Comment: The following story from the UK just goes to show how little people change. On my website, www.AfricanCrisis.org, in the photo gallery, I have a very old and rare publication: “Anatomy of Terror” published in the 1970’s showing the kind of violence which Mugabe used against blacks in order to “convert them” to support him - just the same as he is doing now. Jan
“They killed my only son in a family of eight children and now they have killed my wife. Why are they fighting us after they won the election?”
By Basildon Peta Zimbabwe Correspondent
A 53-year-old woman was beheaded in front of two of her daughters, aged 10 and 17, by supporters of Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s President, because of her suspected backing for the opposition. Brandina Tadyenemhandu, who had eight children, was decapitated by 20 ruling party militants inside her hut in Magunje, South-west Zimbabwe, on Sunday in the most brutal political killing in almost two years of poll-related violence. She was killed because she was the mother of a Movement for Democratic Change youth activist, Tichaona Tadyenemhandu. He was killed by Zanu-PF militants days before the June 2000 parliamentary election in Zimbabwe. The family discovered his body in a mortuary six months later.
President Robert Mugabe won the election last month but the international community has dismissed his victory as fraudulent. The MDC spokesman Learnmore Jongwe said yesterday: “As a party, we are now at a complete loss about what Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF wants the poor souls of this nation to do. He [Mugabe] is enjoying his stolen term yet he continues spilling the blood of defenceless opposition supporters.” Mrs Tadyenemhandu’s husband, Enos, told the Daily News yesterday: “They killed my only son in a family of eight children and now they have killed my wife. Why are they fighting us after they won the election?” Mr Tadyenemhandu, 63, said all appeared well as he drove his cattle to a dip tank early in the morning on Sunday. On his way back, he was surprised when his 17-year-old daughter, Chipo, approached him, weeping profusely. “My first thought was that she had been assaulted by a friend. She struggled to tell me that her mother’s head had been cut off by Zanu PF supporters,” said Mr Tadyenemhandu.
Chipo said the militants became enraged after her mother asked them why they were still harassing people so long after Mr Mugabe’s election victory. They then proceeded to chop off her head in front of the young children. “When I saw my wife’s remains, the head and the body were cleanly separated,” said Mr Tadyenemhandu. Chipo also told her father that the rampaging Zanu PF militias had indicated, before killing her mother, that they would get rid of all MDC supporters in the area. The police in the area refused to co-operate, and instead asked Mr Tadyenemhandu and his children to go and look for the suspects on their own and bring them to the police station.
Political violence has continued to ravage Zimbabwe even after President Mugabe’s re-election in the March polls. Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader, has refused to recognise the outcome of the election and is now challenging it in the courts, while the European Union and the United States have imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe. Mr Tsvangirai says his party’s supporters have been killed, tortured, raped and brutally assaulted in post-election reprisal attacks in Zimbabwe. Zanu PF militants responsible for the violence say they want to rid the country of “opposition supporters”.
Peaceful protests to voice anger at Mr Mugabe’s human rights abuses and his open rigging of the presidential election have been suppressed. Heavily armed policemen in trucks and on foot dispersed crowds of pro-democracy activists holding peaceful protests yesterday to demand a new constitution followed by a fresh presidential election. It was the second time in two weeks the police had brutally suppressed nationwide protests convened by the National Constitutional Assembly, a coalition of churches, professional organisations and trade unions. Lovemore Madhuku, the coalition chairman, and two other officials were arrested on the eve of the demonstrations. More than 60 NCA activists were arrested in the first important demonstrations against Mr Mugabe. Douglas Mwonzora, an NCA spokesman, said yesterday that protests were also taking place in the southern city of Masvingo, but there was no independent confirmation. Zimbabwe introduced tough new security laws this year banning public protests and gatherings without police approval. Penalties range from fines to a year in prison.