By Tafadzwa Muranganwa
A Tajamuka activist who is now holed up in South Africa where he sought refuge is convinced that he could have been among those who died in the deadly protests during the 3-day stay away.
Pro-democracy campaigner Elvis Mugari told Radio VOP that he is lucky to be not among the now deceased as he narrated his ‘great escape’. According to Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, 12 people died while at least 78 were treated for gunshot shots.
On Monday January 14 night on the first day of the stay away, Mugari who lives in Dawnview Park was awakened by the noise of suspected security agents and ruling party activists who were shouting his name threatening to kill him for wanting to ‘subvert a constitutionally elected government’.
“The group which I suspected had security agents and members of the ruling party activists came to my lodgings in the late evening when most of the tenants at the home were fast asleep and started banging the gate shouting my name accusing me of being a terrorist who wanted to overthrow the Zanu PF-led government,’’ narrated Mugari.
He said he was terrified when there were gun shots that followed when no one dared to open the gate which was later destroyed as they gained entry.
“I was petrified to the core when I heard gun shots which came after we didn’t open the gate which the subsequently destroyed that is when I had no option but to escape in a huff I only managed to take a few belongings and sneak out through the window ,”added Mugari.
The Tajamuka activist claimed to have walked a distance of over 20km on foot in the night walking in bushy paths as he avoided being caught up again by the night raids which were being undertaken by security agents.
Mugari managed to hike a lift to South Africa on the Masvingo Highway where together with other activists they have managed to seek refuge.
“By God’s grace I managed to plead with one South African-bound Haulage truck driver that I was in imminent danger and needed to go to South Africa and he was able to offer me a lift,” said the activist.
Elvis fears coming home because of the continued crackdown and harassment of activists by security agents.
“I don’t think I will be able to come home soon given the continued crackdown on activists with security agents even harassing family members of those who managed to escaped like me.
“Thank God when all this happened my wife was not around she could have been harassed also and I heard from my landlord that they destroyed everything I possessed, ”bared the distressed Mugari .
Some of the activists that are said to have sought refuge in South Africa following the crackdown are Rashid Mahiya who is the chairperson of Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe, Tabani Mpofu of Misa-Zimbabwe but is also the spokesperson of Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe, Shadreck Mashayamombe ,former Zanu PF Harare South MP and Masvingo MDC-T councillor Godfrey Kuraone among many others.
Meanwhile , South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) revealed at a press conference held Tuesday that it is taking Zimbabwe’s human rights violations to the International Criminal Court (ICC), United Nations High Commission for Refugees and parliament in a bid to stop alleged atrocities being committed by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and other state security agents that have launched a crackdown on people suspected to have been involved in protests two weeks ago over the high cost of living .
The press conference was also attended by some of the activists that are hiding in South Africa including Elvis Mugari.