By Lance Guma
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MWENEZI – His first name means ‘the will of God’ but Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, the ZANU PF MP for Mwenezi East, led and participated in vicious acts of political violence in Zimbabwe that left dozens dead and hundreds displaced in his constituency.
According to a detailed dossier Bhasikiti moved around with a gang of ZANU PF militia who beat up and killed several MDC-T activists in the period April to June 2008.
Even with a coalition government in place, in March 2010 the MP was still setting up more torture bases to use to torment people.
When Morgan Tsvangirai and his party won the March 2008 parliamentary and presidential election, Basikiti and his gang were incensed.
With a presidential run-off engineered by ZANU PF, he went on a rampage that left homes destroyed, livestock killed and many perceived MDC-T activists maimed, killed and displaced.
Several MDC-T activists lost their lives at the hands of this MP. Most of the reported acts of aggression and brutal attacks in which Bhasikiti was directly involved, resulted in fatalities. Basikiti was rewarded for his brutality with a coveted seat on the ZANU PF supreme decision making, Politburo.
On the 14th June MDC-T activist Kennedy Dube was abducted from his home during the night and taken to a base in Maranda village. Those who witnessed the abduction said “ZANU PF youths tied his hands behind his back and beat him up whilst his family watched.” He was quizzed on why he supported the MDC-T.
Dube was detained for the whole night, forcing his family to file a report with the police. Also in detention with him was his friend Kennedy Mapuranga. When the police went to the base they “just asked some questions and were told that the two men were Basikiti’s prisoners and were to be released that day.”
Aware that this was a state sanctioned abduction and torture session the police left and never reported back to the family. It was also noted by witnesses that Basikiti visited the base the following morning and his two prisoners were subjected to intensive questioning, followed by severe beatings.
Dube and Mapuranga eventually succumbed to the torture and died at the base on the morning of June 14, 2008. The base was hastily abandoned and the corpses were collected by the police. No arrests were made.
The murderous rampage continued a few days later on the 17th June when ZANU PF youths, dressed in green youth militia uniforms, beat up a teacher known as Muguni at the Neshuro Business centre. They pounded him with booted feet, fists and baton sticks while asking him why he had campaigned for the MDC-T.
The assault continued for some time and only stopped when Muguni ceased screaming and was motionless. People who had seen it happening rushed to assist Muguni, but he was dead. Basikiti picked up the gang members using his party truck and drove off at high speed from the centre.
On the 23rd June Bhasikiti and his mob were travelling in a convoy of cars while celebrating the decision by Tsvangirai to withdraw from the presidential run-off due to the violence.
They attacked MDC-T activist Stanley Mapuranga, viciously assaulting him at Maranda Village “using every type of weapon they could lay their hands on”.
Within a few moments Mapuranga was lying in a pool of blood. With the gang having left, his relatives tried to help him but he was already dead.
“Those present when he was buried noted that his body was so badly damaged that it was difficult to handle. Reportedly all the bones in his body had been broken,” a witness states in the dossier.
On the same day Bhasikiti and his gang attacked known MDC-T activist John Dube, because he was wearing his party t-shirt. They grabbed Dube and bundled him into one of the trucks. “They never drove away from the shops but stood in a circle around the truck and it appeared Basikiti was issuing some instructions.”
Without warning the gang threw Dube out of the truck and started pelting him with stones, iron bars and an assortment of other weapons. He died during the assault which was directed by the MP. Bhasikiti and his gang drove off leaving Dube lying under a pile of stones, sticks and bricks.
Bhasikiti’s violence and intimidation didn’t stop there.
In March 2011, he moved around his constituency telling villagers to toe the ZANU PF line on the new constitution or be killed. In preparation for the constitutional outreach exercise he set up bases in the Maranda, Dinhe and Neshuro areas. He also declared Mwenezi a no-go area for the MDC-T.
Bhasikiti secured a landslide margin to win the Mwenezi East parliamentary seat, but only because he threatened to deny GMB and NGO food to anyone who didn’t vote for him. Because Mwenezi lies in ecological zone four, crop production is very poor.
With villagers surviving on handouts, Basikiti simply took advantage of their poverty.
The Zimbabwe Wall of Shame is constantly updated with new information. If you have any extra details or testimonies that need investigating or publishing contact this journalist via email [email protected] or follow him on twitter @LanceGuma