masitafundikera Gumura was attacked at his home by this gang after they accused him of leading MDC activities in that area. The attack was so ruthless that Gumura died during the assault. His wife Aquiline Sanzvengwa Gumura was also assaulted and sustained severe injuries all over her body.

She was taken to hospital the following morning but passed away on the 28th June 2008.

On the 25th June 2008, Mutasa’s gang also pounced on Robert Ziyengwa and his wife at their home in Headlands. The elderly couple was accused of supporting the MDC-T. The gang used pieces of wood, iron bars and gun butts to assault them. The beating was so severe the elderly couple also died.

In another incident on the same day residents in the Eagles Nest area were targeted by Mutasa’s gang, which included Zanu PF youths and CIO operatives. Defenceless villagers were killed in cold blood while the police refused to intervene. Some were beaten to death and others were stabbed.

Also killed was MDC activist Sandros Mandizha.

Didymus Mutasa has the blood of many people on his hands and in a new Zimbabwe, he will be one of many senior Zanu PF people that will be hauled before the courts and answer to charges of sanctioning the mass murder of hundreds of people in their constituencies.

To contact this journalist email [email protected]