"Chiyadzwa Diamond Massacre and June 27 Run-off Victims Buried in Chitungwiza"?

Shallow graves can be seen clearly in the foreground in this picture I took earlier this evening. In the background are "normal graves" where people continue to be buried.

In the first photo, at the very top, you can see the sort of grave into which these bodies were put. They are the "pre-graves", dug by council employees at cemeteries just as a start. Normally, those burying their loved ones would deepen the grave considerably before burial, but it was not the case here. The bodies were dumped into these "pre-graves". In the same photo right at the top, you can also clearly see the surgical masks and gloves discarded by the prisoners who buried them there.

One April night, just a few weeks back, a tipper truck arrived at Unit L Cemetery in Chitungwiza.

It was accompanied by a truckload of prisoners, who all disembarked and were handed gloves and surgical masks as well as picks and shovels. 

Shortly, bodies started being offloaded from the back of the tipper truck and thrown into the graves. No coffins.

Eighty five bodies are now buried at the Unit L Cemetery in Chitungwiza, a satellite town of Harare, the Capital of Zimbabwe.

The bodies were piled two or three into a row of shallow, knee-length graves. There are thirty seven of these shallow graves in all.

Sources say the 85 bodies belong to victims of the Chiadzwa diamond fields massacre as well as some victims of the June 27 presidential election run-off horrific violence.

The 85 bodies were allegedly buried by prisoners and the masks and gloves they wore during the grisly act have been dumped into another shallow hole, which nobody has bothered to cover up. The masks and gloves were still visible when I visited the place today.

The row of shallow graves is unmistakable at the Unit L Cemetery.

It says a lot about the sense of impunity that pervades Zimbabwe when things like this happen in an urban area.

But in a way, it makes sense. Traditionally, chiefs out in the rural areas would rather die than accept the bodies of strangers into the ground over which they preside. It would the scariest thing they can do and no spirit medium would let a chief like that off the hook.

This explains why the burials had to be in town.

The bodies had been turned away from Mutare and from Marondera by the Mayors of the town, according to very reliable sources. Residents of Unit L in Chitungwiza are aware of the presence of these graves and are up in arms against their own MDC-T mayor for allowing the bodies to be brought there.

Within two days, the whole neighbourhood near the Cemetery was filled with the stench of rotting human flesh, according to residents who live nearby.

I also understand that, this week, there are plans to put up a tarred road over the shallow graves, which are buried in the middle of the cemetery. The new road would simply look like an access road for cars and people, flanked by proper graves on either side.

MDC-T officials in the area also fear that the more 40 MDC-T activists who the opposition can not account for and who disappeared last year may well be part of the group.

Since coming into government, the MDC-T has pressed for information on where the missing activists are, but the police say they have no idea.

Residents of the area, some no doubt with hyperactive imaginations, now say that they see strange lights rising into the sky over the cemetery late at night and are very upset with the Mayor of the City for allowing the bodies to be buried there, especially since they had been turned away from Mutare and Marondera.

It would require more resources than are available to a blogger to unravel this whole thing. 

But what is not in doubt is that there are 37 shallow graves at Unit L Cemetery in Chitungwiza some with three and others with two bodies in them that are about to be tarred over.

Hopefully, the MDC-T will push for an explanation on this particular incident and give us all an official position, otherwise.......


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