Over 11 000 children affected by Zim political violence

Child victim of political violence

HARARE – More than 11 000 children have been affected by political violence

since Zimbabwe’s disputed March 29 elections, the United Nations Children’s

Fund (UNICEF) said on Wednesday.

Political violence broke out in many parts of Zimbabwe almost immediately it

became clear that opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his Movement for

Democratic Change (MDC) party had defeated President Robert Mugabe and his

ruling ZANU PF party in the March polls.

The MDC accuses Mugabe of unleashing ZANU PF militias and the army to beat

and torture Zimbabweans into backing him in a second round presidential

election on June 27 – a charge the government denies. The opposition party

says at least 50 of its supporters have been killed in the violence and

thousands more displaced.

UNICEF country representative Festo Kavishe, in a written response to

questions from ZimOnline, yesterday said the affected children, some of whom

no longer attended school after being displaced together with their

families, were in urgent need of help.

Kavishe said: “We have received reliable information that over 11 000

children have been affected by the violence and are in need of assistance.

“The children have been affected in various ways. Some have been unable to

attend school, others have been displaced together with their families, a

few have been beaten together with their mothers and many have been affected

by the psychological trauma of seeing their parents, guardians or their

teachers being beaten and humiliated in front of them.”

The UNICEF official said in the absence of appropriate and adequate

psychological support the impact of the violence on children could have

long-term negative effects well into adulthood.

The world children’s agency was working with local partners to identify

affected children and provide them with basic requirements.

Kavishe said before the outbreak of political violence, UNICEF was providing

support through NGOs to more than 180 000 orphans and other vulnerable

children. However, he added that this support was in jeopardy because

political violence made it impossible to reach out to all the needy


In addition to political violence, Zimbabwean children must also suffer the

harsh effects of a severe food crisis gripping the country for the past

eight years and an economic recession marked by the world’s highest

inflation rate that is close to a million percent according to some

estimates. – ZimOnline

Post published in: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *