Zimbabweans, and my readers from all over the world, take a good look at the photo above. This is what a two year old toddler looks like.
A boy just like the sweet little kid above is imprisoned right now in one of Zimbabwe's most brutal and notorious prisons. His name is Nigel Mupfuranhehwe. His crime is that his mother is being charged with recruiting "bandits" to topple the government of Robert Mugabe. Zimbabwe lawyers who are representing his mother and the other accused in the case say that this little child has been beaten in front of his mother to get her to confess.
Imprisoning a two year old in a maximum security prison together with murderers and rapists and some of the worst kinds of people on earth boggles the mind. I do not know how the government of Robert Mugabe is justifying this cruelity to itself, but I am more shocked at our own reaction, our silence and complicity in all this.
Where is our sense of outrage, Zimbabwe? Where is our humanity? In all the hundreds of thousands of column inches written about the Jestina Mukoko abduction and trial, this toddler is but a footnote in only a handful of them. He lies there on the cold floor of one Zimbabwe's most notorious prisons every day and night, forgotten by a world that is screaming very loudly for a 50 plus year old woman (Jestina) to be freed.
He can not speak up for himself. And if the stories from the lawyers are true, he is puzzled as he is beaten by strangers, not knowing what crime he committed to deserve this. He sees his mother, whom he instinctively considers his protector, watch helplessly while he is being beaten. I would like to believe that these stories about the child being beaten are false, because the inhumanity of that would simply be too much, even for Mugabe's government. But we can not be sure until we see him physically, until he is examined by doctors to see whether he really was beaten or not.
Regardless, it is the height of inhumanity to keep an innocent 2 year old toddler in conditions such as exist at Chikurubi Maximum Secuirty Prison where he is beng kept.
I ask you: how do you think this experience will shape this child as he grows up? What do you think he will grow up thinking of a world that kept silent even as he suffered all this? Will he ever forgive us? If you are a believer, then I ask, Will God ever forgive us? Did He not say "suffer the little children"? Is this what he meant?
I ask that we at least do something: Please leave your name in the comments section of this article (below). Just your name. We will put the all the names together and present them to Mr Tomana, the Attorney General of Zimbabwe, asking that the child be given access to Child Welfare agents immeditely and freed from that prison.
This has been eating away at me and this is the only thing I can think of doing immediately. I should like to think that his jailers also have children. Let us put in this appeal and telll the world about the plight of this little two year old.
Let us keep at it. If anyone else out there wants to start a petition as well please do so and we will consolidate the list of names for presentation to the AG. Let us give ourselves a week in which to do this. So, on Thursday 15 January, we should have a consolidated list that we will put together and seek to deliver to the Attorney General in Zimbabwe calling for this little boy to be released. I hope you put your name down. Better still, I hope you start your own lists. If you do, please submit here, or get in touch so that we can coordinate our efforts.
PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION BY LEAVING YOUR NAME IN THE COMMENTS FORM BELOW.
Democracy Video Challenge: Win An Expenses Paid Trip to The USA
On another note, the State Department in the United States of America launched a video competition on September 15 last year (the day Zimbabwe's leaders signed the power-sharing deal, coincidentally).
You will have to do a short video completing the sentence: "Democracy is....."
The prize is an all expenses paid trip to the USA, visiting several American cities, including Washington D.C. and Hollywood, where you will attend gala screenings of the winning videos.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: SUCCESS, EVERYBODY!!! THE BOY HAS NOW BEEN RELEASED. THE ZIMBABWE LAYWER BEATRICE MTETWA CONFIRMED TO ME A FEW MINUTES AGO (TODAY BEING WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 14 2008) THAT THE BABY WAS "TAKEN AWAY" FROM THE PRISON YESTERDAY, AFTER THE ATTORNEY GENERAL GOT ASHAMED OF THE COVERAGE THIS ATROCITY IS GETTING AL OVER THE WORLD SINCE I STARTED THIS PETITION ON THURSDAY LAST WEEK.
HE ASKED THE LAWYERS TO ASK TO ARRANGE FOR "SOMEONE" TO COME AND "TAKE HIM AWAY", WHICH WAS DONE YESTERDAY. I AM STILL TO GET INFORMATION ON WHO EXACTLY TOOK HIM, BECAUSE BEATRICE MTETWA, THE LAWYER REPRESENTING THE ACCUSED "BANDITS", WHO INCLUDE NIGEL'S MOTHER, SAYS IT IS STILL UNCLEAR AT THE MOMENT WHO EXACTLY TOOK HIM AWAY. THANKS FOR YOUR CONCERN AND I WILL KEEP YOU UPDATED ON WHO EXACTLY HAS THE BABY NOW. I DOUBT THE MOTHER WOULD HAVE RELEASED HIM TO PEOPLE SHE DOES NOT KNOW.