By Lance Guma
Christopher Hatikure Mutsvangwa, the former director of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) unleashed a reign of terror in the Norton constituency after losing to a little known MDC-T candidate in 2008. Several opposition activists died at the hands of terror mobs he personally directed.
In SW Radio Africa’s continuing exposé of individuals behind some of the most brutal acts of political violence in Zimbabwe, we focus on Mutsvangwa who was then the ZANU PF parliamentary candidate for Norton. As a former agent in the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) it came as no surprise that 60 percent of the reported cases of violence and murder were committed by CIO agents.
A dossier supplied to SW Radio Africa, containing detailed witness testimonies, alleges that in August 2009 Mutsvangwa was behind the shooting and killing of Costa Matete and two other people in Highlands. The widow of one of the victims has since filed a law suit against Mutsvangwa for the cold blooded murder of her husband.
Although the widow claims that the murder was politically motivated, Mutsvangwa claims the trio robbed his wife. Saliwe Nduna, widow of Costa Matete, is suing the police, alleging that her husband was killed by detectives to hide evidence of an illegal diamond deal involving Mutsvangwa.
Meanwhile, on the 1st of May 2008 Gibson Nyandoro, a war vet who had fallen out with his colleagues, began openly campaigning for the MDC-T. Furious at this defection the local ZANU PF leadership summoned him to a kangaroo court chaired by Mutsvangwa. They warned Nyandoro about his links with the MDC-T but he refused to be intimidated and continued campaigning for the party.
“Two weeks later Gibson Nyandoro was reported missing by his relatives and his body was discovered floating in a local dam a few days later,” the dossier says.
And then, on the 12th June 2008, Mutsvangwa addressed ZANU PF militia teams at the local community hall. During the evening a group of youths including Oliver Tembo, Ian Kazungu, Wilson Asau and Adas Kudiwapfava, all accompanied by local CIO agents abducted Moses Mutandwa and took him to the hall where he was heavily assaulted with sticks under the feet and all over the body.
Mutandwa was detained at the hall for two days after which he was released together with other detainees, but only when Mutsvangwa had visited the base and assigned the militia other missions.
On the same day Oliver Tembo, a member of Mutsvangwa’s campaign team led a group of ZANU PF youths who abducted Chris Kakanga and took him to the local ZANU PF offices in Katanga. Kakanga was savagely assaulted with steel bars and logs until he sustained a fractured arm and leg. The youths who assaulted him told him the MDC-T in Norton were ‘nauseating’ Mutsvangwa.
Witnesses who gave their testimonies said that Mutsvangwa was regularly seen delivering food supplies to the base where most MDC-T activists were being detained and tortured. On the 13th of June 2008 Mutsvangwa held a meeting in Norton at which his campaign team agreed to set up torture bases at the homes of several ZANU PF officials.
Mutsvangwa supplied the tents that were pitched up at the homes of Knowledge Ndiya and another official named as Matambo. It was not long before the new bases were in use. On the same day John Kwangware reported that CIO operatives broke into his house and blindfolded him. He said they took him to Matambo’s house where they severely assaulted him.
Kwangware said his left eye is permanently damaged as they allegedly tried to remove it.
Many other activists like David Mupandasekwa, an MDC polling agent in the March 29 elections was targeted by Mutsvangwa’s mob. He was abducted from his house and the mob “hauled him blindfolded” to a place where CIO agents heavily assaulted him and left him for dead.
In another example Theresa Kamasula was abducted and taken to Knowledge Ndiya‘s house, where a tent had been pitched by Mutsvangwa’s team. On arrival she was taken into the tent and subjected to ‘terrible assault and torture’. The youths threatened to kill her if they wanted. She was told they had orders from Mutsvangwa to ‘kill’ and it was up to them ‘either to kill or spare her life’.
The youths later ordered her to report to Ndiya’s house everyday to carry out household chores until after the 27 June presidential run off election. SW Radio Africa