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ZCP Central Committee condemns ZANU PF sponsored abuse against women

by ZCP
22 May 2020 at 15:18hrs | Views
Three recent incidents involving the beating of 6 women by police and army unmask not only the patriarchal nature of the Zimbabwean society but also, the reluctance of government to take disciplinary measures against gender based violence perpetrators and even going to the extent of apportioning the victims' fault! This behavior indicates without a doubt government's approval of violence against women as a political tool.

Although these incidents are recent, there is a long history of female abuse both within society in general and politically. ZANU veteran, Fay Chung has highlighted the abuse of young women in the ZANLA camps in her writings. Another struggle stalwart, Judith Todd, was raped by a Major Mutambara for daring to complain about atrocities during Gukurahundi. These atrocities include not only widespread rape, but also the ripping open of pregnant women. The rape is testified to in Judith Todd's book, Through the Darkness.

The rape culture of Gukurahundi was again repeated in 2008, in the atrocities against peasants across communities who had dared for the first time to vote MDC. The culture of violent and sexist behavior is not confined to ZANU(PF). Trudy Stevenson, a founder member of MDC and for a time the only white female Member of Parliament, following the split from MDC by Morgan Tsvangirai, was violently attacked by MDC-T members led by Member of Parliament Timothy Mabhawu, leaving the frail and elderly lady with multiple injuries including a broken arm and panga cuts.

We have heard of the wanton use of state security during the matrimonial battles between both the vice presidents and their spouses, with vice president Mohadi alleged to threatened his wife with an axe while vice president Chiwenga is alleged to have used security details to prevent Mary Chiwenga from accessing their children without a court order.
More recently, both Thokozani Khupe and Linda Masarira have been subjected to the most vile sexist insults for daring to challenge Nelson Chamisa's leadership of the MDC. The use of sexist or tribalist language cannot be condoned, however much we disagree with a person's political views.

The recent spate of attacks on women started in Bulawayo. It is alleged that two sisters, Nokuthula and Ntombizodwa Mpofu were leaving the Pick n' Pay Supermarket in Cowdray Park when a policeman lashed out with his truncheon breaking Ntomizodwa's phone. This was on 16th April 2020. When the women complained they were handcuffed, arrested and taken to the police station where they were beaten over an extended period and verbally abused. Six police officers, Tichaona Zariro, Christabel Munyondo, Elizabeth Denhere, Patson Gumoreyi, Zibusiso Masuku and Simbarashe Bvekwa have now been arrested for the incident with Tichaona Zariro being named as the principle assailant. It is alleged that the women were subjected to verbal abuse on the basis of their Ndebele ethnicity, on their gender and on their light complexion. In mainly Ndebele-speaking Bulawayo, there are frequent complaints about the tribalistic attitudes of many Shona-speaking police officers who feel obliged to deliberately incite ethnic hatred and potential violence between different sections of the population. This must stop!

The ZCP stands firm in recognizing the ethnic diversity of the Zimbabwean people as spelt out in the Constitution of the Republic of Zimbabwe.

Lawyers for Human Rights acting on behalf of the two Bulawayo women have criticized the sloppy attitude of those responsible for arresting the police officers involved. For instance there was no identification line-up. Such sloppiness can lead to an acquittal on technical grounds. It has also been alleged that a senior police officer was also involved.
On 13th May 2020, MDC Alliance MP Joana Mamombe together with two other women, MDC Youth leaders Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova, was abducted by masked men following a demonstration against the ill-treatment faced by the poor during Lockdown.

Abducted on a Wednesday near the National Sports Stadium in Harare, they were only found on the following Friday after being dumped from a moving car at Muchapondwa shops in Musana, Bindura South, 80 km away.

The women reported that during their ordeal they were forced to drink each others' urine and eat each others faeces and had a gun forced into their private parts.

After the women were hospitalized, men posing as forensic photographers came into the hospital and took photos of their naked bodies. These pictures were posted on social media where the badly abused women were referred to as ‘porn stars'.

Meanwhile, Minister of Justice Ziyambi Ziyambi maintained that the women were arrested normally for holding an illegal demonstration during Lockdown and claimed that they had staged their own abduction. The highly eccentric Deputy Minister of Information claimed in a tweet that the three abducted women were prostitutes who got into a scuffle with their clients over payment. Having for some time been an embarrassment to ZANU(PF), Mutodi has now been fired.

The abduction of these three women was followed up on 16th May 2020 by an assault by one man in military uniform and others in plain clothes on Moreblessing Nyambara, National Secretary for Gender and Welfare in the Amalgamated Rural Teachers' Union (ARTUZ) for releasing a video on social media in sympathy with the abducted and abused women. Beaten all over her body her arm was also broken and a tooth loosened.

The Zimbabwe Communist Party has taken time to release a full statement recognizing the abuse of women in society as a whole and in other political formations as well as by government agencies. However, we would expect government to be ahead of society in general in terms of its treatment of women ― but instead, ZANU(PF) and its government is leading in terms of violence against women.
The Zimbabwe Communist Party demands the arrest and trial of these perpetrators of violence and the compensation of victims.
Statement by the Central Committee of the Zimbabwe Communist Party.

Bongani Mazwi Mkwananzi - National Secretary for Information & Publicity | +27 73 984 0241
Loreen Ncube - Deputy National chairperson | +263 71 656 6381
Ngqabutho Nicholas Mabhena - General Secretary | 083 340 1000

Source - ZCP
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