Violence victims relive horror

LETWIN Bhumire vividly remembers the day four men took turns to rape her for supporting opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in 2001.

At a meeting last week, Bhumire continuously wiped tears from her face as she narrated the five-day ordeal at the hands of Zanu PF youths who attacked her at her home 15 years ago.

Bhumire was one of the victims who spoke at a National Transitional Justice Working Group Zimbabwe (NTJWG)-organised meeting to commemorate the International Day for the right to truth concerning gross human rights violations and for the dignity of victims held in Harare.

Taken from the Standard Newspaper

Since December 2001, Bhumire said the police have done nothing to bring her tormentors to justice despite the fact that they are known.

“These bad things were only done to me because [President Robert] Mugabe encouraged his supporters to do them on all people who opposed his rule,” she said.

Her story was blood- curdling, but many at the meeting also had their tales of horror to tell about political violence which has become pervasive as Mugabe’s grip on power begins to loosen.

Anico Chikuvanyanga Midzi of the MDC-T lost his son Trymore who was vice-chairperson for Bindura in the run up to the 2002 presidential elections.

He was chased out of his home and Zanu PF youths turned his house into their base while he lived in hiding. Chikuvanyanga only returned to Bindura in 2007 with a High Court order to evict the national youth service- trained militia.

“I lost everything, my dignity, family and home to Zanu PF youths, who then stayed in my house and stole all my property while the police failed to act and until today, there has been no effort by the government to reach out to us,” he said.

Chikuvanyanga still has the newspaper cutting of December 2001 where his 24-year-old son made the front page of a local daily after he was killed in cold blood.

Trymore left behind a wife Esnath and a child. Chikuvanyanga, who is unemployed, takes care of Trymore’s child.

He says life is still unbearable because Bindura is a Zanu PF stronghold and opposition supporters face a lot of discrimination.

“They don’t even enter your name on the register of beneficiaries for food aid, and even if I go to the place where donations are being handed out, the goodies will run out before I am given,” he said.

Another victim of political violence still crying out for justice is Tichayana Mlambo of Bikita.

Mlambo was in 2002 singled out by suspected Central Intelligence officers while travelling in a commuter omnibus and frog-marched to a hill where she was assaulted.

Mlambo, who still has scars on her back, thighs and legs sustained during the painful experience, narrated the story of 15 years ago as if it happened yesterday.

But her story pales in comparison to that of Sithandekile Ncube, who was widowed after her husband died at the hands of a senior police officer, Joseph Chana.

Ncube said her husband was picked up from home by security guards who handed him over to the police.
He was assaulted until his spinal cord gave in and he eventually died.

Although Chana was eventually arrested and jailed for the murder, Ncube’s wounds are still fresh as she struggles to single-headedly raise her children.

She says getting food and school fees for her three children is a challenge and she survives on borrowing and menial jobs.

“The police officer beat up my husband as if he was a dog,” Ncube said.

Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum director, Lloyd Kuveya said the absence of beatings today did not mean violence had stopped or that everyone has healed.

“The mere fact that some people still see their tormentors walking scot-free out there is violence on its own and it has chilling effects on victims who still live in fear and with the painful reminder of the events that traumatised them years ago each time they see their assailants,” he said.

Design and development supported by HURIDOCS.