Cathy Buckle: Zimbabwe’s cry for freedom – Unfolding tragedy ahead of elections sparks international concern

In a heartfelt Letter From Zimbabwe, Cathy Buckle exposes the harsh reality of the country’s political climate as elections draw near. The recent tragic murder of an activist sheds light on the ongoing violence and restrictions on free speech, Buckle urges readers to read between the lines and stand in solidarity with Zimbabweans seeking a better future.

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Stoned to Death in Zimbabwe

By Cathy Buckle

Dear Family and Friends,

In view of the current punitive restrictions on freedom of speech, please read between the lines of my Letter From Zimbabwe today. It is something I have asked you to do often over the last 23 years, as familiar to me as the self-censorship I have had to employ for much of the last two and a half decades of writing about our lives in Zimbabwe. Election after election since 2000 I have written about the brutality and tragedy that has unfolded here as the grip on power by those in office has tightened to a stranglehold. So many stories, so much trauma, almost unbearable to revisit. There are few, if any of us in Zimbabwe who do not have a personal story to tell of a loved one, family member, friend or neighbour who has fallen in these cyclic orgies of violence. So many lives have been lost. Our tears are stained with the blood of ordinary Zimbabweans who want nothing more than a decent, normal life.  

I am writing this extra Letter From Zimbabwe to you today to keep you up to date on events here as we tick ever closer to elections on the 23rd August. Tragedy happened this week. I quote from a public statement issued by Fadzayi Mahere, the National Spokesperson of the CCC party in Zimbabwe.

‘Tinashe Chitsunge was murdered in cold blood by suspected Zanu PF youths. Eye witness accounts report that he was stoned repeatedly in the head before falling to his death on the tarmac in Glen View 7.  … The orgy of violence was instigated by Zanu PF members who were attempting to prevent a CCC rally at Churu Constituency from taking place’.

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Fadzayi Mahere said other reports of politically motivated violence by Zanu PF had come in from Mutare Central, Nyanga, Chipinge, Chivi, Shurgwi and ‘numerous other areas. ‘We want elections not war,’ Fadzayi Mahere said.  

Amnesty International said: “The fatal attack on Tinashe Chitsunge, a CCC activist, paints a grim picture of the human rights environment in Zimbabwe ahead of general elections scheduled for August 23rd 2023.”  (Khanye Farise)

I found two pictures of Tinashe Chitsunge to accompany this Letter From Zimbabwe and chose the one of him smiling, alive, vital. May he rest in peace.

There is no charge for this Letter From Zimbabwe but if you would like to donate please visit my website. Until next time, thanks for reading this Letter From Zimbabwe now in its 23rd year, and my books about life in Zimbabwe, a country in waiting.

Ndini shamwari yenyu (I am your friend)

Love Cathy

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5 August 2023. Copyright © Cathy Buckle