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Electing to Rape: Sexual Terror in Mugabe's Zimbabwe


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  • I wonder what has been achieved since this report came out? Zimbabwe is about to enter another election campaign and already the intimidation has begun. Is there anyone following up on this? Is there any commitment from South Africa and Botswana and other surrounding countries to assist with accountability?
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Electing to Rape: Sexual Terror in Mugabe's Zimbabwe

  1. 1. Electingto Rape:Sexual Terrorin Mugabe’sZimbabwe
  2. 2. Electingto Rape:Sexual Terrorin Mugabe’
  3. 3. The photographs contained in this report are not ofthe women whose testimony is included. However,because these are photographs of women survivorsfrom Zimbabwe, AIDS-Free World has made everyeffort to protect their identities by concealing theirfaces. AIDS-Free World also has removed identifyinginformation from the testimonial accounts contained inthis report so as to protect the identities of the womenwe interviewed.AIDS-Free World857 Broadway, 3rd FloorNew York, New York (212)© 2009 AIDS-Free WorldPermission is granted to reproduce this report fornoncommercial purposes provided the copyrightnotice and this permission notice are preserved on allcopies; all other rights reserved.December 2009Designed by Erica Smith for Myriad Editionswww.myriadeditions.comAll photos © Getty ImagesPrinted by Union Solidarity Graphics LLCwww.unionsolidarity.netAIDS-Free World is a project of the Tides Center. Electing to Rape: Sexual Terror in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe
  4. 4. For the brave women who toldus their stories.May their bodies heal and theirspirits mend as the world endsthe culture of impunity.
  5. 5. Special Thanks to DLA Piper Primary Pro Bono Counsel DLA Piper is one of the largest legal services providers in the world, with 3,500 lawyers in more than sixty-five offices in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States. DLA Piper houses a unique pro bono program through its nonprofit affiliate, New Perimeter, which enables DLA Piper lawyers to work on legal pro bono projects of vital importance around the world. DLA Piper serves as primary pro bono counsel to AIDS-Free World on the Zimbabwe project and has thus far provided nine attorneys to travel to southern Africa on four separate occasions to conduct interviews with rape survivors, draft affidavits, undertake legal research and analysis, and provide other legal advice. The value of DLA Piper attorney time contributed to this project to date approaches $1,000,000. DLA Piper lawyers whose commitment and time have benefited this project are: Kristen Leanderson Abrams, Sara Andrews, Richard Bull, Steve Churchwell, Lewis Conwell, Rachel Gupta, Amanda Jones, Brenda Meister, and Syma Mirza. AIDS-Free World also gratefully acknowledges the leadership of Sheldon Krantz, partner and director of New Perimeter, and Sara Andrews, New Perimeter Program Manager and the leader of the DLA Piper team, whose commitment to human rights make DLA Piper’s support of this work possible. Additionally, the DLA Piper Foundation made a separate grant to AIDS-Free World to defray expenses associated with this project. For more information about DLA Piper’s international pro bono work, go to Electing to Rape: Sexual Terror in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe
  6. 6. Electing to Rape: Sexual Terror in Mugabe’s ZimbabweAcknowledgementsAIDS-Free World relies on pro bono assistance We gratefully acknowledge our collaboration with theprovided by generous institutions and individuals Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU), a human rightscommitted to addressing politically motivated rape in organization based in Zimbabwe. RAU lawyersZimbabwe. This project is not possible without the conducted the interviews and drafted affidavits for ainvaluable contribution of those described below (in number of rape survivors, and also provided researchalphabetical order). support.AIDS-Free World Advisory Board members The Stanford University Law School InternationalLinda Carrier-Walker, Angélique Kidjo, Julio Montaner, Human Rights and Development Clinic contributedM.D., and Winstone Zulu provide the ongoing voluntary research and interview assistance under the leadershipsupport that sustains and inspires all of our work. of former director Barbara Olshansky. Supervised by Clinical Fellow Kathleen Kelly, Stanford sent lawBaylor College of Medicine offered helpful advice and students Caeli Higney, Katrina Rouse, and Soniatechnical support at the beginning of the project. Valdez to southern Africa to assist with note-taking andBlake, Cassels & Graydon, a law firm with offices in affidavit-drafting for a number of interviews. Lawfour countries and one of the largest pro bono students also undertook substantial legal research forprograms in Canada, generously provided three this report.attorneys, Connie Reeve, Melanie Gaston, and Shashu Nathan Taback, a Co-director of Insecurity Insight andClacken, who traveled to southern Africa on the an Assistant Professor at University of Toronto’s Dallaproject’s first trip to conduct interviews and draft Lana School of Public Health who conducts cutting-affidavits for rape survivors. The firm also contributed to edge research on armed violence and conflictexpenses associated with that trip. epidemiology, worked closely with the AIDS-Free WorldNicole Fritz, Executive Director of Southern African legal team to provide critical advice and analysis ofLitigation Centre (SALC), has offered invaluable advice statistical data regarding trends and patterns in theand support throughout the project. politically motivated rapes in Zimbabwe.Getty Images graciously provided the photos We are indebted to our team of interpreters, whocontained in this report. dedicated themselves to countless hours of first-rate interpretation and translation services.Betty Makoni, a human rights activist, gave essentialinformation and assistance at the inception of the We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the manyproject. individuals and organizations in the southern African region who cannot be thanked by name as it wouldThe University of Ottawa, under the leadership of its compromise their security.president, Allan Rock, provided important researchassistance through its Law Faculty and an ongoing Last but indispensable, AIDS-Free World sincerelypartnership with AIDS-Free World to address the thanks the following funders (listed in alphabeticalproblem of systematic rape in Zimbabwe and order), whose financial support makes this legal projectelsewhere. Dr. François Larocque supervised law possible: AJG Foundation, Jacob and Hilda Blausteinstudents Megan Kendall and Juliette Yip in a substantial Foundation, DLA Piper Foundation, Golden Threadresearch project on universal jurisdiction in Africa. Charitable Foundation, Don and Ruth James, McMillan Family Foundation, NoVo Foundation, Foundation toThe University of Pretoria’s Centre for the Study of Promote Open Society/International Women’s ProgramAIDS, under the leadership of Mary Crewe, graciously of the Open Society Institute, David and Lucile Packardhosted AIDS-Free World for some of the work associated Foundation, Sigrid Rausing Trust, and V-Day.with this project. Thanks also go to Pierre Brouard, JohanMaritz, Shirley Damons, and Isabel de Bruin Cardoso fortheir assistance. 5
  7. 7. Electing to Rape: Sexual Terror in Mugabe’s ZimbabweContentsOn the Record:The Words of Robert MugabeRape as Strategy 8 9 5 Fertile Ground for Impunity Zimbabwe’s domestic remedies are 33 33Executive Summary 10 unavailable and ineffective Zimbabwe’s domestic laws are insufficient 34 1 An Organized Rape Campaign 12 6 Prosecuting Crimes Against Humanity 35 2 Maintaining Power with Violence 15Mugabe’s brutal decades 15 Command responsibility Prosecution in other African States Regional tribunals 36 37 40The present 16 The International Criminal Court 41 3 Testimony of SurvivorsTargeting of MDC women by ZANU-PF 17 18 7 Toward Accountability Zimbabwe: Meet existing obligations 42 42Attacks by ZANU-PF mobs 19 under domestic lawDepravity and its aftermath 20 Zimbabwe: Fulfill obligations under regional 43 and international treatiesHumiliation and degradation 21 Regional Groups: Press Zimbabwe to fulfill 45Escalations of torture and murder of families 22 its legal obligationsSexual slavery 23 8Pattern of political language used by rapists 24 Preventing the Next Attack:Network of torture base camps 24 Recommendations for Action 46Police support for ZANU-PF crimes 26Threats of intentional HIV transmission 29 Appendices 49 4 Anatomy of the Project 49 Rape’s Corrosive Effects 30 Methodology 52 Notes 53Physical trauma 30Psychological trauma 30Destruction of families 31
  8. 8. On the Record: The words of Robert Mugabe 1962 It may be necessary to use methods other than constitutional ones. 2000 I do not want to be overthrown and I will try to overthrow those who want to overthrow me. 1976 (in a radio broadcast from Mozambique) Our votes must go together with our guns. After all, any vote we shall have, shall have 2000 Those who try to cause disunity among our people must watch out been the product of the gun . . . The people’s votes because death will befall them. and the people’s guns are always inseparable twins. 1982 An eye for an eye and an ear for an ear may not be adequate in our 2002 You are soldiers of ZANU-PF for the people . . . When the time comes to fire the bullet, the ballot, the trajectory of the gun must circumstances. We might very well demand two ears be true. for one ear and two eyes for one eye. 1983 We have to deal with this problem quite ruthlessly. Don’t cry if your relatives get 2003 Let the MDC and its leadership be warned that those who play with fire will not only be burnt, but consumed by that fire. killed in the process . . . We eradicate them. We do not differentiate who we fight because we can’t tell who is a dissident and who is not. 2003 (describing the use of violence to crush opposition) If that is Hitler, then let me be a Hitler ten-fold. Ten times. That is what we 1985 We will kill those snakes among us, we will smash them completely. stand for. 1999 We are still exchanging blows with the British government . . . Each time I 2006 Some are crying that they were beaten. Yes you will be thoroughly beaten. When the police say move you move. If you pass through London, the gangster regime of Blair don’t move, you invite the police to use force. “expresses its dismay.” 1999 (in response to a letter written by four Supreme Court judges seeking 2007 (on the police beating of opposition party leader Morgan Tsvangirai) I told the police (to) beat him a lot. He asked for it. clarification from the president on a torture charge) The judiciary has no right to give instructions to the President on any matter as the four judges have purported to do. In those circumstances, the one and 2007 I will not allow Tsvangirai and his bosses to taste this seat. Never, ever! only honourable course open to [the judges] is quitting the Bench. 2008 I will never, never, never, never surrender. Zimbabwe is mine.8 Electing to Rape: Sexual Terror in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe
  9. 9. Electing to Rape: Sexual Terror in Mugabe’s ZimbabweRape as StrategyTyrants with pathological cravings for power have whatever a husband’s reaction, fear of life-alteringorganized campaigns of rape since ancient times, consequences such as HIV infection and pregnancyfrom Troy to Nanking and Sierra Leone to Cyprus, loom large for women, as do lingering physical andfrom East Pakistan to the Democratic Republic of psychological trauma. Married or single, victimsthe Congo and beyond. And yet, everyone ever dread that family, community, life itself will never beconvicted of orchestrating mass rape could be the same.crowded into a single holding cell. Since 1998, the When entire communities are targeted for rape,international community has agreed that rape when societal collapse ensues. Women cease tocommitted as part of a widespread or systematic function, afraid to leave home, terrorized in equalattack against a civilian population can be measure by threats of rape and of its long-term,prosecuted as a crime against humanity. But that destructive aftermath.charge has rarely been made. Ironically, among the few men who have stopped toReasons abound. Most leaders and societies have analyze the unique, destabilizing power of rape arenot taken the time to understand rape, and so they those who use it as a strategy, especially duringerroneously place it along a continuum that begins armed conflict and political upheaval, to controlwith normal sexual arousal. Few recognize it as a civilian populations and maintain power. They knowseparate, violent act of terror and control, as it’s easy to conscript impoverished men and boysunrelated to consensual sex as force-feeding poison raised in sexist societies to “take charge” of womenis to sharing a meal. in exchange for small pay. They know thatNo country in the world has made it a priority to deploying rape brigades is cheap and expeditious:prevent or punish rape. Because rape has some no heavy weaponry, training, or maneuvers. Theycharacteristics of consensual sex, most courts know that targeting women breaks the backbones,require proof—difficult to produce without the will, and the cohesion of communities, leavingwitnesses—that victims were unwilling. Few rapes them vulnerable. Most crucial, they know that theget reported, and convictions are rare. world is blind to women—that diplomats, journalists, peacekeepers, and aid workers remainFear, shame, and an overwhelming sense of futility largely oblivious as campaigns of sexual terrorkeep women silent. Once, rape was considered theft unfold around them, and that even eyewitnesses toof a man’s property, and modern variations persist. systematic gang rape will mistake it forIn societies where a man can demand that his wife spontaneous opportunistic sex.provide sex, bear children, house-keep, feed, andcare for his extended family, victims of rape are Robert Mugabe is among the world’s diabolicaloften accused by their husbands of surrendering to masterminds of sexual terror. He understandsanother man’s control. Banishment is common, gender; he understands rape. He understandsrobbing the victim of her livelihood and identity. But impunity. It is time he understood justice. 9
  10. 10. Executive Summary In the weeks immediately after the June 2008 The women’s disturbing accounts, told to the presidential elections in Zimbabwe, AIDS-Free World AIDS-Free World legal team over the course of received an urgent call from a Harare-based more than 300 hours of interviews and detailed in organization. The human rights activists were this report, demonstrate that the rape campaign overwhelmed with reports from women associated waged by ZANU-PF in Zimbabwe was both with the opposition party, Movement for Democratic widespread and systematic. Every victim supported Change (MDC), who had been raped by members of the MDC, and in every attack the perpetrators were President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party, ZANU-PF, in clearly identifiable as ZANU-PF youth militia and a vicious campaign to intimidate voters and emerge war veterans. Striking patterns recurred throughout victorious in the presidential election. In response, the testimonies of the seventy survivors and two AIDS-Free World undertook a series of investigative witnesses and cannot be coincidental. trips to the region with teams of lawyers to interview survivors of this violence. The next elections in What emerged from the testimony was a brutal, Zimbabwe are just around the orchestrated campaign of rape and torture corner, and ZANU-PF perpetrated by Mugabe’s ZANU-PF youth militia, is already gearing up for agents of Zimbabwe’s Central Intelligence Organization (CIO), and people who identify its next campaign of themselves as veterans of the liberation war sexual terror. (known as war veterans) affiliated with ZANU-PF. The exceptionally violent rapes, as described by Accountability for these crimes is critical and women from every province of Zimbabwe, were serves several purposes: it punishes the often nearly fatal. Survivors’ terror was prolonged perpetrators; it provides justice for the victims; it by fears that their attackers were among the 15% pierces the veil of impunity that protects of adults infected with HIV in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe’s highest officials and enables them to maintain their abusive regime at the cost of women’s lives and health; and it deters future rapes.10 Electing to Rape: Sexual Terror in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe
  11. 11. Executive Summary Yet several possibilities do exist for legal DATA FROM 70 VICTIMS’ SWORN AFFIDAVITS accountability in the region, and are summarized in this report. The principles of command Scale of the rapes reported responsibility and universal jurisdiction, the powers to AIDS-Free World of regional tribunals, and the attention of 380 international courts and commissions are all potential avenues for justice that have yet to be pursued. Several bodies could and should also take action against Zimbabwe to restore justice and 241 prevent future crimes against humanity. Zimbabwe’s regional neighbors, especially the southern African countries to which so many rape survivors have fled, must take responsibility for 70 providing protection and assistance to the victims. If survivors cannot be assured of their security, they will not be able to recover and they will not be able to come forward and testify about the crimes total victims total total acts they have endured. perpetrators of rape The next elections in Zimbabwe are just around the corner, and ZANU-PF is alreadyWithin Zimbabwe, both the police and the legal gearing up for its next campaign of sexualinfrastructure are so seriously compromised as to terror. This report asserts that Mugabe and hismake justice for systematic rape inside the country henchmen can and must be brought to justice.impossible at this time. Furthermore, existing Continued impunity will be a green light forZimbabwe law does not allow for the prosecution the next rape campaign, and the women ofof rape as an international crime, perpetrated in a Zimbabwe—and the southern Africansystematic fashion. region—will pay the price. 11
  12. 12. An Organized Rape Campaign In the weeks immediately following the June 2008 Over the course of six trips to the region, presidential elections in Zimbabwe, AIDS-Free AIDS-Free World lawyers interviewed dozens of World received an urgent call from a Harare-based survivors of rape and two witnesses, resulting in organization working on behalf of women and seventy sworn affidavits from rape survivors girls. They believed that hundreds and possibly describing brutal beatings, abduction, gang rape, thousands of women had been raped by members and torture. Every one of these seventy women of President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party as targeted for rape was either a member of the a strategy to influence the election, and sought help opposition party Movement for Democratic from AIDS-Free World in documenting these Change (MDC), or was closely related to a crimes. member of the MDC. Victims ranged in age from five-year-old girls to elderly grandmothers. A preliminary investigation revealed awareness Multiple ZANU-PF perpetrators, in many among human rights groups that sexual violence instances five or more men, committed the rapes had occurred, but turned up no other organization, together. Many women were forced to watch their local or international, that had moved beyond husbands, children, and parents killed or tortured awareness of the crimes to address the politically before they were raped. Nine of the women motivated sexual violence through legal channels. believe they were infected with HIV/AIDS as a Organizations within Zimbabwe were severely result of the rapes, and an additional seventeen restricted by security concerns, few had women also tested HIV-positive in the months contemplated or initiated advocacy campaigns, and following the rapes, raising the possibility that there was little media coverage inside Zimbabwe of their rapists infected them.1 Ten women reported potentially widespread rape. that they became pregnant by their rapists. All have been severely traumatized. The victims AIDS-Free World undertook a series of investigative described a violent campaign of rape and torture trips to the region to interview survivors with teams perpetrated by ZANU-PF youth militia, agents of of lawyers, once with three attorneys from Blake, Zimbabwe’s Central Intelligence Organization Cassels and Graydon and on four occasions with a (CIO), and people who identify themselves as total of nine DLA Piper lawyers. What emerged was veterans of the liberation war (known locally as a concerted campaign of politically motivated rape war veterans, or “war vets”) and are now affiliated against opposition supporters. with ZANU-PF.12 Electing to Rape: Sexual Terror in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe
  13. 13. An Organized Rape Campaign 1 2 The rapes documented by AIDS-Free World beganTerror compounded: rape and HIV in 2007 but increased dramatically in 2008, with a surge in frequency—64%—occurring between theUnprotected sex carries a risk under any March presidential election and the June runoff.conditions in Zimbabwe, a country with one of The systematic rape accompanying the 2008the world’s highest rates of HIV. One in six urban elections is generally understood to be aadults and over a quarter of Zimbabwean men continuation of violence started during the 2000and women living outside of cities carry the virus Parliamentary elections,2 when the MDC presentedthat causes AIDS, making any exchange of ZANU-PF with its first serious challenge, andbodily fluids or blood a potentially dangerous continued in 2002 when Morgan Tsvangirai firstone. ran for president. The stories told by female survivors of the 2008 campaign of rape areEven when intercourse is consensual, the vagina alarmingly similar to reports from earlier in theis naturally susceptible to infection. When sex is decade. The same language is used time and again:violently coerced or forced, the resulting cuts and MDC supporters are “sell-outs,” and they areabrasions compound the danger of infection and “Tsvangirai’s whores” accused of “giving thegreatly increase the likelihood of HIV country back to the whites.”3 Documentation bytransmission if the aggressor is HIV-positive. human rights groups has shown that the majorityGirls are at exceptionally high risk of contracting of perpetrators of these abuses are part of theHIV through rape because their genital tracts are apparatus of President Robert Mugabe’snot yet fully developed, and are therefore even government.4 Why, then, has the world allowed itmore vulnerable to tears and lesions that allow to happen again?the virus to enter the body. Less well understoodthan the threat that rape poses for victims who AIDS-Free World’s investigation of the rapeare HIV-negative is the risk to women and girls surrounding the 2008 elections in Zimbabwe revealswho are HIV-positive. Re-infection strengthens two stark facts: it was a widespread, systematicthe virus’s grip and further compromises the campaign against MDC female members andhealth of people who are already living with HIV. supporters calculated to intimidate, humiliate, andAnyone raped by an HIV-positive attacker faces punish them—and by extension, their families—fora heightened risk of infection if blood is their political affiliation; and the patterns andexchanged. similarities that emerge from survivors’ stories show that history in Zimbabwe is repeating itself. OnceFor the women of Zimbabwe, then, the dread again, the impunity for systematic rape that hasof rape and its long-term consequences is characterized Zimbabwe’s history under Robertmultiplied many times over by the specter Mugabe’s leadership5 is making it possible for theof HIV. police not to investigate, for the prosecutors not to prosecute, and for Zimbabwe’s neighbors to pretend these crimes against humanity are the internal affairs of a sovereign state. It is also exacerbating an HIV/AIDS crisis in a country 13
  14. 14. Displacement Number of Zimbabweans who have fled across two borders, in proportion to those countries’ populations Estimates from October 2009 least twelve refugees.6 An estimated 250,000 Zimbabweans have fled to Botswana, causing, in 250,000 the words of the Foreign Minister, a “drain on [our] resources.”7 Additionally, forced migration has ZIMBABWE been shown to exacerbate the sub-continent’s AIDS pandemic. Undocumented refugees from 1.8 million Zimbabwe may become infected by opportunistic rape or by engaging in survival sex at the borders.8 Fear of deportation may cause them to shun BOTSWANA medical services, to the extent those are available, and ignore treatable illnesses, such as sexually 3 million transmitted diseases, increasing their vulnerability to HIV.9 Given Zimbabwe’s high adult HIV prevalence rate—over 15%—neighboring countries that are themselves overwhelmed by their own SOUTH AFRICA 48.8 million HIV prevalence rates may have already gained hundreds of thousands of additional cases of HIV/AIDS.10 Crimes against humanity in the form of widespread, systematic rape were perpetrated where more than 15% of adults have HIV, since during the 2008 elections and, if unaddressed, will rape helps to spread that farther and faster. serve to further embed the culture of impunity for rape and other human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. The failure on the part of Zimbabwe’s neighbors, As violations of international human rights law, and indeed the broader community of nations in these crimes demand accountability, both to Africa and around the world, to hold Mugabe and achieve justice for their victims and to prevent ZANU-PF accountable for the decades-long future violations. campaign of rape, torture, and other violations has not only had disastrous consequences for the The next elections in Zimbabwe are just around women of Zimbabwe; it has also produced a threat the corner, and ZANU-PF is already gearing up for to regional security and stability. An estimated three its next violent campaign. It is time for Mugabe million Zimbabweans have fled to South Africa, a and his ZANU-PF henchmen to be brought to country with a total population of 48.8 million. justice. Continued impunity will be a green light This displacement has helped to tax that country’s for the next rape campaign, and the women of health and other infrastructures and possibly feed Zimbabwe—and the southern African region—will xenophobic violence, including the killings of at pay the price.14 Electing to Rape: Sexual Terror in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe
  15. 15. Maintaining Power with Violence 2 Maintaining Power with ViolenceMugabe’s brutal decades in Matabeleland and Midlands, two of Zimbabwe’s provinces.16 The massacre of the Ndebele peopleThe testimony that AIDS-Free World has gathered and this violent period in Zimbabwe’s history cameto support claims that ZANU-PF supporters to be known by the government operation’s code-committed sexual crimes against humanity is name, Gukurahundi, a Shona word that means “thedistressing but not completely surprising. The early rain which washes away the chaff before thehistory of Zimbabwe is the story of conflict. It is spring rains.”17also a story that is as notable for what it conceals aswhat it reveals. Veiled beneath the documentation References to widespread, systematic rape duringof decades of mass torture, murder, and forced the Gukurahundi are fleeting, but they do exist.18abduction is a continuous thread of rape and The stories from that time are remarkably similarsexual brutality against the women of Zimbabwe. to the testimony AIDS-Free World gatheredSince Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980, twenty-five years later from the victims ofwidespread rape against women has been a key politically motivated rape in 2008: women accusedfeature of the violence utilized by Robert Mugabe of being “sell-outs,” and abducted and detained atand his supporters to maintain power in that ZANU base camps where youth militias forcedcountry.11 Reports of human rights violations in them to sing ZANU songs and raped them.19Zimbabwe over the past three decades pay far lessattention to rape than to other types of human These were notrights abuses, but still hint at the hidden epidemicof systematic rape employed by Mugabe and random acts of rapeZANU-PF.12 The long-term use of rape as a and violence; theypolitical tool in Zimbabwe has been enabled by thehistorical lack of accountability for it.13 were crimes against humanity.In 1982, shortly after independence, then-PrimeMinister Mugabe sent the North Korean-trained 5 In 1987, Robert Mugabe and Joseph NkomoBrigade14 to quell an uprising by ethnic minority negotiated a unity accord effectively absorbingNdebele supporters of Joshua Nkomo, the leader ZAPU into ZANU; the new consolidated partyof Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU), a was named ZANU-PF. The story continuesgroup that had split off from Mugabe and around the year 2000, when ZANU-PF youthZANU.15 Over the next several years, Mugabe’s militias and people who identify as veterans of themilitary operation killed an estimated 20,000 people liberation war (known locally as “war vets”), 15
  16. 16. invaded white-owned commercial farms. The “systematic and widespread campaign of terror to takeovers were an attempt to woo opposition intimidate the electorate into voting for Robert supporters under the pretext that ZANU-PF alone Mugabe in the runoff election.” 24 was willing to redress historic racial discrimination in land ownership.20 At the same time, ZANU-PF While international media coverage at this time waged a campaign of terror against MDC focused heavily on the country’s hyperinflation, supporters in an effort to influence the outcome of cholera outbreaks, and efforts of outside mediators the 2000 Parliamentary elections. When the to broker a peace, a number of non-governmental campaign ended, a Clemency Order dated October organizations (NGOs) did publish accounts of 6, 2000 was issued by the Mugabe government targeted beatings, murder, and destruction carried granting amnesty for all politically motivated crimes out against the MDC opposition.25 The testimony committed from January through July of that year. taken by AIDS-Free World from seventy victims Rape, murder, and fraud were excluded, but documents rape, but also adds to the growing because the police ignored those crimes as well, it evidence of other abuses committed by the was a de facto blanket amnesty.21 During the 2002 ZANU-PF. Of the seventy rape survivors presidential elections, reports of “youth camps” interviewed, four women reported that ZANU-PF began to emerge where women were detained and men also burned their relatives alive,26 sixteen raped, sometimes for days and weeks at a time.22 women reported that ZANU-PF militia burned down their homes,27 three women witnessed ZANU-PF use burning plastic on the skin of MDC members as a form of torture, and two The present women reported that ZANU-PF men amputated the hands or legs of their husbands and other The violence associated with the first and second MDC men held at the militia bases.28 One woman rounds of Zimbabwe’s 2008 presidential election who was able to recount her own ordeal could not continued the trend of violence that runs relay the extent of what she witnessed, stating, “I throughout Mugabe’s regime. After MDC saw things done to people at the base that I cannot opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai garnered talk about because it affects me too much.”29 more votes than Mugabe in March, the government’s election commission declared on Yet despite the human rights reports emerging May 2, over strong objections, that neither from Zimbabwe, little notice was paid to the candidate had won an outright majority, and widespread targeting and rape of female MDC scheduled a runoff election for June 27, 2008. supporters. The testimony gathered by AIDS-Free During May and June, as part of ZANU-PF’s World reveals that women throughout Zimbabwe effort to win the runoff election and intimidate the who are affiliated with the MDC were abducted, opposition, Mugabe reportedly sent his supporters beaten, and gang raped by President Mugabe’s out to “do whatever [they] want” to MDC ZANU-PF youth militia in similar ways, and they members.23 Tsvangirai withdrew from the runoff were told exactly why it was happening to them. five days before the election took place, citing These were not random acts of rape and violence; concern for the safety of his supporters due to a they were crimes against humanity.16 Electing to Rape: Sexual Terror in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe
  17. 17. Testimony of Survivors 3 2 Testimony of SurvivorsRape, sexual slavery, sexual violence,30 gender-based In order to qualify as a “widespread” act, sexualpersecution, and torture can constitute crimes against violence can have been perpetrated either in vasthumanity31 if “committed as part of a widespread or numbers or as a single act with massive impact.systematic attack directed against any civilian AIDS-Free World has documented in extensivepopulation, with knowledge of the attack.”32 detail six dozen cases that range across the entire“Widespread” relates to the scale of the criminal act, country and span every province of Zimbabwe.whether it comprises numerous incidents or one The women interviewed were collectively rapedpowerful event.33 “Systematic” acts, on the other at least 380 times by 241 different ZANU-PFhand, refer to the level of planning or preparation youth militia and war veterans throughout theinvolved, and can be determined by “the country. Each woman, on average, was raped fiveimprobability of their random occurrence.”34 times, although these numbers may beDemonstrating a “regular pattern on the basis of a underestimates because many women fellcommon policy involving substantial public orprivate resources” can prove the systematic nature ofan act, even if the policy hasn’t been “formally” The testimony takenadopted by a state.35 by AIDS-Free World demonstrates that theThe testimony taken by AIDS-Free Worlddemonstrates that the rape campaign waged by the rape campaign waged byZANU-PF in Zimbabwe was both widespread and the ZANU-PF in Zimbabwesystematic. The patterns recurring throughout the was both widespreadtestimonies of the seventy survivors and two and systematic.witnesses, each interviewed separately, cannot becoincidental. The striking similarity of insults andthreats made before and during the violence; the unconscious during the violent rapes and thereforeuniform physical and emotional brutality of the lost count of the number of rapists and rapes atrapes; the specific types of weapons used and some point. The women interviewed knew at leastbeatings on the same parts of the body; the sixty-seven other women personally who werestandardized modes of detention and locations of raped during this time because of their politicalthe rapes; the sameness of the circumstances and affiliation. The majority of rapes occurred duringconcurrent crimes that made up the broader attacks; a five-month period preceding, during, andand the consistent refusal of police to investigate and immediately following the 2008 elections inrefer these cases for prosecution, taken together, Zimbabwe, during which time massive otherdemonstrate a systematic, organized campaign. abuses against civilian MDC supporters have been 17
  18. 18. DATA FROM 70 VICTIMS’ SWORN AFFIDAVITS Victims’ affiliations with the MDC 47 active members Targeting of MDC women by ZANU-PF volunteered for the party; attended MDC rallies; Every victim interviewed by AIDS-Free World was seen wearing MDC t-shirts in their communities involved in organizing for or supporting the Movement for Democratic Change. Eighteen of the women held positions as officers within the MDC party; forty-seven of the women described themselves as “active” members because they 18 volunteered for the party, attended rallies, MDC officials distributed MDC pamphlets, or wore MDC t-shirts in their communities. In addition, thirty of the seventy women had relatives who held official positions in the party. Twelve women’s husbands 1 wife of MDC official served as chairmen or secretaries for their districts 4 members voted for the MDC but or wards, and eight women’s fathers were officials in non-participants in the party. Others had nephews, siblings, mothers, other activities and cousins who held positions in the MDC. documented, including beatings, murder, Every victim interviewed abduction, torture, and forced detention. by AIDS-Free World was The 2008 campaign of rape in Zimbabwe rises to involved in organizing for or the level of crimes against humanity, and should supporting the Movement be prosecuted as such. The detailed and extensive testimony taken by AIDS-Free World comes for Democratic Change. from seventy survivors and two witnesses of rape, but it is clear that the rapes were In every incident the perpetrators were clearly perpetrated on a much broader scale. These identifiable as ZANU-PF youth militia or war seventy women represent many thousands more veterans. Seventeen women from eight different whose stories, if told, would all share a common provinces reported that the abductors arrived at narrative: politically motivated attacks, the their homes singing ZANU-PF songs and chanting orchestrated use of rape as a tool of terror and ZANU-PF slogans; thirty-three women from six intimidation, and the deliberate effort to harm, different provinces reported that their perpetrators humiliate, and degrade women within their were wearing ZANU-PF t-shirts at the time of the communities as a way to subjugate those attacks. Forty of the women were able to name communities. some or all of their ZANU-PF attackers and the ZANU-PF officials who were also giving orders because they recognized them from the community and knew them to be ZANU-PF members.18 Electing to Rape: Sexual Terror in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe
  19. 19. Testimony of Survivors 3 DATA FROM 70 VICTIMS’ SWORN AFFIDAVITS 2 Evidence of ZANU-PF affiliation as noted by 70 victims Mashonaland East, a ZANU-PF commander told 67 one woman that his orders came from the country’s president himself. She reported, “The ZANU-PF commander was a short, stout, dark man wearing a ZANU-PF cap . . . The commander claimed he had been in Harare and had been instructed by President Mugabe, ‘If you meet an MDC supporter, 40 do whatever you want to them.’ ”39 At a camp in Masvingo, ZANU-PF rapists told another woman 33 that they were following orders. She testified, “I pleaded with them asking why they wanted to kill me. They said they did not care about my life. 17 They were following the instructions of the base commander and if he told them to kill me, they would.”40 Sixty-seven of the women (96%) testified that the women women women women men made some kind of political statementreported that knew the reported that reported that indicating that they were ZANU-PF, or that theyperpetrators perpetrators perpetrators perpetratorsmade political and knew wore ZANU-PF sang ZANU-PF were targeting the women because of the women’s statements them to be t-shirts songs/slogans MDC involvement, or both. The men who attacked ZANU-PF her described themselves to one woman as “Mugabe’s children,”41 and other perpetrators told aFurthermore, women raped in every province different woman that they were going to “kill allreported that their attackers articulated the political children of the MDC.”42 One group of ZANU-PFmotivation for the rapes, telling the victims that they rapists warned a victim not to ever say bad thingswere being attacked because of their MDC about Mugabe because Mugabe was an “angel putaffiliation. In Manicaland, ZANU-PF militia told into power by God.”43one of the women, “Unless you love ZANU-PF, weare going to kill you because you don’t listen. Thatis what we’re raping you for.”36 In Harare, rapiststold another woman, “You are the one involvedwith MDC, doing all the MDC duties, and we will Attacks by ZANU-PF mobsrape you.”37 Another victim was informed thatbecause she had refused to convert to ZANU-PF, Sixty of the women, across each of the country’sthe men were “left with no option but rape.”38 ten provinces, reported that they were surrounded in their homes by a mob of ZANU-PF militiaThirty women reported that they could identify a members. The youth militia usually arrived at night,leader amongst the ZANU-PF men who attacked and the size of the mob ranged from four to overthem, recognizable as a leader either because he led 200 men. A young woman from Mashonalandthe rapes, gave orders to other perpetrators, or was Central woke up one night to find her homeaddressed by others as a leader. At a base in overrun with armed ZANU-PF men: 19
  20. 20. DATA FROM 70 VICTIMS’ SWORN AFFIDAVITS How women identified leaders among perpetrators property. While twenty-nine women were raped 15 immediately, either inside or directly outside of their homes, a majority of them—forty-one 11 women—were abducted to militia bases or taken out into the bush to be tortured and raped. 4 Depravity and its aftermath women women identified women identified The rapes, as described by victims from every identified leader leader because leader because because he led he gave orders to he was addressed province of Zimbabwe, were often nearly fatal. rape(s) other ZANU-PF by others as a Forty of the women interviewed by AIDS-Free men leader World reported that they were beaten with fists, sticks, logs, electric cords, or metal rods either Later that night, around 10 p.m., I was at home before or after they were raped. There were seven with my family and everyone was sleeping reports of specific beatings on the buttocks, so . . . We heard some noise outside and it was violent as to inflict deep-tissue wounds and make ZANU-PF supporters singing their songs and sitting and lying down painful or impossible. Two chanting their slogans. I looked outside the women were beaten severely both on their buttocks window of the bedroom where I slept with my and the bottoms of their feet, and many were sisters. I saw light around the yard and realized unable to stand or walk after their rapes. Six they had set our thatched kitchen on fire. women reported that they had to be transported to These people started banging on our doors the hospital in wheelbarrows or carts. saying, “Sell-outs, come out so we can talk.” They were shouting, “Sell-outs, you will be killed and beaten.” When I was outside I saw All the men in that room were ZANU-PF people all over our yard . . . These either raping or waiting to rape people were carrying all kinds of weapons— knives, axes, metal rods, sticks, and planks.44 women. They said they wanted to show MDC supporters that we An elderly grandmother from Manicaland reported a had no power against them. similar experience: “Very early in the morning on June 24, around 3 a.m., members of the ZANU-PF youth militia in my area came to my yard and started That so many of the rapes were committed by knocking on the windows. I opened the curtain and multiple perpetrators demonstrates the concerted saw my whole verandah was filled with youth militia use of gang rape as a strategy to quell political boys.”45 opposition. Forty-two of the women were gang raped. Of those, fifteen women were raped by Upon arrival, the ZANU-PF attacked the women five or more men. In addition to their own rapes, and their families, violently beating them with fists eleven of the women witnessed or heard multiple and weapons, stealing food, and destroying ZANU-PF men raping other MDC women either20 Electing to Rape: Sexual Terror in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe
  21. 21. Testimony of Survivors 3 2at bases or in other locations. A woman from The women interviewed by AIDS-Free WorldHarare testified: continue to experience lasting physical injuries associated with the violence of the gang rapes. I had been at the base for about two days One twenty-four-year-old woman was raped so when a group of three men instructed me to violently that her uterus is permanently damaged enter a room. The room was large, with many and she will not be able to bear children;48 others other women MDC members and ZANU-PF had to have surgery to repair their vaginas.49 men inside. Then they said that we were going to sleep together. They forced me to lie on the ground and stripped off all of my clothes . . . All “As they raped me, they said I must join three of them were rough when they raped the ZANU-PF and defect from the MDC me. Around the room there were other men raping other girls. All the men in that room party. As this was happening, I could were either raping or waiting to rape women. see and hear other women being They said they wanted to show MDC raped around me simultaneously.” supporters that we had no power against them.46 Another woman was anally raped so violently thatA twenty-nine-year-old woman from Masvingo, who her anus protruded outside her body.50 Tenwas forced to lie on top of her husband while women were already pregnant when they weremultiple ZANU-PF men raped her, also saw other raped and two of these women miscarried as aMDC women raped by multiple men at a ZANU-PF result of their attacks.51 Ten women reported thatbase: they became pregnant as a result of the rapes. Twenty-three women continue to suffer The ringleaders then directed the ZANU-PF to debilitating physical symptoms including back and rape whichever woman they had been body pain, severe headaches, wounds on their assigned to while her husband laid face down buttocks and the bottoms of their feet that will underneath her serving as a “pillow.” The not heal, and difficulty walking. One was choked ringleaders instructed the women to take off so severely by her rapist that she could not eat for all of their clothes. The six men assigned to me a week afterwards; now she cannot speak above forced me to lie down where we stood. I did a whisper. everything they said because I was very scared. I lay against my husband’s back and all six of the men who had been assigned to me took off their pants. One man pushed his penis into Humiliation and degradation my vagina, another put his penis in my mouth, another in my ear, and the rest on other parts The perpetrators were explicit about their intent to of my body. I began to cry in pain. As they humiliate the women. ZANU-PF men told one of raped me, they said I must join the ZANU-PF the victims, who is nineteen years old, that she was and defect from the MDC party. As this was going to be raped and that it would destroy her life happening, I could see and hear other women and make her embarrassed to be around her family. being raped around me simultaneously.47 She was then raped daily for five days by up to 21
  22. 22. eight men at a time.52 Another woman reported Escalations of torture that her rapists spat on her when they finished and murder of families raping her.53 ZANU-PF men tortured several women first by raping them and then by raping their daughters and “. . . We’re not going to kill you. murdering their husbands, children, parents, and The punishment we’re going siblings in front of them. Two women were forced to give you is that we’re going to watch while their daughters were raped by ZANU-PF youth militia.58 A woman from Harare to rape your wife.” told AIDS-Free World: ZANU-PF rapists in three different provinces When the tenth man finished raping me they called their victims “MDC dogs.”54 One woman said they were going to rape my daughter. I was stripped naked and paraded around in public.55 cried out but I could not even stand up at this A twenty-five-year-old woman was taunted and time. After they finished with me, they raped forced to “dance” for the ZANU-PF men: my daughter when I was there and I couldn’t do anything to stop them. My daughter was The other six men were just standing in the five years old. They instructed [my son] to take same room. They said, “You and your husband off his little sister’s clothes. When he refused are used to singing songs and having MDC they beat him and he eventually had to take meetings. We are ZANU and we don’t want to off her clothes. During the rape my daughter see you MDC people.” The men made me was crying and trying to resist but they kept “dance” for them in bed and move my body pushing her down. I was confused and in while they were raping me. I had to do it shock and I had no strength to say or do because they said, “If you don’t do it, we are anything or even move.59 going to kill you.” They were all there as each one was raping me—I could hear them. I had In Masvingo, another woman was forced to witness the cloth on my face the whole time. All seven the rape of her eleven-year-old child: “[My] of them raped me. They said, “If you report this, daughter was just standing there as the men raped we will come back and kill you.” After they left, me. When they finished with me, they took my I thought that I was dying. daughter and four of the men raped her.”60 Two other women found out later that ZANU-PF men ZANU-PF youth militia further humiliated women had raped their daughters separately while they by raping them in front of their small children, were trying to defend themselves.61 their husbands, their parents, and other family members. The men told one young woman ZANU-PF youth militia murdered family members explicitly, “We are going to rape you while your of four of the women by burning them alive. whole family is watching.”56 Perpetrators told A woman in Masvingo witnessed both of her another woman’s husband, “. . . We’re not going to parents and her infant son die when the ZANU-PF kill you. The punishment we’re going to give you is burned down her home.62 In Mashonaland West, that we’re going to rape your wife.”57 ZANU-PF youth militia raped one woman and then tied her husband to a chair, locked him inside22 Electing to Rape: Sexual Terror in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe
  23. 23. Testimony of Survivors 3 2the house, and set the house on fire while she The chairman raped me every evening beforewatched. 63 he went to bed and also several times during the middle of the night . . . As the chairman’sTwenty-four women from eight different provinces “wife,” I had to prepare his sadza [maize meal],reported that ZANU-PF men murdered one or kneel in front of him and give it to him. I alsomore of their family members, often in front of had to warm his water for bathing.69them, either before, during, or immediatelyfollowing their rapes. Ten women witnessed or At a base camp in Masvingo, MDC women wereheard the ZANU-PF beating their husbands, also forced to become the “wives” of ZANU-PFfathers, mothers, and siblings to death with metal men. One woman testified:rods or burning them alive.64 When [the men] returned, [one] announcedFour women found their husbands’ or brothers’ that all MDC women whose husbands hadbeaten bodies in fields, rivers, or outside of their failed to provide cattle to show their adoptionhomes, days after the ZANU-PF men came to rape of the ZANU-PF party would be assigned sixthem.65 ZANU-PF youth militia threw one new ZANU-PF “husbands.” Following [his]woman’s young son into a wall so hard that he died instructions, the ringleaders divided up theof a subsequent blood clot in his brain.66 Another men into groups and assigned each MDCwoman came home one day to find her husband woman at least six ZANU-PF men as husbandsbeaten to death, her toddler son decapitated, and who were going to rape her. I was assigned sixfour men waiting to rape her.67 husbands.70 In Manicaland, one young girl was locked up and raped every day by different men. She was onlySexual slavery released to mop up the blood of other MDC members who had been beaten.71 Five women wereNine of the women were forcibly confined at bases forced to cook for their captors. A woman fromfor two days or longer, and one was held for two Midlands testified:weeks.68 During their captivity they were raped bymultiple ZANU-PF men, or by ZANU-PF The ZANU-PF men began treating me as the“husbands” that were assigned to them. At a base maid at the base. They forced me to docamp in Midlands, women were kept as slaves for whatever chores they wanted done at thethe ZANU-PF men: base, and said that if I refused they would kill me like they killed my husband. I had to fetch There was a man who looked like he was in water and firewood for them, cook, and wash charge of the base. I don’t know what his name their clothes.72 was, but the others called him “chairman.” I was told he was my “husband”—I was supposed to In Masvingo, another woman reported: cook for him and sleep with him whenever he wanted. The other girls at the base had been When they finished raping me they took off my given “husbands” too . . . I was hopeless, blindfold and told me to stand up and cook because I knew there was nothing I could do . . . meals for them using my own food. I couldn’t 23
  24. 24. even stand but they forced me to. They made The testimony of a woman raped in the province me cook all the chickens they had taken from of Masvingo in May of 2008 reveals identical my house to feed them. After I cooked, they language used by ZANU-PF perpetrators: made me taste the food in case I was trying to poison them.73 The ZANU-PF youth militia members told me they heard I was an MDC agent and they were going to take my brother and me to their leaders. They insulted us by saying we were “selling the country.” They said they were Pattern of political language taking us to the base because we were “sell- used by rapists outs” and that their leaders wanted to see us because, in order for us not to sell the country, The ZANU-PF perpetrators made explicit and very we had to be killed . . . They said we should “go similar political statements during sixty-seven of do farming in Britain because we were selling the seventy attacks (96%). The specific political the country.”77 rhetoric employed by the perpetrators was consistent throughout the country. Women from Repeatedly, in locations throughout the country, eight different provinces74 reported that their ZANU-PF perpetrators also told their victims ZANU-PF attackers accused them of being “sell- that they would be punished or “fixed” for outs” or of “selling out the country” by refusing to attend ZANU-PF meetings and for membership in the MDC. ZANU-PF perpetrators joining the MDC. Victims in the provinces of in three provinces made additional comments Mashonaland East, Harare, Manicaland, and about “selling the country to whites,” with varied Bulawayo were all told they were being “fixed,” references to the perfidy of George Bush and often while they were being raped. The Tony Blair.75 perpetrators also made derogatory statements about MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Women in One woman, abducted to a base camp and gang five different provinces78 said the men insulted raped in Manicaland in June of 2008, reported the Tsvangirai during the course of the attacks or following incident: accused them of being “Tsvangirai’s children”79 or “puppets of Tsvangirai.”80 The whole night they were saying things about MDC—that MDC was a sell-out because we were selling the country, land and soil to Tony Blair . . . They made me put my head down to the ground with my waist in the air. They took Network of torture base camps soil and put it on my back and told me to say, “Tony Blair, our soil has come back. Leave us Victims described in detail an infrastructure of alone and stay in your own country.” Then they ZANU-PF militia bases set up throughout started singing, “Tony Blair, we want to keep Zimbabwe for the purposes of beating, raping, our land—we don’t want our land or soil to be torturing, and killing MDC activists. Forty-one taken over by the white man.”76 women (59%) were abducted from their homes and forcibly marched, dragged, or driven by24 Electing to Rape: Sexual Terror in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe
  25. 25. Testimony of Survivors 3 DATA FROM 70 VICTIMS’ SWORN AFFIDAVITS 2 Locations of documented Mashonaland West Mashonaland Harare rapes home (1) Central Mbare 3 As reported to AIDS-Free World other location (1) home (1) Mbare 7 by affiants unnamed base ZANU-PF base camp (name known) MASHONALAND home (6) the bush (5) ZANU-PF base camp (name unknown) CENTRAL MASHONALAND other location (4) victim’s home, the bush, WEST other location Mashonaland East Chiroroziva ZAMBIA Gabriel Midlands HARARE Igavha unnamed base unnamed base unnamed base Matabeleland North home (6) home (3) home (1) the bush (3) the bush (2) the bush (1) other location (1) MASHONALAND EAST MATABELELAND MANICALAND NORTH MIDLANDS MASVINGO Bulawayo BULAWAYO home (1) Masvingo Manicaland MATABELELAND Chinembiri Baravara Matabeleland South SOUTH Kudzanayi Dikoko home (2) Musvosvote Jani other location (1) unnamed base Mataranyika unnamed base unnamed base unnamed base home (5) home (3) other location (2) BOTSWANA the bush (1) SOUTH MOZAMBIQUE AFRICAZANU-PF militia either to bases or to clearings same base was beaten for two hours with logsin the bush where ZANU-PF had set up camp. and electric cords and witnessed other MDCIn separate interviews with AIDS-Free World, supporters beaten at the base.83 In the provincevictims independently provided the names of of Midlands, one woman was taken to a base in theZANU-PF base camps in five different mountains near Zhombe where she was repeatedlyprovinces.81 gang raped over the course of several days. Her husband was killed, and she witnessed the tortureAt the bases, mobs of ZANU-PF men raped, and murder of other MDC activists.84beat, and tortured the women and other MDCactivists. One woman who was abducted to the During the election period, living in crowdedBaravara base in the province of Manicaland urban areas provided no protection fromreported, “Each day I was left alone, from where abduction and rape at ZANU-PF bases. InI heard many people being beaten in the Harare, two women, in separate interviews,adjoining room.”82 A second woman taken to the reported being taken to the Mbare bases and one 25
  26. 26. gave the following testimony: Police support for ZANU-PF crimes I knew about the Mbare 3 base, in a building International human rights organizations have long where the ZANU-PF conducted their meetings protested the failings of the Zimbabwe police . . . When I arrived, I saw three of my friends force,87 and a 2008 human rights organization’s from the MDC party . . . My friends had been report on the election violence in the country forced to lie on a bench and were being stated, “The police have not done anything to beaten on their buttocks with black baton intervene in such situations, as they are clearly sticks. I do not know the names of the ZANU- aligned to ZANU-PF.”88 In July 2009, Amnesty PF youths who were beating them, but I International called for an impartial and recognized them . . . independent police oversight body in the country, After the ZANU-PF youths finished beating me stating, “We do not trust that police are capable of [they] took me a short distance by foot to investigating themselves . . . The ZRP [Zimbabwe another base called Mbare 7. Mbare 7 is an Republic Police] has been instrumental in silencing office building with big grounds outside that government critics since 2000 and continues to do are fenced in. I had never heard of it before. so with total impunity.”89 When I got inside, I could hear crying coming from rooms with closed doors.85 “We told the police we were raped Another woman who was gang raped at the Mbare by ZANU-PF men. The police said base, and believes she was infected with HIV from they were not going to interfere her rapists, describes her initial captivity there: with political issues.” Over a two-week period, I was taken to the base in Mbare several times and forced to do Testimony given to AIDS-Free World further chores for the ZANU-PF members. For a period supports claims that the Zimbabwe police force lasting as many as four days, I would be forced helped to ensure impunity for the rapes. In every to cook for them, wash for them, and fetch instance, the Zimbabwe police failed to adequately water for them. We could not leave—there respond to the crimes. Of the thirty-one women were people who acted as our bodyguards who attempted to report their rapes to the police, and would monitor our movement.86 thirteen said that the police either did nothing at all or explicitly refused to write a report. Another five reported that the police took a report but did not investigate the crime in any way. The effect of this is severe for the victims: without a police report they are denied treatment at government hospitals; without a medical report from a government hospital as proof of rape, a criminal prosecution is impossible.90 By refusing to document these crimes, the police eliminated any possibility of criminal accountability for the ZANU-PF perpetrators in Zimbabwe courts.26 Electing to Rape: Sexual Terror in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe
  27. 27. Testimony of Survivors 3 2Authorities told two women that they could report was charged with raping me, burning my house,their beatings but not their rapes. One woman and killing my cousin, but he denied all the charges.explained, “In that office the Crime Officer Nothing was really done to him. [The police] saidthreatened me never to talk about rape. The Crime they couldn’t get involved because it was a politicalOfficer told me I was only allowed to report issue.”96 In the second case, only one of theassault, and by reporting rape I would be going victim’s four rapists was captured; he was held foragainst the government.”91 In Manicaland, police three months and released without being chargedarrested one woman after she was raped and held with or tried for an offense. Her other three rapistsher for four nights on fabricated charges.92 Other were never investigated or arrested.97police officers simply claimed they could not getinvolved in “political matters.” A woman from Thirty-two of the women (46%) did not evenHarare told AIDS-Free World, “We told the police attempt to report their rapes to the police. Thesewe were raped by ZANU-PF men. The police said women, from nine different provinces, all testifiedthey were not going to interfere with political that it would have been futile and possiblyissues,”93 and in Matabeleland South another dangerous to report anything because ZANU-PFwoman experienced the same problem: “When we controlled the police. A woman from Midlandstried to report these incidents, the police told us explained, “I did not report the crimes to thenot to participate in politics.”94 police. There was no point in reporting because the police were also involved in the violence and inIn other cases, police officers told the women that fighting against the MDC.”98 A woman fromthey were either unwilling or afraid to record Harare said, “I did not report my abduction orincidents of ZANU-PF violence: rapes to the police because the police in Zimbabwe do not do anything. Most of them are pro-ZANU- I went with eight other camp survivors to the PF.”99 Another, from Mashonaland East, said, “I police to report that ZANU-PF youth had raped thought about reporting the rapes to the police but and beaten us at their base camp. When we decided not to . . . I was scared. The police were told them about what had happened to us, the either ZANU-PF members or would not do police laughed in our faces. They said that they anything to them.”100 Victims in Matabeleland had heard that we had been beaten and raped South echoed this: “I did not report this to the by the ZANU-PF youth, but that they were police because I know the police are controlled by scared of the people in power and could not ZANU-PF and would not do anything to catch or be expected to do anything at that moment. punish the men who came to my house.”101 In They did not draft a report.95 Masvingo, “the police had done nothing to help me in 2005 and I knew they would not do anything thisNot one of the 241 rapists has been prosecuted or time either.”102 Women repeatedly testified to theirpunished for their crimes. Out of the seventy lack of access to justice. One woman said, “I feltwomen interviewed by AIDS-Free World, there hopeless; there was nothing I could do to thosewere only two cases where a perpetrator was people who raped me.”103 Many of the womenarrested, and in neither case was anyone continued to see their rapists living freely in theirprosecuted. One was held for only one week. “He communities. 27
  28. 28. 400 people HIV prevalence Percentage of adults aged in Zimbabwe die of AIDS 15-49 years living with HIV every day from UNAIDS Epidemiological Fact Sheet, Zimbabwe, 2008 ZAMBIA more than 19.7% 18.5% – 19.7% MASHONALAND 16.8% – 18.4% MASHONALAND CENTRAL 15.2% – 16.7% WEST fewer than 15.2% HARARE MASHONALAND EAST MATABELELAND MOZAMBIQUE NORTH MIDLANDS MANICALAND 17.0% 15.0% BULAWAYO MASVINGO MATABELELAND SOUTH BOTSWANA urban rural SOUTH AFRICA adults adults HIV status of 70 victims interviewed tested tested HIV-positive HIV-negative after rape after rape 12 26 32 unsure of HIV status at time of interview DATA FROM 70 VICTIMS’ SWORN AFFIDAVITS28 Electing to Rape: Sexual Terror in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe