Tuesday, October 25, 2005
  Military sweeps in Zimbabwe
"This time a thrashing; next time the dogs": persistent harassment of Zimbabwe's poor - Sokwanele Report: 24 October 2005

"... Consider the history of another - let's call him Thabo because he has not succumbed to death yet and therefore his identity must be protected in the police state that Zimbabwe has now become. Thabo is in his 60s. Our reporter saw him collecting a few plastic containers of water from a water pipe not far from where he had made a temporary (and well-concealed) shelter for himself in the bush. His parents came to what was then Rhodesia from Malawi half a century ago. When they died Thabo found employment as a security guard at Victoria Falls. There he met his bride-to-be whose home was at Nyathi. The couple married and went to live at Nyathi. However as the liberation war intensified Nyathi became an uncomfortable place to live with all the military activity in the area. Thabo and his wife therefore moved to Matobo on the other side of Bulawayo with their four children. They were happy enough living there, but after independence they found the area was being targeted by the notorious 5th Brigade. Mugabe's maniacal genocide programme, Gukurahundi, was just getting under way. The family moved back closer to Bulawayo and found shelter where they could, at Killarney. Thabo's wife has since died and his children left home, leaving this elderly widower to fend for himself as best he can. Then in June 2005 Mugabe's second military-style operation to remove the human "debris", code-named Operation Murambatsvina, swept through Killarney. As he watched his home of 20 years being razed to the ground by Mugabe's black-booted agents of terror, Thabo took to the bush where he remained in hiding for a number of weeks. While in hiding he did not even dare to light a fire to cook a meal for fear of alerting the riot police. During this time he lived off scraps of food, including a few stale buns, which he managed to scavenge off others almost as desperate as himself. Finally, having nowhere else and no one else, to turn to, Thabo returned to Killarney, rebuilding the shack which had once been home. It was a vain gesture of hope (or was it defiance?) for a few weeks later the Mugabe storm troops swept through the area again, destroying his and the few other shacks which had been re-occupied. Leaving Thabo with only the bush to call home." [..]
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