Tendai Mwanaka

"I was in Zimbabwe in May and June and I left Zimbabwe for South Africa just after the elections and what I saw those days, I don't know whether I would ever be able to capture everything that happened, but over the years I have been compiling stories, dramatic sketches, poems, essays, parady, journalistic pieces and letters."
                -Tendai Mwanaka


The uniformed police, Zanupf, and military arrived and ordered my husband to carry all the chairs, table, sofas, bed, blankets and clothes, even those we were wearing were striped from us and put in one room. They took all our food and the cash we had but for the car. Then they set fire on all our properties and the car. They accused us of supporting the opposition MDC party, which we were not even members of. They demanded for membership cards, which we didn't have. They shot my husband on the legs several times. When I tried to plead with them they started shouting insults at me. They raised my husband to a meter level height and spread him, holding him suspended in the air and then they started beating him on his naked buttocks and underneath feet with sham books, large sticks, belts and gun butts. The more he bellowed the more they pounced on him, until he collapsed, then they started at me. I told them I was pregnant and they told me I should not have any children for the whole of Zimbabwe . They hit me with those sticks, gun butts, belts etc on my stomach. The child I was carrying broke to pieces inside my stomach. The baby girl died inside me. Though my husband died that night, it was God's desire that I did not die too. It was at the hospital that the child was born afterwards. The doctors had to cut my stomach to remove those pieces. A head alone, then a leg, an arm, the body——, piece by piece.

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29 JUNE 2008

This is how we elected our president. What you had to first was to go to Zanupf village headman, even in towns, for your ward where they will take your details, i.e. full name, address, telephone number and your identity numbers, then this village headman would give you a blank piece of paper which you were supposed to fill in with the serial number of your ballot's paper. Our village headman for ward 7 in Zengeza township was a certain Mr Jena who stays in Dovi street. At the voting station you vote the normal way but you also write down your serial number on that blank piece of paper when you are behind the booth. Then you take that piece of paper to your village headman who would record this serial number against your details. It meant that whether you like it or not you had to vote for Mugabe because they( Zanupf militias, the headman, and zanupf youths) had threatened that they would do a reconciliation of all those who had voted for the opposition party against the details that they now had. They also threatened that they would also carry out a reconciliation of all those who wouldn't have voted so that everyone was forced to vote whether they liked it or not. It was in the afternoon, at about 3 o clock when the headman and the militias were arrested, but most of the people had been forced to participate in this shame election and to think that it was happening all over Harare, and also that even the presiding officers knew about it, especially those in my ward where the voting station was a stone's throw, in sight of this headman's residencies left a lot to be desired, but this is how we elected our president who in the president of Zimbabwe now, on 29 June 2008.

Tendai Mwanaka has published poetry in Kritya, Language and Culture, Poetry Life and Times, Idiom 123, Kta, Decanto, and many other iterary magazines in South Africa, UK, Snited States, Australia, Canada, and India. He worked in Harare, Zimbabwe as a sales and marketing administrator at Amtec Motors.