Zim govt deploys army in Chipinge
By Bridget Mananavire
With one Zimbabwean so far reported to have been killed by Renamo bandits recently, the government has moved to deploy special troops on the country’s Eastern border with Mozambique to stop any further attacks and allow local communities to resume their normal lives.
Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa confirmed to Parliament on Wednesday that Zimbabwe was doing everything necessary to safeguard its citizens, amid further traumatic revelations of the abduction of scores of locals and the raiding of cattle by Renamo in Chipinge.
“The Manicaland Joint Operations Command (Joc) and the Mozambican Joc met yesterday (Tuesday) to interrogate the matter and some cattle were recovered.
“I should also state that this is not the first time such things have taken place.
“We also have one person from Chipinge whose hands were tied and he was taken across the border. Some people heard gunshots and our chiefs followed and found the body on that side. Investigations are currently underway to ascertain who committed that crime.
“This is the work of Renamo. It is trying to provoke us and interfere with our good relations with Mozambique,” Mnangagwa said.
Apart from deploying troops, he said the government was also working on moving the people in the “danger zone” to safe areas, through a disaster prevention committee that operates under the auspices of the Local Government ministry, and which also provides shelter and food.
Mnangagwa was responding to a question from Musikavanhu MDC legislator, Prosper Mutseyami, on what the government was doing to protect the Musikavanhu and other Chipinge communities who are once again living in mortal fear and witnessing their livestock being taken, often at gunpoint, by the bandits.
A civil servant from Mabee Village under chief Garahwa, told the Daily News yesterday that villagers along the border area feared that the terrible violence and turmoil that they had witnessed in the 1970s — during the country’s liberation struggle — as well as in the 1980s when both Renamo and the Zimbabwean military wreaked havoc in Chipinge and caused the death of scores of innocent villagers, had returned.
“This instability has hit people hard because, as you may know, we live in one of the poorest and most neglected parts of the country. Apart from fearing death and being abducted, the loss of a beast or two in these parts is devastating because this is often everything that people own of substance.
“It pains us to see us live such wretched lives in independent Zimbabwe because the liberation war, while necessary, cost us the lives of a lot of our relatives and destroyed virtually everything people had.
“It didn’t help matters that after independence, the region suffered because of its support for Magigwana (the late Zanu founder Ndabaningi Sithole), while the civil war in Mozambique then saw both Renamo and our own Zimbabwean authorities murdering and brutalising our people,” the bitter public servant said.
Renamo returned to the bush in 2013 to push the Mozambican government for political reforms, rekindling memories of the 16-year civil war which ended in the early 1990s after claiming the lives of more than one million civilians.
Zimbabwe enjoys a close political relationship with Mozambique dating back to the days of the country’s liberation struggle when the former Portuguese colony sheltered our former freedom fighters.
The Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo), which was founded in 1975, was initially sponsored by the Rhodesian Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), as part of an anti-Communist backlash against the country’s ruling Frelimo party, and to stop Maputo from supporting Zimbabwean freedom fighters.
Initially, led by André Matsangaissa, a former senior Frelimo official, it is now led by Afonso Dhlakama.
Currently, tens of thousands of Mozambican refugees, just like they did three decades ago, have once again flocked into Zimbabwe, to escape the unrest in their country, and creating a further humanitarian crisis of epic proportions in the impoverished border areas of Chipinge. Daily News