By Nyasha N Mukapiko
Seven MDC-T victims of political violence gave testimonials on Monday in the capital following their illegal arrest and heavy brutalisation by riot police for exercising their constitutional right to demonstrate as enshrined in the constitution.
Section 59 of the Zimbabwean constitution which gives citizens the right to demonstrate peacefully.
The victims testified during press briefing that was attended by MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai, Vice-Presidents Nelson Chamisa, Elias Mudzuri and members of the public.
The torture victims were arrested for demonstrating, demanding electoral reforms under the banner of National Electoral Reforms Agenda (NERA) which constitutes of 18 opposition political parties ahead of the general elections scheduled for 2018.
Their stories were heart wrenching. Fani Munengani, legislator for Glen View North started testifying. The Glen View North MP Munengani was arrested on the 17th of September this month along with three other women. Upon their arrest they were bundled into a police truck where he was forced to put his head between the legs of a lady.
“After our arrest in Glen View just before 10am, they started driving around Harare while they were beating us. When one got tired the other one would takeover. They continued beating us while driving around Harare and figuring where else demos where happening until 6pm when they brought to Harare Central Police Station” Munengami narrated.
Munengami also told the press that the police were under the influence of alcohol as they constantly drank beer during the period.
“They denied us to go to the hospital, we only went there after our release from remand prison” Munengami recalled.
The three other ladies Munengami was arrested with are still to be discharged from hospital after sustaining serious injuries.
Another lady who was only identified as sister Mandizvidza also narrated her horror story. Mandizvidza was arrested on the 26th of August after police blocked a peaceful demo which had been cleared by the High Court.
Her crime was for wearing red clothes on that day, she said men in plain clothes approached her and asked her why she was wearing red before being whisked away to the Zanu-PF headquarters.
“I was beaten while they asked me several nonsensical questions, they took me to small dark, lit-room which was full of blood all over, and they asked me if I had a funeral policy. Another man was then instructed to take coffin measurements of my body as they had promise to kill me” Mandizvidza said.
Mandizvidza was later pardoned, released and taken to Harare central police where they pressed charges against her.
Two other young men, hand-bandaged Alton Peta and Gift Ostallos Siziba also narrated their different versions of the story. Gift Ostallos Siziba claims that his two fingers got crushed and he can no longer do anything after he defied orders to have sexual intercourse with an old woman as requested.
MDC-T President Morgan Tsvangirai shared his sympathy with the victims and encouraged them to continue fighting saying no one was going to come and rescue Zimbabwe from its current doldrums.
“This is the nature of the beast, that is what dictatorship is all about, I can only say that there is no struggle without risk” Tsvangirai said.
The road to the 2018 general elections maybe bumpy, with the political atmosphere getting tenser each day, opposition political parties vowed to pressure Mugabe and his Zanu-PF until the end.
Nelson Chamisa’s motion to debate police brutality in the national assembly was sabotaged two month ago, the motion is expected to be heard when the house resumes sittings in October.
By Nyasha N Mukapiko