By Mlondolozi Ndlovu
Gokwe, June 20, 2016 – AMBITIOUS Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe (RDZ) leader, Elton Mangoma on Saturday took his campaign trail to Gokwe where he addressed dozens of villagers at a memorial service for slain MDC-T activist Moses Chokuda.
Chokuda was allegedly murdered in 2009 by Zanu PF activists Farai Machaya and Edmore Gana in a widely publicised politically motivated incident.
Machaya is son to Midlands provincial affairs minister and Zanu PF politician Jason Machaya while Gana is son to the former Zanu PF district coordinating committee chairperson for Gokwe, Isaac Gana.
It took nearly three years for Chokuda to be buried after a lot of mystery surrounded the aftermath of his killing.
Mangoma, who is gunning for Presidency in 2018, sponsored the memorial service which was held at the Chokuda homestead under Chief Njelele in the cotton producing area.
Chokuda’s mother, Getrude Chokuda, who is blind, narrated events that led to his son’s death.
She said no amount of compensation could heal the pain of losing her son.
“The way he was killed was ruthless. He was beaten to death, tied with ropes and dragged like an animal. It’s over 5 years since he was murdered and up to this day I still think of him, the cattle they paid will never replace my son,” she said.
Machaya was forced to compensate the bereaved family with 15 beasts after the mysterious incidents haunted his family. The deceased was sometimes said to be coming out of a sealed coffin to sit on it.
At times the deceased would visit the Machaya family at night demanding compensation for his own murder.
Chokuda could only be buried after the cattle had been delivered to his family.
Addressing the gathering, Mangoma who was accompanied by a handful of his party’s national leadership, said a future government led by his party will prioritise reparations on survivors of political violence.
“As RDZ, we will pay reparations for former victims of political violence and we call upon Zanu PF to desist from the violent behaviour,” said the former MDC-T treasurer general.
“We visited the Chokuda family on this day of the memorial of their son so as to show solidarity and preach the gospel of anti-violence to the people of Gokwe.”
Villagers who also attended the ceremony said the unusual Chokuda experience taught them tolerance towards each other.
“After this incident, no one has ever dared to fight neighbours on political grounds. It showed us that apart from politics, we are all black people after all,” said one villager, Charles Boni.
Former Zanu PF district secretary for administration in Gokwe Hazel Manyeta said the incident had shown them that supernatural African solutions to political transgressions were effective, adding that the experience was a good warning to the ruling Zanu PF party, widely accused of being the main perpetrator of political offences in the country.
“It is good that we are remembering Chokuda’s life. People learnt that we have traditional values which give us virtues; no power on earth can subdue those cultural values. On top of everything there is God and non should be murdered for have differing political views,” Manyeta said in English.