“Mugabe must pay for his sins” said the Zimbabwean academic and human
rights campaigner John Makumbe at a church service in London in solidarity
with torture victims in Zimbabwe. Makumbe told the gathering in the historic
St Paul’s Church in Covent Gar

den that the Zimbabwean regime had invented
new forms of torture, new methods of inflicting pain. He went on: “There is
a price to pay for freedom and Zimbabweans are paying the price”. Makumbe
said that one day soon there would be a Truth and Reconciliation Commission
under which those who had committed atrocities would be called to account,
with justice.

The service marked the United Nations International Day in Support of
Victims of Torture and was conducted by the Rev Graham Shaw, a
Methodist Minister formerly from Bulawayo now in Cumbria who said torture is now
considered routine in Zimbabwe but there would be a day of accounting.
He said by our mere presence at the service we had shown that the
suffering in Zimbabwe had not gone unnoticed and that another Zimbabwe was possible.

Brita Sydhoff, the Secretary General of the International
Rehabilitation Council for Victims of Torture said that in the past six years 25,000
human rights violations in Zimbabwe have been documented and the situation
was worsening. Ms Sydhoff said she wanted to record her respect for the
dignity and courage of those suffering in Zimbabwe.

The Zimbabwean poet and writer, Chenjerai Hove, said he had cried when
he had seen pictures of the brutality meted out to opposition activists.

The congregation joined in lighting candles in solidarity with torture
victims, accompanied by the vibrant singing of the Zimbabwe Association
Zimbabwe Vigil Choir accompanied by Sam and Fungayi on saxophone and
Harriet on piano.

After the service, the congregation sang their way in procession to the
Zimbabwe Embassy to lay flowers on the doorstep in tribute to the
bravery of Zimbabwean torture victims.

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