2011 elections a fresh reminder of the 2008 violence

She lives in fear under Chief Kazangarare area, 60 kilometers north of Karoi town in Mashonaland West province, which has been codenamed ‘Operation zone for Zanu (PF) youth and war veterans’.

The violence in the area was believed to be led by an ex-soldier identified as Jahweti Kazangarare who is the current Zanu (PF) councillor for the area. Many villagers here said they were forced to abandon their homes as Jahweti unleashed terror on them with impunity.
Women were forced to attend meetings. Some men were accused of being Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters.  The party lost 200 of its members due to violence.
Shamiso lives in a grass thatched hut, one of the three huts on her homestead which are dilapidated.

 She opens up to Radio VOP after persuasion and assurance that her name will not be published.  She survived a gang- rape by Zanu (PF) thugs in 2008.

“I am not making up these rape allegations. My son was born after the rape by these youths. No one took responsibility although I know five of the men who were part of the gang that raped me.  They are still around.”

When Radio VOP arrived at her home to interview her, Shamiso had just been cleaning her hut. Although she is only 20 years old, she looked much older.  She wore a tattered blue dress which was dirty, probably from the work she was doing.

An orphan, since she lost her parents five years ago, Shamiso stays with her three brothers aged between nine and 14 years.

“None of the perpetrators were arrested and chances are that they will torment us again,” she said looking dejected.

“None of the perpetrators were arrested and chances are that they will torment us agaiShe said during the 2008 terror campaign, villagers were forced to flee their homes and live in the mountains.

She said one day while in the mountains, they heard a sound of a car.

“I was later told that it was a Mitsubishi truck that was being used by soldiers attached to the bloody campaigns.”

“We were vulnerable as we were forced to attend night vigils. We were raped. They never used any protection and were always drunk.”

 She said the men had a motto – ‘Comrades share everything during war’. She said several women and girls were victims of rape. Others lost their livestock such as chickens and goats, which were forcibly taken from them to feed the men at the night vigils commonly known as ‘pungwes’.

His two year old son who is a product of the rape, slept peacefully under a mango tree when Radio VOP visited.

“He has no clue of what happened. I wanted to name him Conflict but later chose a biblical name for him,” she said. 

“Why do they want more elections?” she asked. “Wounds inflicted on us are not healed yet.”

The Organ on National Healing has not done much because perpetrators of violence such as Jahweti have never asked for forgiveness to their victims.

“Jahweti hardly moves around as he used to do, but if elections come he will come out to torment us again,” said another villager.

President Robert Mugabe told his party youth supporters in Harare recently to desist from violence.

“Spare us against rape in next year elections”
Whether this will happen time will tell.

“Spare us against rape in next year elections,” pleaded Shamiso in tears.