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Tuesday, 15 January, 2002, 12:25 GMT
Voice from Zimbabwe: A family's ordeal
Mr Midzi is too scared to be photographed
Trymore Midzi's family are in hiding in Harare
Lewis Machipisa in Harare reports on one family's experience of political violence in Zimbabwe.

Trymore Midzi was last seen by his mother early in the evening on 20 December, when he told her he was going back to his house


My son was found unconscious in a vegetable garden stark naked the next morning

Trymore's mother

The 24-year-old opposition activist lived in Bindura, some 90km north of the capital, Harare, which is a ruling party stronghold.

"Around 2100 that same night, some people came and said our son had been abducted. We went to report to the police but they did not help us," his mother said.

"My son was found unconscious in a vegetable garden stark naked the next morning with deep cuts all over his body and bleeding," explained the mother, trying to hold back her tears.

Her husband, a former police officer, takes over the story.


"When we arrived he managed to talk and told us who had beaten him. He told us they were Zanu-PF youths and trainees of the national service training scheme. We rushed him to Avenues Hospital in Harare where he later died.

"What surprised us is that the security officers took our son's body from the mortuary without our permission," said the father.

"We managed to bury our son but when we went to his grave the next morning at around 0730 we were attacked by a mob of Zanu-PF supporters."

Running for our lives

He said they were carrying iron bars, spears and axes and started chasing them.


If they have killed him like they killed my son, they should tell us so that we can bury him properly

Trymore's father
"They were saying they wanted to kill us. One said they wanted to kill me and my other son because of Trymore's support for the opposition. They said they would kill my whole family.

"How the 11 of us managed to escape is still God's secret. I am only alive because I managed to outrun the attackers."

Unfortunately, he believed his brother-in-law, Moffat Chivaura, was not so lucky.

Zimbabwe war veterans
Ruling party supporters are blamed for abducting Trymore

"He could not run fast as he is a heavyweight and was caught. And since 29 December, we have not seen or heard from him. We just hope he is still alive."

He said they had not slept well since the attack and were always crying and praying for their brother-in-law.

"If they have killed him like they killed my son, they should tell us so that we can bury him properly," he pleads.

Police

"The police are not helpful at all. One senior police officer in Bindura promised he would get to the bottom of the matter. But we are now shocked to find out that he goes around boasting that he belongs to Zanu-PF and that he would deal with opposition supporters.

"The police officer is an ex-combatant who, we are told, co-ordinates attacks on the opposition supporters.''

President Mugabe
President Mugabe has done nothing to prevent the violence

Trymore's father, mother, a brother and an uncle fled their seven-roomed house in Bindura and are now staying at a safe house here in Harare. But they miss their home terribly.

"Some of our friends have told us that our house has now been turned into a Zanu-PF house where youths are living. It hurts me so much. We worked so hard for the house," says Mrs Midzi.

Trymore was the bread winner of the family looking after his diabetic mother who suffers from high blood pressure.

Hiding

"I am unemployed and he was looking after all of us, paying rent and buying food. It's a great loss to the whole family," said his father.

"My wife should be going for her check-up at a government hospital but we are afraid that we may be caught there and killed. We now live in constant fear. Some of our relatives do not know where we live because of the fear of being abducted," he adds before gazing into empty space.


When we go to vote, we know who we will vote for

Trymore's uncle

"I have never suffered like this in my whole life. This is the worst time in my life," he says.

"Trymore had 17 stitches on his head and deep cuts everywhere. In my whole life as a policeman, I have never seen anything like that."

"They are even intimidating all those people who came to our son's funeral. They have attacked homes of our church members who came to comfort us during our mourning period. What have we done to deserve this?'' asks Mr Midzi, holding his head in his hands.

But despite the beatings and the murder of their son, the Midzi family says it will not give in.

"They can beat and kill us but they can't force us to support them," said Trymore's uncle.

"They may force us to buy ruling party cards but when we go to vote, we know who we will vote for."

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