Paying the price

Service for torture victims
John Makumbe, vigil supporter Arthur Mude, and Chenjerai Hove.

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Musicians: Harriet, Fungayi and Sam

“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 Garden 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.
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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