Tawanda Muchehiwa, a second-year journalism student at the Gweru-based Midlands State University (MSU) has revealed how State agents infiltrate opposition ranks by converting activists into informers.
Muchehiwa, who is a nephew to ZimLive editor Mduduzi Mathuthu, chronicled the torture he endured at the hands of his captors over a three-day period. He said:
On our way back, I was told I should join Zanu PF as soon as I got home. They said it was undesirable for me to spend too much time around my uncle, he could be a bad influence. After 2023, they said, I will get a powerful job in Zanu PF.
That’s them thinking they have already won the next election, I thought. I was told that processes would get underway to ensure that I become the president of the Zanu PF-aligned ZICOSU students’ union at Midlands State University where I am a second-year journalism student.
Someone – unnamed – would pay my school fees, they said. I won’t have to worry about that again.
They demanded that to prove that I am a changed person, I must put out some tweets declaring my support for Zanu PF. The consequences of going against any of these directives, I was reminded, would be dire.
They went further. I was now an informer, they said without actually using that word. Next time we meet, they said, they would drive up next to me, roll down a window and I should be ready to sing like a canary. They had broken me physically.
They thought they had also broken me mentally, and now I was ripe for recruitment. At that moment, I wondered how many activists in the opposition had been brutalised this way and given these options: cooperate with us or die. Indeed, who had put these people on my tail?