Zanu-PF 'using rape as weapon'

2009-12-10 19:02

Special Report

Zim celebrates 34 years of Independence
Zim celebrates 34 years of Independence

Queen Elizabeth II and US President Barack Obama have reportedly congratulated Zimbabwe on the occasion to mark its 34th Independence Day.

Johannesburg - Zimbabwe's 2008 elections were marred by the widespread rape of political opponents by President Robert Mugabe's supporters, according to a report released by an HIV/Aids advocacy group on Thursday.

Mugabe was outpolled by bitter rival Morgan Tsvangirai in a first round presidential vote, as his Zanu-PF party lost its parliamentary majority for the first time since independence in 1980. Mugabe, however, secured re-election in a controversial run-off poll after Tsvangirai pulled out citing violence against his supporters.

Tsvangirai's MDC party says about 200 of its supporters were killed in politically motivated violence.

The report prepared by Aids-Free World says Mugabe's supporters, including youth militia and some veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s independence war, "committed widespread, systematic rape in 2008 to terrorize the political opposition."

Officials from Mugabe's Zanu-PF, who routinely deny allegations that the party has sanctioned the use of violence in election campaigns, were not immediately available to comment.

AIids-Free World said the 64-page report - entitled Electing to Rape - is based on interviews with 72 survivors and witnesses, and documents 380 rapes committed by 241 perpetrators across Zimbabwe's 10 provinces.

Campaign of rape

"Zanu-PF orchestrated its campaign of rape to terrorise, and destabilise entire communities," said Paula Donovan, co-director of Aids-Free World. "Clearly, the tactic worked: Mugabe is still president."

The 85-year-old leader was forced into a power-sharing government with Tsvangirai, who is now prime minister, following widespread condemnation of the violence that marred his re-election.

The unity government has overseen the restoration of relative political and economic stability since its formation in February, but analysts say the situation remains fragile amid in-fighting between the coalition partners.

Western donors, seen as key in providing the more than $10bn the new government says is required to rebuild Zimbabwe's battered economy, have demanded broad political reforms before injecting direct funding.

Aids-Free World called for an International Criminal Court probe into the alleged sexual crimes and urged regional pressure on Zimbabwe to bring the perpetrators to justice.

"The evidence is incontrovertible: Mugabe believes he can sanction rape without fear of consequences. Zimbabwe is perhaps the greatest test for ending impunity," Aids-Free World co-director Stephen Lewis, a former UN special envoy on HIV/Aids in Africa, said.

A senior official from Tsvangirai's party said that while some perpetrators of political violence had been brought to the courts and convicted, the slow pace of prosecutions was another sign of Mugabe's reluctance to fulfil the power-sharing pact.

"In terms of the global political agreement, the police and the attorney-general's office were supposed to expedite the investigation and prosecution of all political violence cases," the MDC's deputy Minister of Justice, Jessie Majome, told Reuters.

"There is no sign of urgency on the matter and this is yet another breach of the (power sharing) agreement. The justice ministry has no constitutional powers to force the attorney-general to prosecute."

- Reuters

Read more on:    mdc  |  zanu-pf  |  morgan tsvangirai  |  robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

Read News24’s Comments Policy


Inside News24

  • Saturday Constantia - 07:19 AM
    Road name: Rhodes Drive Both Ways
    ROAD CLOSED between Constantia Nek and Canterbury Road until 1300
  • Saturday Constantia - 07:17 AM
    Road name: Rhodes Avenue
    ROAD CLOSED between Canterbury Road and the M3 Highway until 1300
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy S III 16GB

There are no straight lines in nature. The Samsung  GALAXY...

From R3525.00

I'm shopping for:


Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.