“I don’t know if it was right or if it was not right,” Mrs Tracey Mutinhiri said in an interview on SW Radio Africa recently. She was referring to the way she and her then husband Ambrose Mutinhiri took over Waltondale Farm in Marondera in 2002. That was quite a shocking admission for a woman who is not only a mother but until last year was also a Member of Parliament and the deputy Minister of Social Welfare. An inability to determine if a mob take- over of someone’s home is right or wrong paints a damning picture of Zimbabwe’s leadership.

Answering questions put to her by Lance Guma and his listeners, Mrs Mutinhiri chuckled when she explained that because the owners of the farm had resisted being evicted from their own home, her husband: “had to do it in a revolutionary way.” Mrs Mutinhiri excused this ‘revolutionary behaviour’ by saying that her ex-husband had been a soldier – as if that made mob rule right. Unfortunately Mrs Mutinhiri was not asked if it was right or wrong that the Cartwright’s furniture was thrown out of second floor windows and smashed on the ground below. Nor was Mrs Mutinhiri asked if she thought it was right or wrong that the owners of the farm never received a cent of compensation for the state’s compulsory acquisition of their home. Asked if the fact that she was still living on the seized farm put her in a difficult position now that she had become a member of the MDC since her expulsion from Zanu PF, Mrs Mutinhiri said it did not. She said that because she had been given an ‘offer letter’ by the Zanu PF government that made it alright. Mrs Mutinhiri has obviously yet to wrestle with her own conscience about the rights and wrongs of a government giving out ‘offer letters’ for other people’s private property; or the rights and wrongs of accepting such an ‘offer letter’ knowing it is for stolen property.

The more the interview went on the more Mrs Mutinhiri exposed herself. Asked if she knew about the reports of MDC activists, members and supporters being murdered and their bodies dumped in Marondera’s Wenimbi Dam between the two elections in 2008, Mrs Mutinhiri admitted that she did and that this was common knowledge in the district. Mrs Mutinhiri said you could visit any homestead in the province and hear stories of how people’s loved ones had disappeared into the depths of the dam. Mrs Mutinhiri did not explain why she had not spoken out at the time about the mass murders or of bodies being dumped; murders of people living in her own constituency. Instead she sidestepped the question saying that she feared for her own life and suggested she would have also been killed and dumped in the water if she had used the road going past Wenimbe Dam.

Mrs Mutinhiri said that after she was expelled from Zanu PF she decided to join the MDC because she “respected the core values” of the party. She did not explain why she had remained silent during all of the years when murder, torture and bloodshed have been going on all around her. Mrs Mutinhiri did not explain why she remained silent and inactive when hundreds of farm workers in her own constituency were being burned out of their homes and left unemployed and destitute in the forests and hills around Marondera. Throughout her interview with Lance Guma, Mrs Mutinhiri offered neither remorse nor acceptance of guilt, by commission or omission. And the MDC have embraced her?