Sehliselo Ndebele one of the eight Mthwakazi youths who were arrested after they protested against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s role in Gukurahundi has alleged that the demonstrators were brutalised by soldiers and Zanu-PF Youth members who accused them of being used by former Minister Jonathan Moyo to tarnish Mnangagwa’s image. The case against the youths was later thrown out after the court ruled that accused’s constitutional right to appear before a court of law within 48 hours of arrest had been violated. The magistrate also ruled that the arrest was illegal as the youths had been arrested by members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and not the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).
Narrating her ordeal, Ndebele said:
I was among those who were thoroughly beaten. The assailants thought just because I am a woman, I was the weakest point. They kept on asking me who had sent us to demonstrate. They plucked out one of my locks from my head which was very painful. They also kicked and assaulted me all over the body using clenched fists and whips.
While assaulting us, they kept accusing us of being sent by Jonathan Moyo to embarrass Mnangagwa. They said we were G40 members bent on tarnishing the image of Mnangagwa.
When we were at Brad barracks, I suddenly went into my period because of shock. They refused me to put a sanitary wear until when we were taken to Bulawayo Central police station at around 8 pm. Even at the Bulawayo police station, I was only allowed to change the pad once per day.
There is no doubt that my womanhood was violated. I was forced to plead with male police officers to change my sanitary pads. I was also confined to a sewer soaked cell with no shoes.
The youths were arrested and allegedly assaulted on the 31st of December 2017 by the military after they protested against President Mnangagwa at the Zimbabwe Trade Fair where Mnangagwa was addressing a church conference. The protestors had placards that were inscribed with messages such as “MNANGAGWA YOU ARE A KILLER”, “WE ARE THE COCKROACHES THAT SURVIVED YOUR DDT”, “MNANGAGWA YOU ARE AN ANTI-CHRIST FOR THE GUKURAHUNDI GENOCIDE”. The youths were charged with undermining the authority of or insulting President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the alternative charge of disorderly conduct in a public place.
More: New Zimbabwe
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