HomeLocal News2008 political violence haunts toddler

2008 political violence haunts toddler


BANKET — Five-year-old Nigel Mutemagawu — who became the country’s youngest prisoner at two years when he was incarcerated and kept in solitary confinement at Chikurubi Maximum Prison for two months together with his parents — now hates the former ruling party Zanu PF with a passion.

Nigel’s mother Violet Mupfuranhehwe told NewsDay at the weekend the boy who is in Grade 0 at a local school hated a schoolmate for wearing a Zanu PF bandana because he associated it with violence.

“He saw a young classmate with a Zanu PF bandana and came home angry saying he doesn’t want the classmate near him or to touch him otherwise he will kill him.”

Nigel’s exposure to brutality had affected him so much that his social life had been ruined. His parents say he now needed special teachers to deal with his situation.

Nigel was taken from his Banket home at the height of political violence in 2008 and was allegedly beaten by State security agents who had kidnapped them over an alleged plot to overthrow the government.

As a result of the incarceration, Nigel was finding it difficult to forgive prison officers who allegedly used to put him in a deep freezer for pointing at President Robert Mugabe’s portrait saying it was (Prime Minister) Morgan Tsvangirai, his mother said.

“He tells me not to buy a deep freezer saying it will be used to punish young children because he recalls how he used to be put in one for referring to (President) Mugabe’s portrait as Tsvangirai,” said his mother. The boy, who is due to enroll for Grade One next year, now requires special teachers and attention.

“His teachers are finding it hard to deal with him. If he sees a teacher holding a stick, he feels it’s harassment and when they raise their voices, he takes them as cruel commands like those from the agents who tortured him. Whenever the children are asked to sleep, he relates to the way we were forced to lie down in prison,” she said.

The MDC-T spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora said: “The party is extremely worried about the future of the boy. He was traumatised and it shows effects of the barbaric nature of the junta masquerading as a police force. How a boy of that age was confined to prison for that long defies logic.”

Mwonzora could, however, not say what support the party would give Nigel referring NewsDay to the party’s secretary for Social Welfare, Lucia Matibenga who was not reachable yesterday.

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