In Zimbabwe, injured members of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were prevented over the weekend from traveling to neighboring South Africa to seek medical treatment. Meanwhile, MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said he was attacked by unidentified armed men at the airport. He was on his way to attend an African, Caribbean, Pacific, and European Union meeting in Belgium, but was hastily admitted to a Zimbabwe hospital, where doctors suspect he has a fractured skull and a swollen brain.
Reached by phone by the Voice of America, Chamisa says he blames President Robert Mugabe’s government for the attack.
“I always go to these meetings every year, and of course this is my first meeting this year. The government knows I was supposed to be traveling; they never indicated that they don’t want me to travel. So I proceeded to the airport. I was encircled by about eight armed men and they started beating me with iron bars. And of course I have to seek urgent medical attention,” he said.
Chamisa sheds light on the doctor’s diagnosis.
“I’m being told by the doctor that there are three problems: the first one is, I have a swollen brain. I think it’s because of the shock. And the second one is a fractured skull, I think, because of the beating. Then, the third one is a swollen eye because I cannot see now. I can only see with one eye. So they are saying they will try to attend to it tomorrow,” Chamisa explained.
He says he did not report the attack to the police because he believed it would be futile.
“In this country, reporting or no reporting is the same. Even if you report, you would actually be beaten up or be arrested further. So there is no point in reporting. It’s just a waste of time… so only God knows and I believe that justice would one day prevail,” Chamisa noted.
He says the MDC’s overall program has always been peaceful.
“Our agenda has always been a noble one. Our agenda has always been to save our country. We believe in a new Zimbabwe, which would be characterized by freedom for everyone and justice. And until we do that, we are all going to be handcuffed by the ruling administration, and that is why we are continuing to fight,” he said.
Chamisa said the opposition would remain resolute no matter the difficulties.
“We might lose our place. They might break our bones and do whatever they want. But our spirit will always be strong and unshaken till the main fight is won,” he said.