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Spare a thought for rural women this election period

29 Mar 2018 at 06:58hrs | Views
Zimbabwe goes into elections within the next six months. The country has experienced violent election periods since the year 2000 when the Movement for Democratic Change party was formed. The elections have been bloody consisting of torture ,murder and rape mostly in vulnerable communities (mining towns, farming areas, rural areas and some high density suburbs ). 2008 is recorded as the most violent election year so far where hundreds of people lost their lives, some were left disabled and others were raped and as a result contracted

HIV/AIDS. The wounds are still fresh in the victims' minds as no counselling services were ever offered and provided by the state. The perpetrators of these hideous crimes are well known but after 10 years they have gone unpunished and are still free to roam the streets under the protection of the ruling Zanu PF party.

The 2018 elections in Zimbabwe have all the ingredients of being violent again.The military junta disposed former president Robert Mugabe who was so feared for his ruthlessness in rural areas. The current Zanu PF government led by Emmerson Munangangwa will use the military to campaign and the mere fact that the military removed the feared Robert Mugabe from power is enough to put fear in our rural communities. The military uniform is feared mostly by the women since the days of the liberation struggle. Most of our girls and women were given to liberation soldiers during the war to provide sexual favours as a form of relieving the stress that the comrades fighting the liberation war were experiencing.Many of these sex relief sessions were not voluntary and some of the women are still experiencing bouts of depression as a result of the trauma that they experienced during that time. Soon after the country attained independence in 1980 again the military was used to silence the so called dissidents in the Matebeleland region.Women were raped by the 7th brigade and this rape was used as a weapon of intimidation to get information of who the dissidents were.

Then in the 2008 election rerun women and girls suspected of being sympathetic to the opposition MDC party faced violence in what was known as bases. These bases were created to torture and intimidate suspected opposition activists. The hand of the soldiers in the 2008 violence was very visible. What happened in these bases was horrific and on a personal level I believe Zimbabweans need to take Mugabe to the International Criminal Court.

The women in the rural areas are currently working in the fields, working so hard in order to feed their families with the agriculture produce that they harvest. However when the rainy season ends the election season will begin 'mukadzi haana zororo/ umfazi akaphumuli this year. Women will be force marched to campaign rallies during the day whilst at night secret community meetings will be held. The forced rally campaigns have become the norm in some areas such that no one bats an eyelash when they happen. The night meetings are the most dangerous political gatherings and one shudders to think what the agendas in these meetings will be. This year the military will lead such midnight 'pungwes' and our young women/girls will be exposed to these habitual rapists.

Women will be exposed to physical violence , sexual assaults and rape all in the name of votes, voting mostly for male candidates who will do nothing to improve the welfare of women after winning the election. Very few female candidates will participate as Members Of Parliament councillors or as presidents and some of our power hungry fellow women will be at the fore front in leading the abuse of other women. I say pasi/phansi with such women who sell their hearts to the devil in order to gain political power. I expect fellow women politicians to protect other women by refusing to participate in such activities and also highlighting any instances of abuse towards women that they hear of.

In conclusion I would want to urge rural women to learn how to stand up for their rights and fight back peacefully. Let us stand in solidarity with our fellow women and fight on their behalf. I also urge men from all levels of society to protect their mothers ,sisters and all vulnerable women. Protecting vulnerable women is fighting for human rights. The 2018 election violations against women should be exposed by using alternative media / social platforms like FACEBOOK , TWITTER and whatsapp. The majority of these political sexual predators fear exposure so we encourage people to take pictures if they can or write articles or short notes highlighting any violent incidents against women. 2018 tikabatana /sibambane we women will defend ourselves

Makho-Presious Moyo is a human rights and political activists . for more information suggestions and critics of my articles contact email makhoprecious@gmail.com
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Makho Precious Moyo is a free spirit and expresses his mind freely. For views and comments get in touch at email: makhoprecious@gmail.com

Source - Makho-Precious Moyo
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