Woman gets HIV after ‘Zanu PF gang rape’

A 40-YEAR-OLD Buhera MDC-T follower has been condemned to living the rest of her life with the dreaded HIV which she contracted during a gang rape by five Zanu PF supporters on the eve of the bloody presidential run-off election 2008.

Infected with HIV after Zanu PF gang rape then deserted by her husband ... Christine Tinorirashe
Infected with HIV after Zanu PF gang rape then deserted by her husband … Christine Tinorirashe

She was being punished for daring to support “the enemy”.

The lean framed Christine Tinorirashe revealed her life-changing experience in front of hundreds of people, among them fellow political violence victims, who thronged Harare’s Anglican Cathedral, venue for Friday's UN international day in support of victims of torture.

“I am a mother of two who was raped on 26 June 2008 just before the Presidential run-off election,” said Tinorirashe in Shona.

Now using a pair of glasses after she lost her eyesight was affected during her simultaneous beating, Tinorirashe said she did not mind her real name being known.

She said she had found that speaking freely about the ordeal was another way of relieving herself of the deep frustrations she has taken as a result of the incident.

“I am in deep pain,” she said, “As a result of my rape, I was dumped by my husband together with our two children.

“During that period, it was still frightening to walk into a police station to try and report your rape or assault because you would find yourself arrested instead.

“As a result, I failed to seek help within the recommended 72 hours in which a rape victim can get the necessary assistance to avoid contracting HIV."

"For someone who now survives with HIV," she added, "I am no longer able to toil as much as I used to when I enjoyed good health, and as I said, my situation was worsened by my husband walking away from me during my hour of need."

Evidently touching the hearts of those who listened in dismay as she related her nightmare, Tinorirashe declared she will never allow the wishes of her tormentors to prevail by dumping MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

“Asi ndiripo ipapo, handisi kubva panonzi MDC. Veduwe ngatishungurudzwei asi ngatirambe takabatira pamkombero waTsvangarai (I will not leave the MDC-T. Let them terrorise us but we should never leave Morgan Tsvangiai’s party),” she said.

One of many

Tinorirashe is not alone in her ordeal.

Edson Gwenure, from Masvingo’s Zaka area, is among five MDC followers who were, during the same period, also doused with petrol and torched by suspected state agents who found them manning a party office during the tension filled period.

“Some armed men stormed the office from where we were working and gunned down two of our colleagues point blank,” Gwenure said in a quivering voice.

"They then poured 25 litres of petrol on us and set us alight while inside the office.

"We managed to escape with severe burns and were later assisted by Senator (Misheck) Marava who took us to the Counselling Service Unit where we were assisted in finding medical assistance."

Gwenure now has a scared face as a result of the burns which also devoured parts of his body.

Likewise, Eva Mushangu, another Masvingo woman, said she has been a constant Zanu PF victim since the formation of MDC in 1999.

“In 2002, my husband was burnt alive by a mob of Zanu PF supporters who invaded our home singing and making all sorts of noise,” she said.

“He was seized together with his close friend and taken to a nearby township where he was burnt in full view of everyone.

"I ran to try and seek help from the police but they told me they could not assist me on that one.

“He (husband) left me with a tough burden of fending for our children."

The widowed Zanu PF victim said that was not the end of her harsh experiences at the hands of Zanu PF militants.

“They attacked our home again in 2008 and forced us to seek refuge in the mountains for 15 days.

“I was the only women among men and we were forced to flee to different mountains as they were hot behind us.

“During the time, I did not even know if my children were still alive. I later discovered they had also fled to some of our relatives.”

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