Zimbabwe Wall of Shame: Nicholas Goche
By Lance Guma
[twitter-follow username=”lanceguma” scheme=”dark”]
A comprehensive dossier exposes Zanu PF Shamva North MP, Nicholas Tasunungurwa Goche, as having led violent and murderous campaigns in his constituency that led to the deaths of dozens of opposition activists and serious injury to hundreds.
The transport minister’s trail of brutality “stretches as far back as the 2000 parliamentary elections when scores of perceived opposition activists were butchered in and around the Shamva Gold mine areas.” Goche and his gangs used so-called ‘pungwe’ (re-education) sessions to carry out these attacks.
After MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai won the March 2008 presidential election the Joint Operations Command (JOC), a grouping of all the state security agencies, responded with the brutal Operation Mavhotera Papi (where did you vote).
The figures are hard to confirm but its estimated nearly 500 perceived MDC-T supporters were killed, while tens of thousands were tortured and maimed. Goche meanwhile was busy playing his part in Shamva.
On the 11th May 2008 his mob descended on Elias Kahari Madzivanzira’s homestead. “They accused the family of being MDC supporters and they started randomly beating up everyone in sight and destroying whatever they could lay their hands on,” witness statements in the dossier say.
Elias was struck on the head with an axe and witnesses said his head split in two and he died on the spot. His wife Erica was also beaten up but survived. The perpetrators are well known in the local resettlement area and were seen in the company of Goche during the day, drinking beer and singing Mugabe’s praises.
Five days later on the 16th of May Goche addressed a campaign meeting at Chidembo School in the morning where he instructed all youths in the area to “guard their land jealously” against what he called “the whites re-invasion.” He told them to wipe out all MDC supporters in the area.
In his speech that day Goche mentioned Edson Zaya as a “known sell out in the area” and the mob captured him at Chidembo Shopping centre in Shamva. Zaya was heavily assaulted for more than an hour and was badly injured. He died shortly after the assault on the same day.
On the 27th of May Goche’s gang of ZANU PF youths dragged Kidwell Zvavamwe from his bed during the night. They assaulted him badly and he died from the injuries a week later. Kidwell’s wife Lucia Mukaru said that the youths barred her husband from seeking medical help.
In other incidents the youths;
“Dragged Roy Barwa from his hut with a wire tied around his neck like a leash and his face covered with a red cloth, which they said represented death. They destroyed his homestead burning all what was inside the huts. His entire family was assaulted, including the children and the mother.”
The mob was also responsible for the abduction of Florence Muponya from her home. They also beat up her husband before burning all the huts, kraals and a car. Showing the impunity with which Goche and his gang operated, the incident was reported to the police but Goche ordered the police to arrest his victims instead.
Muponya and her family were made to face political violence charges before the court in Bindura. The charges were subsequently thrown out.
It is remarkable given this background that Goche is one of ZANU PF’s key negotiators of the Global Political agreement (GPA), and in fact he was part of the team that crafted the GPA that shaped the coalition government.
In March this year, Goche was in the news when High Court Judge, Justice Charles Hungwe granted the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission permission to search his ministerial offices and those of Mines minister Obert Mpofu and Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere.
The commission also pounced on the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board (NIEEB) and Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) offices which fall under Kasukuwere and Goche respectively. It was only Justice George Chiweshe who blocked the searches.
Chiweshe is a key Mugabe ally who as past chairman of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission withheld presidential election results for weeks in March 2008, amid reports the period was used to manipulate and massage the figures that denied Morgan Tsvangirai an outright victory over a shocked Mugabe.
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