Activist state

Haunted out of the country by bloodthirsty state agents… The story of opposition activist Maradza – ZimEye

Haunted out of the country by bloodthirsty state agents… The story of opposition activist Maradza

By Jane Mlambo| Like many other educated young Zimbabweans, Washington Maradza (36) from Masvingo dreamed of seeing a better Zimbabwe where everyone had equal opportunities.

A brilliant student at Solusi University in Matabeleland North, Maradza has pledged to stay put and help build the country’s post university.

He soon realized that it was all an exercise in futility, with the high levels of Deep State patronage, corruption and looting, he believes.

In 2008, Maradza told himself that the only way to change the status quo was to join the MDC opposition then led by Morgan Tsvangirai.

“In 2009, I was elected Youth Coordinator at Solusi University and I also later formed a youth lobby group called Youths For Change which advocated for respect for human rights through the regime in place, among others,” he said.

The pressure group staged a number of successful protests against human rights abuses which subsequently undermined the ruling regime.

“Our actions had become very popular with state security officers and ZANU PF watchdogs as I was one of the leaders of the opposition MDC party then the deputy mobilization team. President Dr Thokozani Khupe,” Maradza said.

He had helped mobilize support to turn the metropolitan province of Bulawayo and other parts of Matebeland provinces into a political opposition stronghold that swung votes in subsequent elections against the ruling party.

“‘At the end of 2016, I noticed a number of unregistered vehicles following us, it was either a white Mazda BT-50 double cab, a Nissan hard body or sometimes an Isuzu double cab and these two vehicles did not had no license plates.

“I tried to inform my immediate superiors in the opposition party, who then encouraged me to be on high alert as these bloodsucking state agents were doing no good. That’s when I brought up the idea of ​​fleeing to China,” he said.
In 2017, a faction of the ruling ZANU PF, aided by the military, staged a coup against strongman and longtime dictator Robert Mugabe.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, then became president with promises to end the injustices and human rights abuses that occurred during the Mugabe era.

However, Mnangagwa has become worse than Robert Mugabe with the continued arbitrary arrests of opposition political activists, detention without trial, killings and torture of political leaders and opposition activists.

He then returned around 2022, but as soon as word of his presence filtered down to state agents, they again set out to find him.

So, with the continued incarceration and persecution and eventual physical elimination of opposition activists under the regime of Emmerson Mnangagwa, and having lost his brother to state security, escaping the country again became the only solution for Maradza.