CCC Member Assaulted Over Post-Election Land Dispute
By Lorraine Ndebele and Marko Shoko
A member of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) recently suffered a broken leg after being heavily assaulted by alleged members of the ruling party (ZANU-PF) following a disagreement over land.
Munorwei Chinyangana from Ward 24 Chiredzi East was rushed to Mashoko Mission Hospital in Bikita, Masvingo Province for medical treatment after being attacked by three ZANU PF members who severely assaulted after he confronted them over the invasion of his farm.
Chinyangana says he has owned a farm in Lavanga Ward 1, Chiredzi East District since 2012. He got the farm through the land reform programme and has been occupying and utilizing it since then. However, following Zimbabwe’s most recent harmonized elections held on 23 August 2023, local land officials are said to have allocated Chinyangana’s farm to another person, Blessing Vheremu. Being concerned about reallocation the farm, Chinyangana approached Vheremu at the latter’s home suggesting that they go to the local Village Development Committee (VDCO) Chairperson to amicably resolve the issue.
Vheremu was not amused by Chinyangana’s visit and he angrily proceeded to his neighbor’s home where he mobilized two men and a woman to attack Chinyangana. As Chinyangana said, it was the woman who started the violent attack on him.
“As they attacked me, I insisted that we go and see the VDCO chairman for a peaceful resolution to the dispute”, Chinyangana said.
“However, they pushed me to the ground and started beating all over my body telling me that they don’t care about CCC people because this land is owned by ZANU-PF”, he said.
When his attackers eventually decided to go to Adam Hama, the VDCO Chairman, Chinyangana said he was already seriously injured and could neither walk nor drive his motorcycle. He said he called members of his family who took him to Mashoko hospital where he said was treated for injuries including…
Although he has been discharged from Mashoko hospital, Chinyangana says he is still unwell and is planning to go to Harare for further treatment.
Reached for comment, Vheremu denied assaulting Chinyangana. “His injuries may have resulted from falling on a motor cycle”, Chidoko said, adding: “It was the lady we were with who simply pushed him down.”
Vheremu also denied dispossessing Chinyangana of his land, saying he was allocated eighty (80) meters of the land by Cephus Marape who, he said, is the actual owner of the farm that Chinyangana claims to be his.
“I was given a piece of that farm by Marape who only gave me 80 metres and told me to farm there together with Chinyangana”, said Vheremu.
He also says that Chinyangana was already injured when he approached him which he suspects was a fall from a motorbike
Efforts to get a comment from the VDCO chairman of Chiredzi East, Adam Hama were fruitless as his phone was unavailable.
Gender based violence (GBV), is a phenomenon deeply rooted in gender inequality, and continues to be one of the most notable human rights violations within all societies around the world. In many countries, gender based violence continues to greatly undermine girls and women’s opportunities, Zimbabwe included notwithstanding the great strides to eradicate the prevalence of gender based violence.
Although both women and men experience gender-based violence, the majority of victims are women and girls. Zimbabwe among many other countries has been witnessing a phenomenal surge in gender based violence cases, with child marriages and domestic abuse accounting for 90 percent of gender based violence reported cases in the country.
Recent figures from the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) indicate that Mashonaland East is leading in the gender based violence cases in the country for the period January to September 2021. According to ZPCS 445 male and 11 female inmates from Mashonaland East were incarcerated for perpetrating gender based violence.
Hwedza is an example of one of the districts in Mashonaland East where gender based violence cases have been rising. Presenting at a community interface meeting with Wedza Residents Development Initiative Trust (WERDIT) in December last year, Women Affairs Ministry department representative Luckson Magebuza said:
“Hwedza is showing a disturbing trend in terms of gender based violence. Statistics from Hwedza police station indicated that from January to September 2021, Hwedza recorded 78 cases of gender based violence, 20 cases were of rape, 27 of domestic violence including other cases such as sexual intercourse with a minor and attempted rape. 31 women and girls were referred and housed at Msasa safe shelter in Kwakuenda – a place where we shelter most of our needy gender based violence survivors while they await their cases to be solved,”
He added that the figures could be more if they increase the scope of their research to include other sources
“We need more statistics from other sources that deal with gender based violence in Hwedza such as village headmen so that our research is not limited. The cases could be more than 78 considering that there are also those gender based violence victims who do not report.
Some of the gender based violence hot spot areas include rural district wards such as 6 and 7 in Gumbonzvanda and Demenyore in Hwedza.
An example of a gender based violence case in Hwedza was that of Agnes Tapatsiwa – a mother to a child living with a disability who encountered difficulties after being rejected by her husband’s family for giving birth to her child.
Agnes’ husband who is a psychiatric patient could not protect her from his brother’s wrath. She said she had to endure the pain of moving countless times from one abandoned homestead to the other with her four children.
“When I gave birth to my fourth child my husband’s family did not accept my child and because my husband is a psychiatric patient my brother in law chased me away from the house that my late mother in law had left me. So l had to look for another place to stay an abandoned homestead with my four children. I lived there for two years before I took my brother in law to court and got a peace order, however he denied ever chasing me away from home and also took a protection order against me. I had to move out again.
I later took the case at court in Marondera and I won the house, but when we returned to the village my brother in law again took the matter to the village head and I believe that he bribed the police because they supported him, he even wanted me banished from Hwedza. However, I am still living there despite the torment because that is my children’s home,” narrated Agnes.
However, the interface meeting saw WERDIT and both state and non-state members agreeing on improving Wedza District’s services towards gender based violence victims by urging the provision of one stop shops to protect gender based violence victims.
Zimbabwe recently took part in the 16 days of activism against gender based violence from 25 November to 10 December under the theme. ‘End Violence Against Women and Girls Now: No To Child Marriage!!!’ Such efforts are a positive step in emancipating women who play a critical role in sustainable socio- economic development.
As part of their initiative in joining the country and the world at large in commemorating the 16 days of activism against Gender Based Violence (GBV), the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and Epworth Pastors held a Church service at Methodist church at Epworth primary school last Friday 3 December.
According to Sarah Njanji, Epworth citizen journalist, GBV in Epworth is rising everyday.
”Everyday here in Epworth especially this month due to Christmas bonus there is a lot of domestic violence. On Friday ZRP and Epworth Pastors held a Church service to address the issue of GBV at Methodist church at Epworth primary school,” reported Njanji.
Gender based violence is a human right violation which can take physical, emotional, psychological, verbal or sexual forms to women, children or men.
Therefore, gender-based violence refers to the violence inflicted on a person (adult or child) due to stereotypes and roles attributed to or expected of them according to their sex or gender identity. Usually gender is seen as something than commonly affect women and young girls, although men at times can fall prey in the hands of abusive women.
Gender based violence cases have been seen rising on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic’s national induced lockdowns. In Zimbabwe, for instance, child marriages and domestic and sexual violence cases exacerbated particularly under lockdowns, with most of the cases being observed to be rampant in the country’s rural and marginalized communities.
The pandemic’s disproportionate impact on women and girls’ socio-economic welfare is threatening to reverse the hard-won gains in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Rural Young Women Support Network director, Margaret Chogugudza has blamed poor social service delivery systems in rural communities for being one of the major contributors towards high prevalence of Gender Based Violence (GBV) in the country.
Presenting as a guest speaker on Media Centre’s ‘Talking Point’ WhatsApp Chat interaction, Chogugudza said while gender based violence occur to and affects all women who live both in the country’s urban and rural communities, women in rural communities are more vulnerable victims who lack an awareness, emancipation and access to communication platforms they can use to speak out.
“Women in urban and rural areas face the same types of violence, that is, physical, emotional, psychological and financial, but with rural women the situation is quite worse because they lack access to services like the justice system, the police stations which are far. Imagine a GBV victim, bruised and hurt, having to travel maybe 10-15 km to reach the nearest police station, the hospitals are also far and in most cases they would not have enough resources.
There is also lack of access to information, for example women are unaware of their rights, the laws that protect them against gender based violence and the steps they ought to take when they want to report on GBV cases. Women also lack access to employment opportunities which causes them to rely on men and at times they end up sacrificing to live with their abusive husbands unorder to eke a living,” said Chogugudza.
“Issues of patriarchy in rural areas are also affecting women. Because of lack of knowledge women are oppressed all in the name of culture. Young girls are married of young,” she added.
Violence against women and girls is the most pervasive human rights abuse in the world, affecting every country and community. While boys and men can be also victims of violence, GBV tends to affect mostly girls and women.
According to the United Nations Population Fund, one in three women will experience some form of abuse in her lifetime.
The world began observing its annual campaign on the 16 Days to End Gender-based Violence on 25th November 2021. Zimbabwe joined the world in advocating against GBV running under the theme, ‘End Violence Against Women and Girls Now: No To Child Marriage!’
Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) in Zimbabwe calls out for equal opportunities in order to contribute on issues affecting them.
This came out during a three day Adolescent Girls and Young Women Africa Conference that is running from 23 – 25 November 2021, which have representatives drawn from 15 countries in Southern, West and East Africa. The conference is being held virtually and physically.
A LEMSTER Alumini under Tag A Life International, Anna Sande who presented a paper on behalf of AGYW Zimbabwe, said that young people are not being included in decision making processes due to their age.
“AGYW do not have a voice, largely due to ageism. When it comes to key decisions about their lives and the issues that affect them, young people are being denied equal opportunity to contribute. When they do, they are quickly dismissed due to their age and so continue on the peripheries of conversations around development and key priority areas,” noted Sande.
AGYW highlighted key challenges being faced by young women in Zimbabwe in sectors such as education, the economy which has left young people at the receiving end, leadership participation, sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender based violence.
AGYW implored the government to urgently address these challenges.
The conference is being convened by Tag A Life in partnership with International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Gobal Fund for Women, African Woman Development Fund (AWDF) and the Canadian Embassy in Zimbabwe. The agenda is to discuss issues that affect adolescent girls and young women in their respective communities and provide solutions to the problems.
Managing a menstrual cycle without any sanitary wear is almost impossible for most women and one would imagine how devastating it can be for 10-year or 11-year-old girls. Like any other poverty-related challenges such as homelessness and shortages of food and water, the prevalence of period poverty is high in Zimbabwe, especially in the country’s rural areas, where girls at times have to abscond school because they cannot cope without sanitary wear.
Period poverty is the state whereby women and girls are unable to access sanitary products and will be having inadequate knowledge of how to care for themselves during menstruation mainly due to financial constraints, and it is usually experienced by less privileged girls and women who come from extremely poor backgrounds.
Not having access to a safe and hygienic way to deal with menstruation can have profound consequences, particularly on a girl’s education. With more than 3 million girls in Zimbabwe menstruating, there is, therefore, high demand for feminine products. However, there is a backlog in meeting such a demand as sanitary wear production is low in the country, forcing women to rely on imported pads, which are very expensive.
Most underprivileged girls end up wearing rags and using cow dung, which is risky as it does not only affect their health by exposing them to infections but also degrades their dignity, especially in school where they have to go through the embarrassment of being ridiculed by boys after, for instance, a leakage stains a girl’s clothing or uniform.
According to a study by Stitching Nenderlandse Vrijwilligers (SNV), a Foundation of Netherlands Volunteers – Zimbabwe, 72 percent of menstruating schoolgirls do not use sanitary pads because they can’t afford them. However, with the coming in of reusable pads, the probability of the situation improving seem to be high as are cheap and accessible. But according to health experts based in Mudzi, safety and hygiene are difficult to preserve if re-usable pads are used in the absence of reliable sources of potable water.
“In terms of hygiene, re-usable pads are not 100 percent safe due to lack of knowledge on how to properly use them. Girls here spend long hours wearing the pads which exposes them to high risks of diseases like cervical cancer and other infections as they need to be constantly changed.
Mudzi is one of the areas that have been receiving donations of reusable and disposable pads from various voluntary organizations with an aim to end period poverty in Zimbabwe.
“As girls, we encounter certain challenges while using reusable pads. Reusable pads require thorough cleaning, but some of the girls are not able to properly rinse the pads, which is a risk as it exposes them to sores in genital areas. Other girls in our area come from poor backgrounds where affording laundry soap is beyond their reach. They end up leaving the pads dirty and not properly washed which is a threat to their health and wellbeing. So, we plead that these donations come along with the handy soap to wash them”, added Kimberly Pahuwa, a 16-year-old one of Mudzi’s local schools.
Although volunteer teachers and nonprofit organizations have been making an effort to try and close the period poverty gap, there is need for increased penetration in remote areas, where knowledge deficiency on sexual reproduction is still rampant and sometimes considered taboo.
“It is important that we work together as a country to make pads accessible and affordable to the less privileged girls. It is also important to educate young boys because they one day they may become become single fathers, so they will understand the gravity of the matter”, said Thandekile Magqina, Towels for Girls project founder and co-ordinator,.
Meanwhile, women and girls in other rural communities like Wedza, are forking out US$1 or ZWL$200 for a packet of pads.
“Sanitary wear is very expensive for most women and girls in our community and this undermines our self-esteem, especially that of young girls who usually end up engaging in immoral activities to get money for the pads because if they do not have the pads they abscond from school during their cycles. This is killing any form of development from women in our country,” said Tafadzwa Gwatidzo, a local woman from Wedza.
Zimbabwe’s protracted economic crisis has severely damaged the country’s economic potential. Basic needs like food, water, and sanitary wear are scarce which significantly lowers the standard of living. Girls’ and women’s health must be prioritized, especially during their menstrual cycle. This can only be attained if sanitary wear is made available, accessible,, and affordable for every woman and girl child.
Regina Kandenga, Ward 23 Buhera Central, Manicaland Province is a widow who runs a business as a general dealer.
The Covid-19 induced lockdown has really disrupted her business in big way. For instance, the suspension of intercity travel is making restocking very difficult and expensive for her business.
She is currently facing challenges in securing health safety accessories like hand sanitizer and infrared thermometers.
If elevated, she believes her business has great potential to grow, and urges fellow Continue reading “Women Of Velour”
The continuous occurrence of child marriages in Zimbabwe has left the girl child with no other choice but to succumb to living a life of pain and misery. Extreme poverty, lack of knowledge of both sexual reproductive health and educational services as well as backward cultural and religious beliefs being experienced in the countrys rural communities are pushing girls to the edge. Girls as young as 12 years are getting married in search of better lives.
Although some of the girls might be considered fortunate to be married off to mature and understanding men, others usually find themselves in the wrong hands. Despite living in good conditions the young girls’ lives and health are risked the moment they become pregnant.
Adolescent pregnancies are a global problem occurring in high, middle, and low-income countries. However, they are more likely to occur in a country’s marginalized communities, commonly driven by poverty and lack of education and employment opportunities which push young girls into early marriages in search of a better living or as a way of escaping from the harsh reality they encounter. This is the case in Zimbabwe’s Mashonaland East provinces remote areas. For instance, in Makaha motherhood is often valued and marriage and childbearing may be the best of the limited options available for the young helpless girls.
Statistics on maternal mortality have shown how societies have failed young women, as many die each year from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. According to the fifth annual State of the World’s Mothers report, published by the international charity Save the Children, 13 million births (a tenth of all births worldwide) each year are to women aged under 20, and more than 90% of these births are in developing countries. Obstructed labour was found to be common in teenage girls, resulting in an increased risk of infant death and of maternal death or disability.
Early pregnancies among adolescents have major health consequences for adolescent mothers and their babies. Pregnancy and childbirth complications are the leading cause of death among girls under the age of 18, with low- and middle-income countries accounting for 99% of global maternal deaths of women aged 1549 years. Adolescent mothers aged 1019 years face higher risks of eclampsia, puerperal endometritis and systemic infections than women aged 2024 years. While complications during childbirth account for almost 25 per cent of newborn deaths, preterm delivery and low birth weight being some of the other reasons for deaths among infants born to adolescent mothers.
“Immature reproductive tract compromise the health of the pregnant adolescents. Early childbirths alienate girls from experiencing a normal childhood and sometimes they end up undergoing unsafe abortions. These abortions have overwhelming consequences such as cervical tearing, perforated uterus, haemorrhage, chronic pelvic infection, infertility, and death, said a nurse from Mudzis local clinics during an interview.
As one of the cultural factors that work against adolescent women child marriage weakens the girl child. Girls married under the age of 18 report being less able than older married women to discuss contraceptive use with their husbands. Thus they end up bearing children at an early age. For instance, in Makaha – one of Mudzi’s rural communities, where child marriage is prevalent, half of the population of all teenage girls give birth before turning 18 years.
Meanwhile, social consequences for unmarried pregnant adolescents may include stigma, rejection or violence by partners, parents and peers. Also, adolescent pregnancy and childbearing often lead girls to drop out of school, although the government allowed pregnant girls to be allowed to go to school, this may jeopardize the girl child’s future education and employment opportunities as it can be difficult for young pregnant mothers to participate or concentrate with school while pregnant.
During the early part of the Millennium Development Goals era, prevention of adolescent pregnancy and related mortality and morbidity and prevention of HIV and HIV related mortality in adolescents and young people were not given sufficient attention due to competing priorities. However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) worked with partners to advocate for attention to adolescents, to build the evidence and epidemiologic base for activities such as WHOs Guidelines for preventing early pregnancy and poor reproductive outcomes in adolescents in developing countries”, to develop and test programme support tools, to build capacity, and to pilot initiatives in the small but growing number of countries that recognised the need to address adolescent health.
Although adolescents have moved to the centre of the global health and development agenda as a result of the transitioning of the world to the Sustainable Development Goals Era, gender inequities continue to greatly risk girls lives than boys and are affecting many aspects of young womens lives including reduced opportunities for education, employment, and control over their own reproductive health.
Hence, the reproductive health of adolescent women depends on biological, social, cultural, and economic factors. And more educational programmes that provide education, family planning services, and pre-and postnatal care must be conducted to reduce morbidity and mortality among young women.
WHO continues its work on advocacy, evidence generation, tool development and capacity building, the focus has shifted to strengthening country-level action. It is working closely with partners within and outside the United Nations system to contribute to the global effort to prevent children from becoming wives and mothers.
The World Health Organisation works to strengthen the evidence base for action and to support the application of the evidence through well-designed and well-executed national and sub-national programmes. For example, it’s a partnership with the UNICEF, UNFPA and UN Women on a global programme to accelerate action to end child marriage and its collaboration with Family Planning 2020 ─ a global partnership in which it aimed to enable 120 million more women and girls to have access to contraceptives by 2020.
Nongovernmental organizations have been at forefront of efforts to prevent adolescent pregnancy in many countries through bold and innovative projects. There is now a small but growing number of successful government-led national programmes, for example, in Chile, Ethiopia and the United Kingdom. These countries show what can be achieved with the application of good science combined with strong leadership, management, and perseverance. They challenge and inspire other countries to do what is doable and what urgently needs to be done.
Twenty one year old Abiona Mataranyika emerged winner of the University of Zimbabwe Students Representative Council (SRC) elections becoming the first female president of the council.
Mataranyika a French and Portuguese student beat her rival by a record number of votes 2511. Since the formation of the University in 1952, SRC leadership had been dominated by males.
Monalisa Magoche, who was her campaign manager said Mataranyika victory came on the backdrop of criticism and was also victory for the girl child.
“The campaign was not easy at all. False character defamation, cyberbullying and madam president receiving various labels as a woman. The chauvinistic Zanu PF on the campus also tried hard to manipulate our votes by inciting violence upon students and the institution at large.
“Some were hurt due to the violence, stones thrown and riot police chasing students but still we managed to safeguard the students voice, the could shout hatitongwe nemukadzi vamwe vachiti ZICOSU ndiyo ichatonga (we cannot be led by a woman, ZICOSU will rule,” said Magoche.
The SRC has been dominated by males most of whom have ended up joining mainstream politics.
Spokesperson for the Movement for Democratic Change led by Nelson Chamisa, Daniel Molokele who was president of the SRC in 1998 described Mataranyika’s ascendency as special.
“What makes her victory even more special and historic is the fact that she is now the first female student ever in the entire history of the UZ to be elected as a students union president” said Molokele.
It remains to be seen if Mataranyika will not follow in the footsteps of former students leaders who went on to become politicians.
Justice for Women Zimbabwe (JWZ), Female Prisoners Support Trust (FEMPRIST) and Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE) note with concern and anguish the gross human rights violations by the Zimbabwe Government and state security agents, particularly the rights of women.
Addressing the Media in Harare, women organisations said seventeen (17) women have come forward to seek medical and psycho-social support following rape by armed security agents.
“We believe there are still many affected who are afraid to come out and we are calling upon them to come forward and seek assistance from organizations like the Adult Rape Clinic, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and Msasa Project, WALPE, JSW, FemPrist” read the statement.
We will ensure that the experiences of women during the shutdown particularly the torture in the hands of the army are not going to be lost in political conversations until justice prevails.
We are also worried that the justice system may be fast tracking cases as we learnt upon visiting Chikurubi on Sunday 27 January that two young women who are sisters and from Kuwadzana, Harare have already been convicted and sentenced to 5 years in prison each.
1) We demand that an independent complaints mechanism as provided for by Section 210 of the constitution be set up to provide mechanisms for citizens to lodge complaints against members of the security force as citizens have no trust in the police as some of them were perpetrators.
2) We demand the prosecution of all the perpetrators without fear or favour and that they are all barred from ever working in the security sector.
3) We also call upon the police and the army to allow civil society organizations to freely engage the affected communities through carrying out robust public awareness exercises encouraging women to come out and seek treatment as well as to provide psycho-social support to victims.
4) We are also calling for a lasting solution to the problems bedevilling the country and an inclusive dialogue process is a step in the right direction involving all stakeholders ie the church, civil society organizations, political parties, the business, people with disabilities, various groupings of citizens and most importantly women as they carry the face of poverty in this country and are naturally good mediators.
5) We further demand that the Government of Zimbabwe take up the recommendations of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission which were accurate and bold on what transpired and what must be done. Attempts to meander and suppress the report by denouncing the commission as we are witnessing from various government officials is unacceptable.
May the souls of our sisters and all who died rest in peace. We also wish all women and girls nursing injuries a quick recovery.