Rape – a Mugabe weapon: Vigil

Women from the Vigil took part in a programme to mark International Women’s Day last Thursday. Led by management team member Josephine Zhuga, they danced, sang and drummed at a well-attended event in London.

Teacher Bev sacrifices her hair to mark Women’s Day.
Teacher Bev sacrifices her hair to mark Women’s Day.

A majority of the Zimbabweans turning up for the Vigil outside the Embassy in London every Saturday are women and many of them have been victims of sexual abuse. Josephine, an official speaker at the event, told the audience how rape was used as a form of political control in Zimbabwe. Her message reinforced a speech made in Geneva that day by Steven Lewis of the organization Aids-Free World at a UN Human Rights Council meeting. Lewis said his organization had gathered evidence from 70 women in Zimbabwe who had been subjected to 380 separate rapes because they supported the MDC.

“The raping was diabolical, completely without conscience, merciless in its ferocity, committed by members of Mugabe’s Youth Corps and War Veterans. The pattern of rape was identical and uniform in every part of the country. It was carried out in every province. There was no doubt as to its orchestration. There was no doubt that it constituted crimes against humanity.”

Mr Lewis said every country on the Security Council knew what was being done to the women of Zimbabwe but no action was being taken. Mugabe seemed to be exempt. “Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe beats them all (other countries) for the scale of oppression and rape.” He went on to warn that unless there was outside intervention the same horrific abuses would be perpetrated in the elections Mugabe has insisted on this year.

Josephine told the Vigil she had heard that two MDC ministers, Nelson Chamisa and Theresa Makone, had warned people in the UK against going back to Zimbabwe and confirmed that the MDC had no real power in government. The two attended an MDC UK meeting in Birmingham recently but few details have been released except that Makone had a meeting with the UK Immigration Minister Damian Green to ask him to suspend deportations until after the elections. “Tsvangirai, himself, says he will never be allowed to take power. Why doesn’t Mrs Makone point out to the UK that any woman sent back to Zimbabwe will be subject to rape. The evidence is there.’

Post published in: World News

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