2008 Election Violence Victims Stir Emotions

Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe, Co- Minister of Home Affairs Theresa Makone, Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC) co-chairpersons Thabitha Khumalo and Oppah Muchinguri could not hold back tears when the women narrated their ordeals at a meeting organised by a local NGO to expose policy makers to violence against women.

The four women politicians, seated next to each other could be seen battling to hold back tears.

The testimonies by the women, some of whom broke down while testifying, were so touching that it elicited angry responses from the women.

Makone said she will work to make sure that the perpetrators of the acts of violence against the women are brought to book.

“These people are not different from murderers they must stay in jail that’s where they belong. I don’t think there is any political party that will send anyone to and rape on its behalf. Raping someone is like killing them and it should not be allowed to happen in Zimbabwe,” said Makone.

Khupe said she will approach President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to end sexual violence against women.

“I will make sure that the President and Prime Minister know about your problems,” said Khupe.

Khumalo said perpetrators must be arrested and punished severely.

Muchinguri said it was sad that “rape is being used as a political tool” against women in politics.

The testimonies also touched Chief Charumbira who immediately called for the removal of bail on any rape suspect.

“I don’t understand why rape suspects should be given bail. I don’t understand why some rape convicts should be given 5 years, 10 years and others 57 years. Rape is rape and if it means one should get 57 years let that be the standard,” he said.

Perpetrators of the 2008 election violence have never been brought to book and victims of violence have not received any compensation.