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Political violence victims relive ’08 horror

Political violence victims relive ’08 horror

October 28, 2012 in Politics

JERERA — “They were brandishing AK 47 assault rifles and ordered us to lie 
in one corner.

Report by Tatenda Chitagu

Washington Nyamwa, our colleague, wanted to grab the rifle from one of the 
gunmen but was shot in the stomach. He fell on me and they started pouring 
petrol in the room. They locked the door from outside and lit the room.”

With tears streaming down his disfigured face, Edson Gwenhure, broke down as 
he narrated events of that fateful day to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, 
who visited Jerera growth point a fortnight ago.

Gwenhure was one of the MDC-T activists who had fled their homes from Zanu 
PF militia and sought refuge at Jerera in Masvingo Province in the run-up to 
the bloody June 2008 presidential run-off elections.

But his tormentors, determined to kill them, followed them up and 
petrol-bombed their hide-out, killing two of his colleagues.

“I do not know how I escaped the inferno or how my friends made it out,” 
said Gwenhure who managed to escape from the hellhole.

“All I remember is dragging Crison Mbano, but he failed to make it as he 
only crawled for a few metres from the office and died. I ran away into the 
darkness and hid in the nearby mountain as the attackers were still in the 

Among those that survived the gruesome attack were Kudakwashe Tshumele and 
Isaac Mbanje. They were, however, left with permanent injuries.

Tsvangirai also visited John Chebanga, the party’s ward organising secretary 
whose homestead was destroyed during the violent June 2008 elections.

Four years on, the 72-year-old political activist is still sleeping in 
roofless part of the building that did not collapse during the attack.

Chebanga has no resources to rebuild his house.

He was reduced to a pauper.

His wife Epiphania, who had sought refuge in Masvingo, died in 2010 due to 
stress and high blood pressure on realising that all she had worked for her 
entire life had been reduced to ashes.

“A day before I fled to South Africa, two suspected state security agents 
(CIO) came here on a motorbike and ordered me to attend a Zanu PF rally that 
was in the area,” he said.

“I told them that I was occupied. In the evening, fellow villagers who were 
coming from the rally told me that my name had been mentioned as somebody 
who should die for supporting the MDC-T.”

That night Chebanga fled to South Africa while his wife sought refuge in 
Masvingo town.

When Chebanga returned after three months, he found the homestead destroyed.

His property, livestock and food reserves had all been looted by Zanu PF 
militia that had set up base near his homestead.

The staunch MDC-T supporter said he would forgive but never forget the 
perpetrators, as they stay in the same area.

Tsvangirai said the MDC-T would rebuild Chebanga’s house to make it 

“We will refurbish your house so that you do not sleep in the open. We are 
very sorry for the death of your wife, but we will continue to support you,” 
said Tsvangirai.

“As a party, we may not be able to compensate you, but we definitely have to 
do something. We, however, promise to compensate all supporters who lost 
their property when we are an MDC-T only government.”

He added: “Remember it took several years for Zanu PF to compensate war 
veterans. But we thank you for your bravery and support.”

During the tour, the party gave out food hampers, shovels and wheelbarrows 
to several victims of political violence. 


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