Johane Masowe church releases dossier on ZPF killings
By Lance Guma
While attention has centered on how ZANU PF militants target members of the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai, SW Radio Africa has been supplied with a dossier compiled by members of the Johane Masowe WeChishanu Apostolic Church, detailing how their members have also been targeted in the last 3 years.
The document entitled ‘ZANU PF Terrorism Against Our Church’ describes how senior church members have been killed, tortured or assaulted, for not supporting ZANU PF. The church is thought to have over a million followers in Zimbabwe and is one of three influential apostolic sects drawing huge crowds to their services. This success has encouraged ZANU PF to try and gain supporters, by hook or crook.
The dossier details how a ZANU PF district leader known as Bonas wekuMazonde, tortured and then killed Prophet Partric of Machaya in Muzarabani. The prophet’s crime was that ZANU PF felt he was not opening up access to the church for the party, especially when they were holding their campaign meetings. The same thug beat to death the son of another church leader, known as Edson Nyamhunga.
Tendai Chiwimi was beaten to death, again in Machaya, Muzarabani and his fellow church members ‘banned from night prayers.’ The majority of the congregation fled and sought refuge in the urban centres. In May 2008 prophet Obey Mapuranga had his whole homestead burnt down in Muzarabani because ZANU PF militants accused him of being an ‘MDC traitor’. ZANU PF district youth leader Samson Kaerenga led the attack.
The militants have stopped at nothing to try to force church leaders to comply with their instructions. In Mukumbura for example, Prophet Wainege was beaten and badly tortured with burning plastic put on his back. They accused him of supporting the MDC and discouraging church members from attending ZANU PF meetings. Wainege was thrown out of his family home before it was burnt down.
Fingered in the attack were ZANU PF district leaders Alfa Kararira, Gohwo and Mapundu.
Surprisingly the children of some of the ZANU PF thugs joined in the violence. Prince Bvanya for example was stoned by the child of war vet Kararira.
In April 2008 a ZANU PF district leader, identified as Muparamoto, assaulted Fryrege, Grasuence and Craby at Chimbuwe Primary School in Mt Darwin. They had refused to attend a ZANU PF campaign meeting, citing church rules prohibiting them from participating in politics. All three were brutally assaulted and warned against going to church on a Friday, the same day that ZANU PF had its meetings. Their communal farming lands were also taken away.
In the Kaitano area (Mt Darwin), under Village Head Chipemvu, the church says Apostle Harrison Chimutsimhu was ‘beaten and tortured for going to church on a Friday instead of going to ZANU PF campaign meetings. Again a ZANU PF district leader, Erick Chipemvu, led the attacks. Another church member, Batsirai Gono, who used to work at the Cargil depot in Hoya, was beaten up and suffered a broken leg. Again he had also refused to attend campaign rallies.
ZANU PF provincial youth chairman Ringson Chinyere, Simeon Chinyere (ZANU PF ex-Detainees chairman), Rediot Kagodo, Christopher Kagodo, Chief Kasekete, Senator Manyeruke, and ZANU PF MP Mushore, were all fingered in the violence.
In Centenary, church leader Reuben Matiredza was chased away from his place of worship and hauled before the traditional Chief Nembire. They accused him of being an MDC supporter and not allowing his church followers to attend ZANU PF campaign meetings. They forced him to pay two cows and two goats, ordered him to vacate his place of worship and bring all his followers to a ZANU PF campaign meeting. ‘The case was taken to a provincial Magistrate’s court and the Vapositori won the case against the chief,’ the document said.
Although Mugabe’s party has met stiff resistance from the church leaders, one area where they met with success was Kasekete Village, Sohwe, in Muzarabani.
‘The whole church has been infiltrated and assimilated into ZANU PF. It has been turned into a ZANU PF district with all structures manned by church membership. All church members seen not to be cooperative were intimidated and tortured to comply. The intimidation continues and the whole church is now in the hands of ZANU PF,” the church said.
Even those who fled to Mozambique were hunted down there. SW Radio Africa was told how Prophet Temba in Mukumbura was forced out of his homestead in November 2007 for ‘not participating in ZANU PF hate campaigns and torture and beatings.’ He fled to Mozambique but ‘was followed up and threatened and reported to Mozambican authorities as a sell-out,’ the church said.
‘Ours is a struggle for freedom of our church from the draconian oppression of this Mugabe regime. We realise it’s a dragon beast that’s dragging our church with it to extinction. So we want to fight, and fight it we will,’ the church members vowed in the dossier released to us.
With elections around the corner Mugabe’s regime have made no secret of their plans to court supporters from the 5 million member strong apostolic sects. Mugabe pardoned convicted serial rapist, Madzibaba Godfrey Nzira, and deployed him to the Muzarabani District, in what is expected is the start of a national campaign to coerce members to support ZANU PF.
Meanwhile the MDC-T on Monday issued a statement saying their Deputy Local Government Secretary, Last Maengahama, was picked up in the morning by two unidentified men in plain clothes in the Harare city centre. His whereabouts remain unknown but ‘the party is making frantic efforts to locate him.’ By late evening party spokesman Nelson Chamisa said they had still not managed to locate him. SW Radio Africa