Action against political violence against women in Zimbabwe
December 8, 2010 7 Comments
The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), a Zimbabwean NGO that campaigns for a democratic and people-driven constitutional process in Zimbabwe, has announced the launch of a regional campaign, “Act Now Against Political Violence”. The campaign will focus on the use of politically motivated violence with impunity against women in Zimbabwe, especially the systematic political use of rape by the Zimbabwean police and military, as well as by ZANU-PF’s youth league, on members of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The regional campaign will be launched in Braamfontain on Friday 10 December, a week after the campaign was originally launched in Zimbabwe by the NCA and the trade union and student’s movements. Lovemore Madhuku, the NCA’s Chairperson, will deliver the key note address.
According to a press release from the NCA, the campaign “seeks among other things to tap into the regional experience to address the scourge of political violence as the country approaches yet another election by raising awareness, building support structures, name and shame perpetrators as well as capacitating women and communities at large to deal with the scourge at two levels: prevention and support for victims”.
The use of politically motivated violence has previously escalated as elections in Zimbabwe have drawn nearer, and has been used by ZANU-PF to frighten MDC-members from actively participating in the election process. The campaign attempts to prevent this from happening at the upcoming elections in 2011 by focusing on and systematically documenting and revealing the perpetrators. The MDC is technically part on the Zimbabwean coalition government together with ZANU-PF but the present constitution leaves most of the power to run Zimbabwe in the hands of the executive president, ZANU-PF’s Robert Mugabe. ZANU-PF also controls vital ministries, such as the Ministery of Justice and Legal Affairs, Home Affairs, Defense and State for National Security.
In Denmark, a donor conference will be held, also on 10 December, where the situation in Zimbabwe, and future donor strategies towards the country, will be discussed. The Zimbabwe Group of Africa Contact has, so far unsuccessfully, attempted to engage the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation, Søren Pind, in the subject of politically motivated violence against women in Zimbabwe. He did comment on the issue generally to Danish news portal, Modkraft, recently however. “Rape is not a separate item on the donor conference agenda, but we will discuss the political situation and process, and therefore political violence in all its forms, within this context”.
Africa Contact’s Zimbabwe Group’s campaign site
Africa Contact’s Zimbabwe Group’s Facebook site
Short film on politically motivated rape in Zimbabwe (in Danish)
NCA engages SADC to fight ZANU-PF violence, Daily News, 8 December 2010
Vil stoppe politisk motiverede voldtægter i Zimbabwe, Modkraft, 3 December 2010
Electing to rape: Sexual Terror in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, Aids-Free World, December 2009