Zimbabwe: Research shows higher rape cases than previous elections

By Misheck Rusere – A research carried by two Non Governmental Organisations namely the Research and Advocacy Unit and Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights has revealed that the country’s 2008 elections resulted in the highest number of rapes compared to other elections since 2000.

The study comes amid calls by President Mugabe and his ZANU (PF) party to go for polls in 2011 to end the life of the Inclusive Government formed more than one and half years ago after ZANU (PF) won the lone race at the withdrawal of MDC-T citing politically motivated violence. The chilling report on politically-motivated rape during the last polls states that most women were raped many times by many perpetrators with one of the women reporting to having been raped by thirteen men.

A total of 34 women made up the sample for the research but the resultant data was drawn from 27 as the other seven could not be traced for medical examinations and signing of affidavits.

The researchers said the study could neither determine the prevalenceof politically motivated rape nor establish the representativeness of the sample as it was of was of clinical nature rather than epidemiological one.

During the run up to the 2008 presidential elections there were reports that women were often taken to political bases where they would be abused (raped). The cruel activities were largely blamed on Mugabe and his Zanu PF party who had lost to MDC-T in the initial vote.

The study also noted that most rapes took place in public or near the victim’s home, presumably to instill fear in the MDC supporters. “A distressingly high number of the rapes, 11, took place in public, at or near the victim’s home, and witnessed by the victim’s family and children,” states part of the report.

Four women however are the only ones to have reported their cases while only one had received post-trauma care. The study also goes on to note that most of the interviewed women showed symptoms of post traumatic disorder and depression.

Since the call by President to go for elections next year, nationwide violence has been reported in the country’s independent media raising fear of another 2008 style situation.