Police brutality - the word goes out
Another leaked memo reveals that those brave souls who oppose the Mugabe regime are targeted by those who should defend them - our police.
Anyone who thought that all the news about a new party, a new presidential challenger, and a Zanu-PF split might mean a lessening of the official terror on the streets and in the homes of our country is doomed to be disappointed. If anything, things are clearly about to get worse.
I learned this when, in what is becoming an every-day occurrence, a contact within the state machine, who has become disillusioned with the Mugabe method of running a country, showed me a confidential memo. I read it with growing dread. The leaders of opposition groups in Zimbabwe must brace themselves for a difficult time ahead.
The memo comes from within the police Law and Order Section - an ironic title for a unit that excels in brutality and violence. It is numbered LM05/2008, and is an internal communication signal, written by Senior Assistant Commissioner L.D. Muchemwa, Officer Commanding the Bulawayo district, and addressed to Police Commissioner Augustine on January 3 this year. This is what it said:
It's basic message is that surveillance efforts are being stepped up against Bulawayo-based members of the Opposition Movement For Democratic Change (MDC) and leaders of other civic organisations.
Under the heading 'Update On Election Preparations' Muchemwa writes: "This province has identified the following hostile individuals and stepped up surveillance missions on them, as directed by your office... Our Law and Order and PISI (Police Internal Security Intelligence) details have been deployed to monitor and report on the activities of these. Their residential places are also subject to daily routine checks, so as to gather as much information as possible on their plans and people who pay them."
The names on the list that follows are, of course, the usual suspects. That includes, to begin with, most members of the MDC, including three members of parliament, Fletcher Dulini-Ncube, Thokozani Khupe and Felix Mafa. Also on the list are the co-leaders of Women of Zimbabwe Arise, Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu, and of course, former Archbishop Pius Ncube.
Only one name on the list is there in his individual capacity, rather than being aligned with the protest movements. He is the courageous Zenzele Ndebele, who, as I've previously reported, produced the stunning documentary Gukurahundi - A Time Of Madness, the story of Mugabe's massacre of 20,000 civilians in Matabeleland in the Eighties. Zenzele is currently in hiding, and long may he remain in safety.
Finally, the memo reads: "This office takes security matters seriously and these (the names on the list) will be dealt with accordingly, where it is believed that they have committed a crime."
A cold little sentence, but it carries a huge threat. I say to everyone named on this appalling list: Please - be careful out there.