Anniversary of the murder of Batanai Hadzidzi
On the 9th of April 2010, the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) will mark the 9th Anniversary of the brutal murder of Batanai Hadzidzi a Bachelor of Science first year student at the University of Zimbabwe.
Hadzizi was murdered in cold blood by a group of rogue riot police officers in his room at the University of Zimbabwe during a demonstration on the eve of 9 April 2001.
The demonstration started after a first year female student Tecla Tom, a Bachelor of Arts student committed suicide in her room at Swinton Halls of Residence after her boyfriend denied responsibility for her pregnancy.
The male students reacted in sympathy to Tecla’s death by launching anti NABA (Non Academic Bachelors Association) campaign to rid the institution of non-student male visitors and accused them of bringing wanton misery to the female students.
The riot police then descended at the university campus closing all emergency exit doors, firing tear gas canisters into the halls of residence and indiscriminately beating up students.
It was unfortunate that his door was unlocked and the police door to door operation started in his room. The police bashed him and realizing that he was either dead or critically injured, they watered him in an attempt to resuscitate him.
His body was ferried on a mattress as a stretcher bed and was taken to the trauma center where he was pronounced dead. The riot police later swindled the truth by falsely indicating that Hadzidzi had been trodden upon by fellow students in a stampede during the demonstration.
However, a post mortem was conducted and results read ‘’Asphyxia due to bilateral lung contusions and rib-cage soft tissue injustices caused by blunt force.’’
Marks of baton sticks were visible all over his body. This clearly showed that Batanai died because of severe beatings from the riot police and suffocation from teargas smoke.
Godfrey Macheka, a University of Zimbabwe security guard, who testified before a Harare Magistrate Courts at the hearing of the inquest into the death of Hadzidzi confessed that the riot police had indeed killed Hadzizi and had lied that Hadzidzi was trampled during a stampede.
During the testimony Macheka said he was present when a police officer brutally assaulted Hadzidzi with a truncheon and left him for dead. Testifying before Wilbert Mandinde, the magistrate, he said:
“I was asked by Mr Tarambiwa, my immediate boss, to explain what had happened to the student and my answer was that he was trampled on during a stampede. Why I said that is because I did not think anything serious was going to happen to him, so I was trying to cover up for my fellows- the police officers,’’Macheka said.
The Zimbabwe National Students Union demands that an independent commission of inquiry be established to revisit the Hadzidzi case and the culprits be brought to book for murder charges.
If the truth and reconciliation commission agenda is to be pursued in Zimbabwe, then the overzealous riot police officers involved in the murder of Hadzidzi should face the wrath of justice.
ZINASU reminds those responsible for this crime and other brutalities against student leaders that they may abandon responsibility but they will not elope to impunity.
We shall forever remain the vanguard of the wills and aspiration of the mass student’s community no matter the difficulties.
The fighting spirits of our fallen colleagues the likes of Batanai Hadzidzi, Learnmore Jongwe, Lameck Chemvura and Christopher Giwa shall always be a source of our collective inspiration.
Kudakwashe Chakabva, ZINASU National Spokesperson