1600 cases of violence and torture recorded before and after elections*

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OVER 1600 cases of organized violence and torture cases have been recorded in the run-up to and after the election period with the majority of the incidents targeted against women human rights defenders, it has emerged.

Zimbabwe recently concluded the general elections and cases of organized violence and torture have been soaring.

Speaking during a dialogue of organized violence against women human rights defenders convened by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO forum, opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) member, Vongai Tome, who is responsible for tracking cases of torture and violence said they received numerous cases of violence including rape.

“We have over 1 600 cases that were recorded during the pre-election, during election and post-election,” said Tome.

“We have women whose houses were burnt, in Mashonaland West we had 8 women whose houses were burnt and they do not have anywhere to lay their hands just because they are women who have taken part in the election as polling agents.”

In Masvingo, according to Tome, there are 6 cases of OVT recorded against women human rights defenders and politicians.

“In terms of more cases of violence against women, in Manicaland we have 4, Matabeleland South we have 3, in Mashonaland East, including men we have 10, in Mashonaland Central and Midlands province we have 13.

“Most of these people, some are councilors and they are nursing injuries as we speak. Some have broken hands, broken legs, some are suffering from kidney failure just because of the thorough beating they got from the organized violence from the state,” said Tome.

She also revealed that in Nyanga and Chipinge some women were beaten in places of their husbands who had observed the elections.

“We have women in Nyanga and Chipinge who were beaten in place of their husbands because their husbands were polling agents. They were beaten because their husbands had run away.

“We also have children who were also beaten in place of their parents.”

Some condemned the use of violence against women as a tool to sideline them in spaces that are deemed to be dominated by men.

“We also have women who lost their jobs because they are members of a certain party that is not acceptable to those in charge. Some have even lost their renting spaces because they belong to CCC,” she added. _*NewZimbabwe*_

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