HomeFeaturePeaceful Demo: Part 14…the aftermath

Peaceful Demo: Part 14…the aftermath

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BY mid-afternoon, armed men of peace had overwhelmed and pushed the violent peaceful demonstrators back to Harare South, away from Harare North.

Their retreat was not tactical but in disarray, spurred by whiplash, baton stick, teargas and echoes of gunfire.

Casualties of the peace who had not managed to limp away had been evacuated to hospitals in Harare North as terms and conditions applied and some were assisting European embassies with investigations.

Those taken prisoner had been locked up in order to assist police with investigations.

The man on the ground, the one whose wife did not know that the money from Washington had been far more than he had declared, was still insisting that he knew his rights and wanted to be allowed to call his lawyer.

He had assured some fellow prisoners that their problems would be over if only he could find a way to get word to the British or US Embassy.

A pessimist who did not like his bragging had asked him if he was a US citizen and he had said no.

The pessimist had again asked if he was a British citizen and the man on the spot had again said no.

The pessimist had then declared: “Saka hapana zvauri kutaura. Uri kuzvifadza blaaz. Mahwani ako haasati atanga.”

The ugly man of God who had cringed from anointing the street-dwelling image of God in the upper-room had listened to the exchange between the man who had bought his small-house a red VW Polo and the pessimist image of God and his heart had been broken. He had whispered a prayer.

He had told the arresting officers that he was a man of God and the security images of God had advised him that he would get the chance to tell it to the images of God who would try him in court.

Two other images of God whom the ugly man of God had anointed before the upper-room raid had observed the ugly image of God’s desperation and regretted his anointing.

And, Harare down-town lay in aborted stages of ruin – broken and looted shops, burning tyres, rocks strewn all over the streets to make them impassable, signal-red slogans and obscenities sprayed on walls and road signs.

The peaceful demonstrators captured by armed men of peace were no longer violent, talking tough or making any demands.

They were already doing time, clearing the roads they had blockaded earlier on.

And, those who had taken them captive required them to sing songs, not of Zion but of liberation struggle.

One armed peacemaker suggested the song:

“Humambo hwedu huri muZimbabwe

Haufanane neumambo hweBritiana!”

Another armed peacemaker suggested the song:

“Nyika yedu yeZimbabwe ndimo matakazvarirwa

Vana mai nababa ndimo mavari

Tinoda Zimbabwe neupfumi hwayo hwose

Simuka Zimbabwe!”

And none invoked the Babylon precedent (Psalm 137) to say, “How can we sing songs for Africa in a demonstration against Africa?”

None invoked the Babylon precedent to say: “How can we sing songs in praise of our ancestors when the god of our enslavers says we must bind them.”

Some of the believers anointed by the ugly image of God who had been taken prisoner by riot police were among those singing the songs affirming Africa as suggested by the armed peacemakers.

An army truck stopped to drop more armed men of peace to supervise the growing number of captives. 

The youth who had joined the demo to spite his war veteran father saw that the driver of the truck was the older man who had asked him and his three friends how they could be so sure the peaceful demonstration would be peaceful.

The clean shave, the moustache and the military fatigues looked natural on him.

The youth was surprised.

He was again surprised by the strange kinship he suddenly recognised between the older man and his own father … and an even stranger kinship between the two of them and himself.

It was as if he was looking at his own father in camouflage. 

He passed close to the truck as he carried a load of rocks gathered from the street. 

He wanted the older man to recognise him but their eyes did not connect. 

One of the new peacemakers suggested that they must leap like frogs.

Another suggested that they should roll in the dirt.

And yet another suggested that they should bend down and carry Zimbabwe on their heads.

The man whose wife had refused to be touched called his wife again and got the voice message to try again later.

He checked her WhatsApp and saw that she had been last seen at the time he had sent the voice mail to collect the children from school.

He called the school and heard that the children had been released before lunch.

He called the home land line and received no answer.

And then he called the neighbour who had suspected that his car battery had been stolen by another neighbour’s sons. 

He said, “I will shout across the durawall to see if the children are back from school. I will let you know in a minute.”

The neighbour called back to say the children were playing in the yard.

The man whose wife had refused to be touched wanted the neighbour to check on his wife but changed his mind.

And yet he did not stop wondering where she might be.

It was an awkward nagging that would not let his mind rest.

There was a clink and the man whose wife had refused to be touched sent the peace and governance graduate to unlock the reception area.

The peace and governance graduate came back shortly and said, “Pane benzi.”

The man whose wife had refused to be touched smiled and said, “Let him in.”

The street-dweller with a head as dirty as a public toilet mop walked in behind the peace and governance graduate.

And, behind the street-dweller, a greasy woman with an equally dirty mop on her head dragged a greasy sack into the office of the man whose wife had refused to be touched.

The peace and governance graduate was surprised when he looked back.

He apologised to the man whose wife had refused to be touched: “I had not seen kuti vaviri.”

The man whose wife had refused to be touched smiled and said: “It is Ok. You two can get into the other office and watch the documentary: Five Hundred Years Later, while I hear kuti this perfect couple iri kudei muno.”

As the afternoon wore on, the woman who had not wanted her children to leave the gate got into a panic mode not knowing where her only son might be.  

She pestered her only daughter to keep enquiring his whereabouts from friends.

The daughter kept going back to the video of his brother’s beating. 

And, each time she watched it, her stomach contracted with fear … the fear that at any time a strange caller might invite them to identify a body that would turn out to be her brother’s body.

The daughter prayed that the mother should never know about the beating. 

She prayed that her brother should survive.

The mother said to her only daughter: “I cannot sit still. Please take me for a walk.”

The daughter asked: “Tinoenda kupi mhamha?”

The mother answered: “Anywhere. Just anywhere. Lock up and let us go.”

And they locked up and walked away.

And they saw mapostori ari pasowe.

And the mother said to the daughter: “Let us go to them. They could give us a lead.”

The daughter complied, not wanting to complicate issues.

And they were met half-way by a man in a white shroud. 

He explained that they were stepping on sacred ground and needed to leave their shoes and all metallics behind. And they complied and joined the group.

And a prophet rose and spoke in tongues.  

He said: “Dhayaneti claw Regina kuwere!”

And he asked the woman who had not wanted her children to leave the gate to stand up.

“Muchisvika pano, Jehovah Mwari ari kudenga wanditi tarisa murandakadzi uyu kumba kwaabuda hakuna kumira zvakanaka. Hongu kana kwete?”

The woman replied: “Ihemeni iyoyo.”

To be continued…

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