As calls for an early election grow louder, the country's civic society groups want government to launch a countrywide investigation into politically motivated rape cases against women.
The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) and the Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) said in a report released at the weekend that the government should focus on the prosecution of political criminals to avoid a repeat of similar crimes in future.
“It is important for Zimbabwe to set up a multi-sectoral investigation into politically motivated rape in Zimbabwe led by the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, together with the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs,” the groups said in the report.
“There should be no impunity for perpetrators of violence. Cases of rape should be investigated and prosecuted in keeping with the law.”
The groups said the report aims to provide a detailed description and assessment of alleged cases of politically motivated violence.The study concluded that politically motivated rape has been occurring in Zimbabwe over the last ten years. It said the violence has come in different forms such as gang rape and insertion of objects such as bottle sticks into the women's genitalia but that was much more prevalent in 2008.
“A distressingly high number of the rape took place in public or near the victim's home and witnessed by the victim's family and children,” the report stated.Furthermore the report says most of the women who were raped did not receive appropriate care for the trauma they went through.The women also exhibited symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and psychotic disorder. Some also displayed high levels of sleeplessness, nightmares, flashbacks and hopelessness.Several people were killed during the hotly disputed presidential and parliamentary elections in 2008.
The perpetrators of the violence were never brought to justice.The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CZC) last year named top military commanders whom it said were behind a ruthless campaign to keep President Robert Mugabe in power which left scores of villagers dead and thousands displaced.