The untold story of three youths who changed the course of Zimbabwe’s history


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She said it all started with the 18-19 March 2003 stay-away that was organised by the MDC but turned violent.  Although the government said the mass action had been a failure, the clampdown that followed immediately said otherwise.

President Mugabe on 21 March said that those who perpetrated violence and terrorism during the stay-way “must be severely punished under our laws” adding that “those who play with fire will not only be burned, but consumed”.

According to a report by the British Home Office, Mugabe compared himself to Germany leader Adolph Hitler but said he could be Hitler tenfold.

“I am still the Hitler of the time. This Hitler has only one objective: justice for his people, sovereignty for his people, recognition of the independence of his people and their rights over their resources. If that is Hitler, then let me be Hitler tenfold. Ten times, that is what we stand for,” he said.

About 600 people were arrested following the clampdown. Some senior MDC officials fled their homes. One of them was Mufakose legislator, Paurina Mpariwa.  Security agents raided her home in Marimba Park but she was not there. She did not go back home when she learnt that security agents were after her.

Misihairabwi-Mushonga says she harboured Mpariwa and moved from one place to another, sometimes sleeping in the car, to avoid being arrested. It was while they were discussing what to do to get out of this situation, that she decided to talk to ZANU-PF youth leader Saviour Kasukuwere.

“Tyson’s mother is my godmother,” she said referring to Kasukuwere who is popularly known as Tyson, a nickname he got when he was working for the Central Intelligence Organisation, Zimbabwe’s State security agency.

“I grew up in Mt Darwin. Tyson’s family and my family were very close. We grew up being brother and sister.

“One of the things I engaged him on was that if I were to be killed because ndiri (I am) a member of the opposition, you will have to come kufuneral kwangu (my funeral). How will you feel kuti ndauraiwa nemayouth ari (that I have been killed by youths who are) under your leadership?

“That’s how this conversation which led to the inclusive government started. Tyson then said let me call (Nicholas) Goche who was Security Minister at the time.

“Goche, Tyson, Paurina and myself met.  We were asked, who could we bring in? We brought Paul Themba Nyathi, who was the party spokesman. The discussions started over a bottle of whisky at Tyson’s office. Goche, Nyathi, Tyson and myself.  Paurina dropped. Goche was very angry with Paul Themba Nyathi. It was a very tense meeting.  After two or three weeks we decided to escalate.

“Goche brought in Chinamasa.  I brought in Welshman Ncube. We started meeting at Goche’s office, then formal meetings began. After the split, we brought in Tendai Biti, helped by Lovemore Moyo, who was dropped later on to bring in (Elton) Mangoma.

“That was the genesis of the talks but typical of men they always want to take credit for what happened,”Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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