Source: SW Radio Africa
The state security sector is still actively being used by Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF to torture and oppress women in order to keep them out of the political process, a new report has revealed. The report also brings out the direct role of the ZANU PF militia in the violence.

The ‘Women and Political Violence: An Update’ report was compiled by the Women’s Programme of the Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) and released on Monday. It is a study on the degree of violence against women and its impact, after Robert Mugabe last year began demanding an election in 2011.

The RAU report says that Mugabe’s election talk has fuelled violence against those perceived to be his political opponents, and women are being targeted.

The report comes at a time when there are growing calls from civic society, political parties such as the MDC-T and SADC for the security sector to be reformed. Despite this, the new report shows the security chiefs remain openly devoted to ZANU PF and carry out its atrocities.

The RAU report has zoomed in on the fate of women caught up in the political cross-fire or those involved in basic human rights issues. It says their treatment at the hands of the security has lead Zimbabwe to break several international protocols, including the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.

Recent and ongoing cases of serious violence against women are also highlighted in the report. This includes a member of Woman of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) who was tortured so badly in custody that her swollen hands could not hold her two-month old baby. Another woman, Yvonne Musarurwa, who was recently held with several MDC-T supporters over the death of a policeman in Glen View, has a fractured arm and a wound that has been bleeding for more than 30 days. The report also says that Musarurwa can barley walk.

“Arbitrary arrests, physical abuse, torture and hate speech characterise a relentless campaign by President Mugabe’s disciples in the top echelons of the security organs; namely the army, police, intelligence and militia to intimidate and instill fear in the masses ahead of the anticipated elections,” the report states.

Kudakwashe Chitsike, the programme manager of RAU’s Women’s Programme said: “One of the most important things we would like to see is the end of violence, and especially violence against women. Violence in Zimbabwe keeps on happening without perpetrators being brought to justice. So it means violence continues being a part of our lives.”


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