THE NGO NETWORK ALLIANCE PROJECT - an online community for Zimbabwean activists  
 View archive by sector


Back to Index

Regional campaign against political violence launched in South Africa
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
December 13, 2010

The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) through its South African office on Friday the 10th of December launched the Act now against political violence targeting women campaign at a colourful ceremony that was graced by over 200 people mainly exiled Zimbabwean female activists and South Africans from different organisations.

The launch held at the Constitution Hill The Women's Jail, corner Kotze street and Joubert Extension, Braamfontein came barely a week after the one held in Zimbabwe on the 3rd of December 2010. The days' proceedings started with an art exhibition of paintings, drawings depicting images done by Curriculum Development Project CDP and glitter was added with poetry, drama and traditional music from (Democracy Begins In Conversation DBIC) with themes in line with the campaign. On the day, the NCA also took time to celebrate the International Human Rights Day, a day that is set aside annually in respect of human rights.

NCA Regional Coordinator Cde Munjodzi Mutandiri in his welcome remarks at the launch underscored the need for everyone to participate in the campaign. He said that the campaign does not belong to women alone but that it is about people, about communities about man and women taking a stance on political violence as violence can be targeted at anyone.

Dr. Charity from the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) Political Science Department said that women should be given space in decision making. She also explained how women's livelihoods were destroyed during the 2008 elections and called on the authorities to instigate full investigations to bring the perpetrators to book. ''The horrific acts of 2008 were women were raped, maimed, killed as forcing them to support and vote for a certain political party was a sad reality. What is more worrying is that those who committed the crimes are still walking scot-free with no arrest recorded, she added. Further she called for legislative reforms that protects the rights of women.

Delivering the keynote address of the day NCA Chairperson Dr Lovemore Madhuku said that the Mugabe regime mainly targeted women because they constitute the greater percentage of voters in the country. "They have been using violence as a strategy of remaining in power and we should all be prepared to stand up and fight violence through non-violent methods, Madhuku said. ''Its so surprising that Mugabe created another force (Border Gezi militias) as if our security forces are not enough. This is the force that ZANU PF mainly uses to terrorise women during election time."

He said that the purpose of the campaign is a reminder that Zimbabwe should be governed properly so that she prospers as a nation. By launching the regional campaign Dr Madhuku said that there is need for our neighbours especially those in SADC to appreciate the nature and form of the struggle in Zimbabwe. "We encourage our neighbours to raise their voices in condemning violence and we hope that the message is going to be preached in the whole region. We would like to see a cessation of violence against the people, especially women who have borne the brunt of political violence in recent years. There are no guarantees that the impending election would not be violent.

"It is important for us to join progressive groups in the region and strengthen our activism in this area. Violence has been used in Zimbabwe against struggling people and this is a campaign to say we are oppressed but will protest against this oppression," said Madhuku. He also told delegates that the NCA is already campaigning for a NO Vote in the referendum, "We are going to the real grassroots to explain why they should Vote No," said Madhuku.

"Zimbabwean citizens must reject the outcome of the ongoing constitution-making process because they did not contribute to the process in a democratic manner."

Speaking at the same occasion Zimbabwe Exiles Forum Coordinator Gabriel Shumba encouraged Zimbabweans in the diaspora to participate in this important campaign. "We all know the effects of violence, a majority of you here fled the country as a result of political violence and our message now is that enough is enough," said Shumba. He added: "When we fled home we thought we were safe not knowing that xenophobia was also waiting for us." Shumba also blasted Home Affairs officials who have been physically and sexually abusing women so that they get quick services for the processing of their documents.

Other solidarity messages came from Human Rights Watch, Soweto Coalition, MDC Veterans Association, Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum, ZINASU, COSATU, KHULUMANI and POWA. Kudakwashe Chitsike from the Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) gave a narration of the statistics contained in a report based on a survey her organisation published in 2008. The report captures human rights violations perpetrated against NCA females members since 2000 to 2008. Also at the launch was Justice Cameroon who is based at the Constitutional Court, who said that Zimbabwe's problems can only be achieved if the rule of law is restored in the country.

The ACT NOW AGAINST POLITICAL VIOLENCE campaign seeks among other things to tap into the regional experience to address the scourge of political violence as the country approaches yet another election by raising awareness, building support structures, name and shame perpetrators as well as capacitating women and communities at large to deal with the scourge at two levels: prevention and support for victims. The year long campaign will include demonstrations, community workshops, rallies and petitions to be done countrywide and the SADC region as a means of spreading the gospel against violence targeting women.

Visit the NCA fact sheet

Please credit if you make use of material from this website. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.