By Maynard Manyowa
Zimbabwe’s fastest growing opposition party, Zimbabwe People First, led by Robert Mugabe’s deputy, Joice Mujuru effectively split into two, after Mujuru fired her fellow founding comrades, Didymus Mutasa, Margaret Dongo, Rugare Gumbo & others, with whom she was fired from Mugabe’s Zanu PF with. Her reasons for the split are that it is in the party interest.
In a country where the other big opposition, Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T has split into half a dozen factions, there are worries that Mujuru’s party, which showed so much promise, maybe turning into another MDC-T. In this brief analysis, which focuses on violence and brutality, Maynard Manyowa propounds that all is not lost, and that people like Mutasa should have never been part of a project which seeks to save the Zimbabwean people.
“On the 23rd of June 2008, Didymus Mutasa sent over 5 thugs to beat and rape the wife of an opposition activist Shepherd Maisiri as punishment for hiding her husband. In 2013, he sent more thugs who this time killed Maisiri’s 12-year-old son. From 1999, till the time Mutasa was sacked from Zanu PF, he personally had Maisiri’s house burnt down 7 times in 10 years. A man with such a taste for blood must have never been allowed to be part of the reform process to begin with, says Maynard Manyowa”
I will be blunt. The name Didymus Mutasa, by his deeds, cannot be synonymous with any movement, let alone joke, that use the words ‘People’ and ‘First’ in the same paragraph, let alone sentence. Any idea, that places an emphasis on people, cannot be found in the same place with a man whose cruelty and hatred for humanity only comes second to his thirst for innocent blood.
A foul mouth which wishes death on defenseless people
- “We would be better off with only six million people, with our own (ruling party) people who supported the liberation struggle. We don’t want all these extra people” …
- “no-one can hide from us in this country”
- “Be careful not to denigrate our president we will visit your bedrooms and expose what you will be doing.”
- “I will deal with you ruthlessly if you don’t tell me your source (of the corruption story). Make no mistake. I am sending my operatives and they will do a clean job.”
At one point, Mutasa blatantly and arrogantly wished that half of Zimbabwe’s population die from HIV / AIDS and / or hunger. He welcomed the preventable deaths of those people, on the premise that they were probably MDC-T supporters. Hence their deaths were not only appropriate, but a welcome development.
As for his invincibility and prowess, Mutasa openly boasted that no one could hide from him, at the time he was Presidential Affairs Minister.
I need not say more about what kind of man he is, and it is unfortunate that such a man was ever given a chance to be part of a project that promises to put people first, unless such a project meant people first to the grave.
Mutasa, the Godfather of violence, rape and death
Usually, when someone walks their talk, it is considered a very good thing, unless the person is named Didymus Mutasa. The man not only said the most sickening and frightening of things, but he routinely followed up his threats with tangible actions, soaked in murderous bravado, and invincible impunity.
In 2003, Mutasa ordered Trade Union Bosses, among them National trades union chief Wellington Chibebe to be picked up by members of the Central Intelligence Organisation. They were detained without charged, but assaulted with clenched fists, booted feet, baton sticks, and denied food.
In 2005, at the helm of the security sector, Mutasa proposed, sanctioned, and actioned Operation Murambatsvina, leading to the displacement of 700,000 people. Several women, children, and disabled people were left freezing in the winter nights, after their homes were bulldozed.
The reason for this needless rampage was that Mutasa blamed the vast urban population of voting for the opposition, and hence since he wished MDC supporters die, he opened avenues for that to happen.
Per the US Department of State’s statistics, “in 2009 at least 19 citizens died as a result of injuries sustained from political violence that targeted members of the opposition party in 2008, in addition to the more than 270 who died in 2008.”
Of the 11,000 or so perpetrators who were named, mostly with evidence too, Mashonaland East, Mutasa’s backyard had the highest number. Funny enough, Midlands Province, where Mnangagwa is the top dog, had no killings.
No one was ever held accountable for the killings. In few instances, when police effected an arrest, such as the case of a 16 yeard old boy, Arnold Mosterd, who died after being beaten in July 2009 by ZANU-PF supporters in Macheke, Mashonaland East.
The suspects were released after the minister of state in the President’s Office Didymus Mutasa ordered the investigations to be stopped, and the suspects to be released, before instructing his militia in the villages that they must “deal with” strangers who visited the area inquiring about the killing, as they would be MDC supporters. (MDC supporters he had said should die, in the millions)
But Mutasa did not just haunt whole provinces, he haunted individual families, and even children, whom he hunted to death, or haunted with near death experiences. For one Shepherded Maisiri, Mutasa is the stuff of hell. A cousin of pain.
Since 1999, Didymus Mutasa had Maisiri’s house burnt 7 times. This in addition to several abductions, kidnappings, beatings, and murder attempts.
Take for example one incident in the early 2000s, recorded by the MDC-T Chegutu, which narrates that, “On one incident Maisiri was put into a jute bag, bundled into Punish Mhiripiri’s truck and dumped in the Rusape Dam. He was only saved by fishermen laying their nets during that night”
In January 2008, more specifically on the 3rd, the MDC-Activist Maisiri was manhandled by two men, who bundled him into a car, before driving him directly to Didymus Mutasa. Mutasa threatened him, before letting him go.
But Maisiri was followed to Mutare, arrested briefly, before fleeing to Mozambique. Mutasa was not pleased, and retaliated by sending armed men to Maisiri’s house on the 23rd June 2008. One of the men raped Maisiri’s wife 5 times, as punishment ‘for hiding her husband.’
Mutasa’s thugs would later return and torch Maisiri’s house again, this time killing his young son Christpowers. He was burnt to death.
But it did not just end there. As the run-up to the election neared, Mutasa took over several properties, and housed them with intoxicated thugs, hoodlums, and the notorious green bombers. Some even drover around in Mutasa’s vehicles.
Philip Mushayi, Mutasa’s sidekick who abducted and killed an activist named Taurayi Kamuchira, told other activists detained in Mutasa’s properties, then known as bases, that he had been given permission by Mutasa, and would kill all other activists the same manner. Most of these are detailed here, and here, as well as here.
Several others were killed in this way and manner, it is impossible to account just how many. Some like Jestina Mukoko went through hell in the hands of Mutasa, a man she identifies as being behind her ordeal. You can read Jestina’s Horror here.
I for one, had withdrawn any support I harbored for People First, and Joice Mujuru, for one reason, a cruel man who killed many people, and in my view only deserves a sit in hell. That man is Didymus Mutasa, and that man should never be allowed anywhere near any initiative which has the word’s People and First in the same sentence. That man also has a long history of theft, corruption and looting. Something I will touch on in follow up submissions.
Much as the Zimbabwean people are desperate to be freed, it is pointless to enter coalitions with the very same people who unleashed the violence that led us here. There are no indications that Mutasa has changed, or ever will change. In my view, he remains the same thug who boasted of evil, and then orchestrated it. His exit from Zimbabwe People First allows the real youths in Zimbabwe to strive for the change we all desire.
- Maynard Manyowa is a journalist, and the former contributing editor of Khuluma Afrika – a center for political analysis, commentary and investigative journalism. (News 24)