Retired Brigadier General and former ambassador Agrippa Mutambara, also now a member of Zimbabwe People First led by Joice Mujuru raped Judith Todd , according to David Coltart’s book ,The Struggle Continues: 50 Years of Tyranny in Zimbabwe.
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Judith “Judie” Todd, the daughter of Sir Garfield Todd was a political activist from the early 1960s opposing the minority government of Ian Smith, the same Judie who was responsible for protesting and conducting mass demonstrations in in the UK against the Smith government and was arrested and detained without trial, to solitary confinement in 1972 with her father Sir Garfield Todd.
She was sent to a jail in Marondera and her father was imprisoned in Kadoma. During her imprisonment, she briefly went on hunger strike to protest their detention, but relented after enduring several incidents of force-feeding. Several weeks later, they were both released and were subsequently expelled from the country, becoming personae non-gratae due to international pressure. They were later put under house arrest at the Hokonui ranch and she relocated to London where she was among the founding members of Zimbabwe Project Trust, a humanitarian organization connected to the Roman Catholic Church, founded to help Zimbabwean refugees. This led to the formation of cooperations in Harare & Bulawayo that helped ex fighters into normal life and work, in particular those who were injured. Her exile lasted until all detentions were lifted in February 1980 under the process leading to the independence of Zimbabwe.
In 1983, Judith was responsible for exposing the Gukurahundi to the Catholic Church and international media. Judith Todd also spent late ZIPRA Commander Lookout Masuku’s last few hours with him in hospital and was a constant visitor and letter carrier for Lookout and other revolutionaries during and after the liberation struggle.
When Judith Todd found out about the Gukurahundi massacres that were happening in Matebeleland at that time, it was from the, then Catholic Bishop of Matebeleland, Bishop Karlen. He also let her father “Sir Garfield Todd” know and it was agreed that he would send copies of evidence and reports to Judith who would secure them for him until he (Sir Garfield Todd) returns from his meeting in Harare.
“People were being terrorised, starved and butchered and their property destroyed…
I rang my father to report the arrival of the documents and he gave me permission to look at them, which I immediately did. Then I wished I hadn’t. The events chronicled were far, far worse than I could have ever imagined. It seemed that the 5th brigade had gone berserk, in an orgy of violence against defenceless citizens. I felt so horrified, sick and faint that I longed to go straight home to bed but I had an important meeting.”
MEETING REX NHONGO:
Judith accidentally bumped into Justin Nyoka who was with Brigadier Aggriper Mutambara and then Zimbabwe Army Commander Lieutenant General, Rex Nhongo (Solomon Mujuru).
“I shook hands with them, sat down and we exchanged courtesies. Justin bought me a bitterly cold Castle lager. Bishop Karlen’s documents started burning in my handbag. I knew I would never have an opportunity like this again, and steeled myself to speak to Nhongo.
Perhaps Bishop Karlen thought Mugabe didn’t know about the atrocities.
Perhaps I thought that Nhongo didn’t know either. I said how wonderful it was, that we were having this meeting,as I had information about activities in Matabeleland that he might be unaware of.
I persevered and said it appeared as if the armed forces were out of control; that atrocities were being committed and that mass graves were being filled with the corpses of helpless citizens. Then I fell silent with terror. I had been noticing huge trickles of sweat pouring down Justin’s temples. He was moping his face and saying “Judy keep quiet! Judy, Keep quiet quiet” But Brigadier Mutambara intervened and say
‘No let her speak. She may know things we don’t. Let us hear what she has to say.’
Nhongo was stuttering, whether in horror or anger I couldn’t tell. I learned later that the stutter was a normal part of his speech. People passing our table kept trying to greet him and he waved them all away. He asked for specific localities. I said I would find out for him. He said he was to Matabeleland by helicopter the next day, and would send a car for me so that I could go with him and show him the mass graves….
I gave Nhongo my telephone number… Early the next morning, I telephoned Bishop Karlen and told him of my meeting with the army commander. I asked permission to copy all his documents for Nhongo. He was quiet and obviously troubled, but eventually says yes, as others, including my father, of course , had, or where about to, receive copies.
At about 9:30 I received a call from our reception area a floor below my office, to say that someone from the army was waiting for me in a car down-stairs. I scribbled a note to sister Janice McLaughlin, saying
‘The Army commander, Lt Gen Nhongo has sent a car for me.’
I put it in a sealed envelope and gave it to Morris Mtsambiwa in an adjacent office. I said calmly without further explanation, that I was going out, and he must deliver the note if I wasn’t back before our offices closed that afternoon.
REX NHONGO SENDS THE CAR:
*This is a bit sad for me to share but one must clear himself from emotions*
” On the street I found a very smart looking Brigadier Aggriper Mutambara in khakhi uniform waiting for me. He opened the passenger door at the front of the olive green army car, I climbed in and we drove away-to where or what my mind refused to consider. I greeted the brigadier and started talking, trying to act as if everything was normal. He stopped at a bottle store, went in and bought a couple bottles of beer and orange juice and then proceeded to a house, which I think, was at the Chikurubi complex. A servant let us in, not looking at us. The brigadier led me into a bedroom, opened a bottle of beer for each of us, unstrapped his firearm in its holster, laid it on the bedside table next to my head and proceeded. I did not resist. Before long the subjugation was over, he dropped me back at our offices and I tried to continue on my road precisely as if nothing had happened.”
This excerpt is taken from Judith Todd’s book – A life in Zimbabwe
The only person that Judith spoke to about this experience was retired American psychiatrist and dear friend who taught psychiatry at the University of Zimbabwe’s medical school and no one else. She then became a target for ZANU and her father, Sir Garfield Todd had to arrange a meeting with Mugabe and plead with Mugabe to guarantee that she will be spared.
Since then, she has been more comfortable to discuss the issue with the release of her book that was released in 2009.
Judith Todd deserves Heroine status, not only for saving thousands of lives during and after the struggle but also the hard work her and her father did in helping ordinary Zimbabweans and refusing to be moved by the threats by ZANU. We have a tendency of honouring people when they have passed on. Well let us honour and cherish this heroine while she is alive.