Changara Kasekete – Traditional Chief Muzarabani District
Chief Changara Kasekete is a paramount traditional leader in the Dande communal areas of the Muzarabani District. As a traditional leader Kasekete is the custodian of traditional customs and culture, his subjects looks up to him for guidance in conflict resolution. His manner is in sharp contrast to these popular expectations. Chief Changara Kasekete’s weird character has puzzled the communities in Muzarabani district.
On assumption of his chieftainship Kasekete was a very popular and promising leader instrumental in attracting developmental projects into the semi arid region. Little did the people know that they were celebrating the installation of a monster that was to devour them and their children. Whenever there is a gathering in his area Changara Kasekete declares undying loyalty to President Robert Mugabe and the Zanu PF party. He promised that MDC was never going to be allowed in Muzarabani and over the years Kasekete has proved to be a man of his word, many MDC supporters have been butchered, maimed, tortured and displaced in Muzarabani. Though Kasekete has gained notoriety due to his determination to ban the MDC from Muzarabani through political violence, the intensity of his fierce concentration and commitment to the perpetration of political violence in 2008 was overwhelming.
Kasekete teamed up with a high profile Zanu PF terror squad that included Edward Raradza (MP), Luke Mushore(MP), Jenia Manyeruke( Senator), Kamusengezi (ZNA), Yahwe (CIO), Chief Chiweshe, Proud Pfotso, Godfrey Katsiru, Chibau (Zanu PF district chairman) and Avozhi Chibedebede. This team was in command of a group of over 400 Zanu PF militia and armed soldiers. Chief Changara Kasekete and his accomplices were responsible for the abductions and murder of MDC ward officials namely the late; Tennyson Manyimo, Titus Goho, Canaan Dzamwarira, Clemence Chirozva, Learnmore Chingani, Muzumbe, Taurai Chamboko, Ratidzayi Dzenga , Freddy Macheka and Biggie Zhuwawo.
On 3 June 2008 Chief Kasekete addressed a rally at Hoya Primary School and ordered all Zanu Pf supporters and militia to burn all MDC supporters’ homes that Saturday night. That instruction spelt disaster for MDC supporters in Muzarabani, Zanu PF went on the rampage homes went up in flames, men women and children were ruthlessly assaulted and tortured, broken bones and lacerated wounds were the order of the day. Roads were blocked and victims were not allowed to seek medical help, many suffered in silence and only managed to access help several weeks later, some with their conditions having developed complications due to the delays, others have consequently suffered permanent disabilities.
In May 2010 two MDC supporters who were victims of 2008 violence reported that, they were dragged before Chief Kasekete’s court , their crime was that they had approached one of the perpetrators who took away their cattle in 2008 to return them. Chief Kasekete accused them of talking about political issues and insulting the complainant who is a Zanu PF official . They were initially fined US$30 each and were handed over to the police where they were charged with public nuisance and paid an admission of guilty fine of US$5 each. The perpetrator now the complainant armed with copies of the receipts from the police instituted a civil suit against the two victims. The case was presided over by Chief Kasekete himself; he awarded the Zanu PF perpetrator damages of three cows and two goats. The cattle and goats were forcibly taken away from the victims’ homes by Kasekete and handed over to the perpetrator as compensation for the pain caused by the accusation and insults.
During the campaign period towards the presidential run off elections in June 2008 chief Kasekete was personally involved in numerous incidents of political violence some of which are outlined below;
April 1, 2008
On 1 April 2008 a group of Zanu PF militia led by Chief Kasekete abducted Biggie Zhuwawo from his home. Biggie was subjected to a heavy and brutal assault such that he passed out and died on the spot.
April 16, 2008
Chief Kasekete and his gang of Zanu PF militia abducted Liven Mapfumo who operated a small general dealers shop in the area. They assaulted him all over the body and destroyed his entire home. Chief Kasekete then ordered Mapfumo to supply groceries for the Independence celebrations.
April 26, 2008
Eric Chinzima reported that a large group of Zanu PF militia led by Chief Kasekete got to his home during the day. They accused him of supporting the MDC and viciously assaulted him he lost his upper teeth after being kicked in the mouth with a booted foot.
May 1, 2008
Zanu Pf militia apprehended Simbarashe Manzizi on his way home , they accused him of voting for the MDC in March and started beating him up there and then as punishment for his support of MDC. They then took him to his home where they destroyed all the huts there and left him in the open. He noted that among the group was Chief Kasekete who was giving the orders.
May 2, 2008
The local Zanu PF youths around Hoya school accused Freddie Matonhodze of campaigning for Tsvangirai in the area. On 2 May 2008 Chief Kasekete and his band of thugs destroyed Matonhodze’s entire homestead, his family fled and sought refuge with relatives away from the area. Their clothes, property and utensils were all burnt.
May 1, 2008
On 1 May 2008 Chief Kasekete ordered Lucky Mutengwa to be brought before him. Lucky was accused of supporting the MDC they harassed and tormented him, kasekete threatened him with death if he continued living in Muzarabani. Mutengwa deserted his family and property and lived in another district until after the June elections.
May 1, 2008
Chief Kasekete in the command of more that 50 Zanu PF youths and war veterans attacked Christopher Mondera at his home. They heavily assaulted him, looted and destroyed his home.
May 1, 2008
The Zanu PF supporters in their orgy of violence on 1 May 2008 caught Wanzirai Magodo at his home. They heavily assaulted him with a variety of weapons and he sustained serious injuries all over the body. Having worked him over to their satisfaction they turned their anger on his property destroying anything in sight. All the family’s clothes were burnt, Magodo lost his only tractor that was burnt in the attack. Magodo identified amongst others Chief Kasekete, Edward Raradza, Luke Mushore and Avhozhi Chibedebede .
May 2, 2008
Saymore Gweru was abducted and interrogated by chief Kasekete, he was accused of refusing to divulge information on where his brother was hiding. He was assaulted and tortured for a longtime before he was released . His abductors confiscated 2 goats from his home for food at their base.
May 2, 2008
A large group of Zanu Pf supporters attacked Dzikamayi D Gono at his home during the night . Some of the assailants were in military uniform, they destroyed the whole homestead. Gono identified some of the perpetrators as E . Raradza, P Pfotso,T Diamond, O Sosono, C Chiringa, CP Mutonga Njiva, B Mazhuwana, P Chashaya and Chief Kasekete,
May 2, 2008
Zanu PF youths in the company of senior party officials surrounded Clemence Chirozva’s homestead near Chaminda Primary school. They ordered him out of his house and started assaulting him with a variety of weapons. Clemence sustained serious injuries that never healed until he passed away in 2009. The group that killed Chirozva included MP Raradza, MP L Mushore, Manyeruke, Chief Kasekete, Chief Chiweshe, Pfotso, Katsiru, DCC Chibau, and Chibedebede
May 3, 2008
A group of Zanu Pf stormed Siiraishe Charunda’s homestead they interrogated and assaulted him .The gang destroyed his house and property the property destroyed includes bed, radio, food, clothes.The people where Raradza, Luke Mushore, J Manyeruke, Chief Kasekete, Chief Chiweshe, Pfotso, Katsiru, DCC Chibau and Chibedebe
May 6, 2008
Chief Kasekete leading his gang of Zanu PF militia wielding axes, iron bars and guns surrounded Angelina Ngorima’s homestead during the night. They ordered her out of the hut she was sleeping in and set it on fire. All the structures were demolished , she lost everything she had.
May 7, 2008
Lucky Mutemaunga got wind that ZNA officers were looking for him and that he had been targeted for elimination by the local Zanu PF leadership. Lucky never wasted time he bolted out of the area and walked on foot through out the night. He only boarded a bus the following morning to Harare where he sought refuge for the whole of 2008. The army was being assisted by Madhongi, Chief Kasekete, Norman Chizeya, Paramanzi and Kanhutu.
May 3, 2008
Luke Mushore, Edward Rraradza, Chief Kasekete and the other members of Zanu burnt the home of Sunungurai Musengeni. They beat him up to a pulp and as if that was not enough they drove away his three cows for food at the base. They burnt what ever was in sight at his homestead, and he lost everything.
May 1, 2008
Chief Kasekete accompanied by a large group of Zanu PF youths some of them in army fatigue, assaulted Obert Tayi at his home. They destroyed his huts and took away 9 cattle, 4 sheep and 3 goats.
May 5, 2008
Prisca Mutizwa was beaten up by local Zanu PF youth who accused her of supporting Morgan Tsvangirai. She reports that after the assault Chief Kasekete took away 2 tonnes of maize and 4 bales of cotton as punishment for her supporting the MDC.