Arrested for wearing yellow t-shirts, Zimbabwe youths narrate horrific ordeal

Arrested for wearing yellow t-shirts, Zimbabwe youths of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) led by Nelson Chamisa narrate their horrific ordeal at the hands of state security agents.
Wilson Chipangura, Guest Reporter

HARARE – It was on Tuesday 25th January 2022, when Advocate Nelson Chamisa delivered the sweet news Zimbabweans wanted to hear for a long time.

He waved goodbye to the ‘demonic’ MDC brand by unveiling the sparkling new Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) at a press conference in Harare.

It didn’t take time for the euphoria to hit the streets – the physical ones and proverbial internet streets. The old red was now a thing of the past after being replaced by the new colour of hope – yellow.

While almost everyone was happy, there is one group that felt the pain. The group of ruinous comrades headquartered at Jongwe offices and their acolytes.

Zanu PF was caught off guard and it relentlessly tried to unleash its tired propaganda brigade namely varakashi and state information apparatus. The plan was a catastrophic failure.

Excited by the newly found energy across the country, CCC leadership encouraged citizens to paint the nation yellow by wearing yellow apparels.

Youths who are the main drivers of the quest for a democratic change in Zimbabwe headed the call – the leading ones being five CCC members namely Erasmus Nyandoro, Tatenda Chigwada, Prince Mutebuka, Admire Sinaiti and Emmanuel Gumbo.

Walking around the streets of Harare clad in branded CCC regalia, the five jovial ‘cadres’ became the centre of attraction which irked an irate police force patrolling the capital and all hell broke loose.

“We were walking our friends from down town to 4th street where they were supposed to board commuter omnibuses to their homes. It was after we had bought our branded t-shirts and helmets so we decided to wear them,” narrates one member Admire Sinaiti.

“As we were wearing our regalia along the way, people chanted and cheered at us. Citizens were chanting “yellow, yellow” out of excitement and they even took photos,” he added.

“When we reached corner Julius Nyerere and Robert Mugabe, it was already crowded as it is always, because people board mushikashika (hitch hiking) there. Unfortunately, as we were trying to make our way through the crowded pavement that is when the police arrived in a rapid manner.”

The police who have always been used to further the interest of the Zanu PF regime pounced on the CCC members who became the first group since the unveiling of the new party to be subjected to state torture.

FILE FOOTAGE: Zimbabwe youths of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) led by Nelson Chamisa being arrested for wearing yellow

“Some of the police officers were in a Ford Ranger police vehicle and others approached us on foot.

“At first thought we didn’t panic since we were just walking peacefully, we actually thought they came to clear mushika-shika because they were the ones blocking traffic and disturbing flow of traffic,” recounted Sinaiti.

“When we heard them saying “bata bata uyo uyo” (instructing people to catch us), we then knew that they were after us.

“It happened so fast we couldn’t find each other, the area was crowded and everyone was running for his life. We tried to escape but unfortunately we were surrounded.”

The youthful CCC brigade was soon subjected to all manner of brutality, accused of being terrorist for wearing yellow.

“As soon as they caught us, they assaulted us brutally. We were being called terrorists and we were dragged and beaten with button sticks, open hands and fists.

“When we got into the car they forced us to lay on our stomachs facing down. They stepped on us and beat us up mercilessly with a dried hippo tail (referred to as muswe wemvu-u).

The police officers hurled all sorts of insults all the way to their base and called them names like mbudzi (goats), imbwa (dogs) and so forth.

“When we arrived at Harare Central, they made us sit down and beat us up thoroughly with a metal stick coated in plastic and it looked like a pick handle, the ones that are found in hardwares.

“They beat us up thoroughly while we begged for mercy and they even threatened to dissolve us in acid.

“Some of them charged at us that we were even lucky that team rinorova raenda kumba (those who specialise in beating people had gone home).”

The five CCC members were arrested together with two others caught in the ‘melee’ one of them an unnamed lady who was taking videos of the incident and a Blessing Buzezi wearing yellow.

“Amongst us was Blessing Buzezi who was caught in the crossfire since he was also wearing a yellow t-shirt and a lady who was caught taking videos of the police capturing us.

“The lady was brutally assaulted as well before being detained. She paid fine the next morning for her to be released.”

The 7 members who are nursing injuries sustained from the beating they received in the hands of the ZRP officers had to be rescued by the Zimbabwe Human Rights lawyers led by one Lynette Phiri.

“We were detained at the cells for 1 night and thanks to the lawyers who assisted us in this, we were released around 4pm after being forced to admit guilty and pay $2000 rtgs fine each.

“They charged us for disorderly conduct, criminal nuisance and obstruction of vehicles and we had no choice but to admit for the sake of our freedom.

Sinaiti denied that they were causing trouble in the capital arguing the security forces are an extension of the establishment paranoiac of the yellow colour.

“I don’t know if walking peacefully in the streets and being cheered by citizens is what they call public misconduct. An example is if Passion Java is walking down the street and citizens start cheering and chanting, would he be charged with the same charges.

“The police is the regime, in other words I would say the whole police department are Zanu PF surrogates so to them yellow is a threat. We wouldn’t be surprised of their atrocious acts because that is who they are, blood thirsty cults.

“They thought we were demonstrating but if we look at it from another perspective can 5 people demonstrate the whole capital city?” queried Sinaiti.

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