Mugabe victory brings wave of intimidation against women activists

via CSMoniter – Mugabe victory brings wave of intimidation against women activists

Johannesburg

An election victory by Robert Mugabe and his party usually means trouble for opposition supporters in Zimbabwe, especially those living in remote rural areas.

Following results of the July 31 disputed polls that saw Mr. Mugabe and his Zanu PF party shock the opposition with a two-thirds majority, a long-running tradition of post-election violence has returned.

International human rights group Amnesty International raised the first alarm last week, after some villagers, most of them women, were forced to flee their homes in Mashonaland Central Province, following alleged retributive violence from Mugabe supporters.

More and more villagers in rural Mashonaland, along with Zimbabweans in the capital, Harare, have been internally displaced on accusations that they either supported or voted for challenger Morgan Tsvangirai and his opposition MDC party.

Mugabe and his allies accuse the opposition of being “Western puppets,” created to effect an “illegal” change of regime in the landlocked southern African nation, a charge denied by Mr. Tsvangirai.

The MDC said this week that hundreds of its supporters were facing intimidation and torture, while others had been displaced after the polls. Tsvangirai last week launched a court challenge to have the election nullified and a fresh one announced in 90 days,

The allegations of intimidation have been confirmed by Amnesty International and other human rights groups inside and outside the country.

“Women political activists in rural Zimbabwe told Amnesty they had been threatened with violence and forced to flee with their children for refusing to reveal their vote to supporters of Robert Mugabe’s party during harmonized elections,” said Noel Kututwa, Amnesty International’s deputy director for Africa.

The women allegedly resisted instructions from Zanu PF members to feign illiteracy, blindness, or physical injury, which would have allowed someone else to mark the ballots on their behalf. The Zimbabwe Election Commission, the official body, last week said that more than 200,000 civilians had been “assisted” in casting their ballot, implying it was irregular.

At least six women, accompanied by more than a dozen children, said they were forced to leave their homes after facing intimidation from village heads in Mukumbura district, Mashonaland Central Province, soon after the July 31 poll.

Mugabe supporters apparently wanted to ensure these women did not vote for the other parties and tried to compromise the secrecy of the ballot, said the Amnesty official.

The numbers of “assisted” votes were significant in rural areas for reasons that included illiteracy even though Zimbabwe has a literacy rate above 90 percent, the highest level in Africa.

Numerous families in the Mukumbura district are living under threats of violence. Cases of threats are reported in the Mberengwa and the Midlands regions; the latter area is where an MDC political candidate was forced to flee her home with three children last weekend.

Violence and intimidation have been reported even in constituencies where Mugabe won the elections, as the party made sure it “converts” all opposition supporters.

More threats have been reported in the Midlands, where Emmerson Mnangagwa, one of Mugabe’s possible successors, won an election for the first time in three tries.

“MDC officials and perceived supporters of our party are being visited during the night and threatened, being accused of being sellouts,” said Fransisco Masendeke, the MDC’s deputy chair for Midlands South.

That area saw considerable violence in the runup to the presidential election re-run of 2008, when Zanu (PF) terrorized suspected MDC supporters by amputating their hands. This has hardly been forgotten. Victims were asked if they preferred a “long sleeve” – an amputation from the shoulder – or a “short sleeve,” a wrist amputation.

Amnesty had challenged the Zimbabwean police to guarantee the safety of political activists in rural areas following increased reports of politically motivated displacements.

Such calls have failed to solicit a positive response from the Zimbabwe Republic Police, whose commissioner-general, Augustine Chihuri, publicly proclaimed his support for Mugabe and his party. The police are also accused of playing a part in the violence.

Bishop Paul Verryn, who assists more than 2500 Zimbabwean refugees at the Central Methodist Church in Johannesburg, reported an increased number of new arrivals before and after the vote.

“More and more people are coming here and they say they are running away from violence,” said Mr. Verryn.

 

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 9
  • comment-avatar
    zimbo 7 years ago

    Typical zanu cowards.What kind of person treats women and children like this?

    • comment-avatar
      Zimguard80 7 years ago

      Cowards of the worst order who shamelessly terrorise woman & children yet they claim to be the winners. If he,Robert Mugabe, has by now managed to convince himself that he won this election, it’s time he call his marauding gangs to order and leave people alone. Why does this soiled, old, clueless, bloody thirsty vampire, ruthless dictator hide behind electoral processes when he doesn’t want them? Events are bound to take a disastrous turn that’ll even take the criminal cabal by surprise. You push people in a corner with nowhere to go, guaranteed they’ll fight back. Once they realise they’ve nothing to lose, then the dictatorship which relies on security personnel that identifies with the oppressed people will standby and watch because they also want freedom. Why terrorise losers if you claim a victory of the magnitude of a tsunami? It’s simple, you stole it which the same magnitude of a destructive tsunami which even surprised you, Robert Mugabe, those you hired to rig went all out to expose you as the greatest shameless rigger of elections in SADC, Africa and the world over!!! Shameless at 89, clueless as ever before you dream you’re the people’s choice, which people do you represent Grandpa? SADC & AU are being exposed here by this shameless thief fighting a useless and pointless counter productive self preservation game. Endorsement of this election calls for a closer scrutiny on all the sitting governments within the SADC block, chief amongst the questions is, (1) Do they also rig elections in their respective countries?
      (2) Why are SADC quick to recognise the electoral theft when they failed to push all the reforms that were the basis of GNU? (3) Is Zuma now afraid of Robert Mugabe’s hit squads, as amply demonstrated by his apologies to Mugabe when he owed him none?
      (4) Why is Zuma protecting the release of a ZANU – pf dossier incriminating the same electoral thieving Robert Mugabe?
      (5) Is it fatigue on the part of Zuma & SADC?
      (6) Is SADC & AU devoid of principled men and women at Heads of States level that they’ll bury their heads in shame an let history record them as shameless and spineless cowards?

      SADC & AU like all useless organisations before you, your reputation is at stake!!! You lose nothing by calling a spade a spade, not stooping so low to say its a teaspoon going through a transformation.

  • comment-avatar
    Guvnor 7 years ago

    The days of mindless zanu muppets abusing Zimbabwean citizens are numbered!

  • comment-avatar
    Mashinga P 7 years ago

    Are you saying ZPF days are numbered or the other way round. Myself, my wife, my three children and our 10 farm workers voted for ZPF without intimidation. After the vote my workers came to inquire if me had worn. A sweat victory. Dont you know that more than 70% of the former Aliens are illiterate. They needed assistance and remember its their constitutional right. Why do people continue to say we were intimidated, why do you under rate our intelligence, some of us are MBAs. Please stop mocking us we voted for ZPF

    • comment-avatar
      furedi 7 years ago

      there is another one exposing himself. MDC Take note, these workers were obviously shown where to put their X otherwise how does mashinga know that they voted for zpf.You must be one of those farmers that are still new after 13years.Enjoy your ‘SWEAT” victory because you might be running soon. ndatokuudza hokoyo. tiri ku uya.

    • comment-avatar
      Zimguard80 7 years ago

      You’re a complete idiot by your own admission you mentally challenged zanuoid. Typical zanu – pf greenbomber, how did you know that your wife, 3 children and all your farm workers voted for Zanu-pfubvu? They all voted your zanu because you demanded to see how they had voted, you’re that confident because you were part of the rigging instruments. You go on to say I’ve MBA nyonyoro-nyonyoro, you can’t impress anyone you zombie.You’ve no intelligence to talk about since yours was a “sweat victory” it could’ve been bloody were it not for the observers.

  • comment-avatar
    furedi 7 years ago

    MBA KODO.When you dont know how to spell sweet.URI DANDA!

    • comment-avatar
      Zimguard80 7 years ago

      Kikikiki tell this shindi to go eat grass in his farm with his wife and 3 unfortunate children.

  • comment-avatar
    zimbo 7 years ago

    Well said peoples, tell it like it is.Pasi ne zanu.