Reports

Organised Violence and Torture and Elections in Zimbabwe


Organised Violence and Torture (OVT) has been a feature of political life in this country for decades. It was present before independence in 1980, continued through the 1980s during the Gukurahundi period, and has been a feature of elections since 2000, although not wholly absent from elections prior to 2000. Elections in Zimbabwe are often a time when citizens are fearful about the possibility of political violence, more than half (52%) said so in the 2017 Afrobarometer survey.

The present report, Organised Violence and Torture and Elections in Zimbabwe, describes the OVT in all the elections since 2000. There are more than 90 reports describing this, but this report drew on the reports that provided quantitative data on the OVT: it does not take a qualitative case study approach. The report details the OVT for each of the elections – 2000, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2013 and 2018 – describing the various forms of OVT, the kinds of victims, and the alleged perpetrators.

With elections pending in 2023, and growing fears that these could be violent once again, the report concludes with a range of recommendations for the Zimbabwe government, SADC, and the international community.

This report is one of a series on the history of OVT in Zimbabwe, and is part of a collaborative effort of a consortium of non-governmental organisation, working together to provide assistance to the victims of OVT, irrespective of time, race, gender or political affiliation.

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Citizenship, Agency and Deliberative Democracy in Five SADC Countries


SADC is composed of countries that achieved independence through armed struggle and those that achieved this through political struggle. Many commentators have suggested that liberation movements that acquired government through armed struggle have a propensity for coercion in maintaining political power; Zimbabwe the worst at resorting to coercion (RAU 2016).. We examined this thesis by comparing five SADC countries: three that are governed by former liberation movements – Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe – with three countries that earlier achieved independence through political action.

We compared these five countries through the eyes of their citizens, using the Afrobarometer Round 7 surveys in those countries. We attempt to examine whether political history affects citizen agency, looking at a number of variables that might reflect this: political fear, political trust, government performance, and participation. Measures were constructed for each of these variables and we included one further question on desire to emigrate as another measure of citizen satisfaction.

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Bindura Young Women Demand Devolution.


This story is an account of Bindura young women who are conducting training on Devolution in their communities. Under a program entitled Creating demand for devolution by young women, the young women went through training on Social Accountability, Devolution and Leadership. This news story is a witness of how the training increased their agency, we hope it will inspire young women to participate actively in governance processes.

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Organised Violence and Torture in Zimbabwe & the Liberation War


This short report is one section from a forthcoming monograph. The monograph is a detailed overview of the organised violence and torture that has afflicted Zimbabwe from 1980, as well as the violations that took place in the country known during the time as Rhodesia from 1972 to 1980 when independence finally came. The rationale for including the pre-Independence period, and a restricted one at that, is to illuminate the fact that some things never change: governments under threat have a propensity for resorting to coercive control. Obviously, war is one of those threats in which governments adopt coercive strategies, and the civil war that escalated in 1972 provides a graphic example of the way in which human rights violations escalate, but it is not only civil war that prompts the committing of gross human rights violations. As will be seen, the history of the past 49 years contains multiple periods in which Organised Violence and Torture (OVT) has proliferated. The issue is not so much the absence of OVT in some periods, but the frequency found overall in the past five decades.

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Thoughts on national healing


Mental Health is too frequently the poor sister of medical care. Less money is devoted to mental health than many other areas in health, and, too frequently, it is not recognised how common are mental health problems. As pointed out last year in the Lancet:

From addiction to dementia to schizophrenia, almost 1 billion people worldwide suffer from a mental disorder. Lost productivity as a result of two of the most common mental disorders, anxiety and depression, costs the global economy US$ 1 trillion each year. In total, poor mental health was estimated to cost the world economy approximately $2·5 trillion per year in poor health and reduced productivity in 2010, a cost projected to rise to $6 trillion by 2030.

Zimbabwe is no different to most countries. In the 1980s, Zimbabwean researchers estimated that between 30 to 30% of people attending primary care facilities were suffering from some form of mental health problem. By 2005, this figure had grown significantly, and it was now estimated that this had grown to nearly 40% of primary care patients.
In addition to all the factors that generally underpin mental ill-health in Zimbabwe, must be added the twin burdens of high levels of poverty and the trauma of organised violence.

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TRAUMA AND MENTAL HEALTH IN ZIMBABWE


Mental Health is too frequently the poor sister of medical care. Less money is devoted to mental health than many other areas in health, and, too frequently, it is not recognised how common are mental health problems. As pointed out last year in the Lancet:

From addiction to dementia to schizophrenia, almost 1 billion people worldwide suffer from a mental disorder. Lost productivity as a result of two of the most common mental disorders, anxiety and depression, costs the global economy US$ 1 trillion each year. In total, poor mental health was estimated to cost the world economy approximately $2·5 trillion per year in poor health and reduced productivity in 2010, a cost projected to rise to $6 trillion by 2030.

Zimbabwe is no different to most countries. In the 1980s, Zimbabwean researchers estimated that between 30 to 30% of people attending primary care facilities were suffering from some form of mental health problem. By 2005, this figure had grown significantly, and it was now estimated that this had grown to nearly 40% of primary care patients.
In addition to all the factors that generally underpin mental ill-health in Zimbabwe, must be added the twin burdens of high levels of poverty and the trauma of organised violence.

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Dealing with the “Complex Emergency” in Zimbabwe: Thoughts on Psycho-social support to the community.


Mental Health is too frequently the poor sister of medical care. Less money is devoted to mental health than many other areas in health, and, too frequently, it is not recognised how common are mental health problems. As pointed out last year in the Lancet:

From addiction to dementia to schizophrenia, almost 1 billion people worldwide suffer from a mental disorder. Lost productivity as a result of two of the most common mental disorders, anxiety and depression, costs the global economy US$ 1 trillion each year. In total, poor mental health was estimated to cost the world economy approximately $2·5 trillion per year in poor health and reduced productivity in 2010, a cost projected to rise to $6 trillion by 2030.

Zimbabwe is no different to most countries. In the 1980s, Zimbabwean researchers estimated that between 30 to 30% of people attending primary care facilities were suffering from some form of mental health problem. By 2005, this figure had grown significantly, and it was now estimated that this had grown to nearly 40% of primary care patients.
In addition to all the factors that generally underpin mental ill-health in Zimbabwe, must be added the twin burdens of high levels of poverty and the trauma of organised violence.

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THE GENDER LENS JOURNAL: STRENGTHENING WOMENS ADVOCACY FOR INCLUSIVE GOVERNANCE (SWAG) 2020 Volume 1 Issue 3


Strengthening women’s advocacy for inclusive governance is a process whose time has come. This is in pace with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal Number 5 (SDG 5) seeking to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. The international policy framework is getting tighter and serious. The United Nations Security Council has adopted 10 resolutions on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS): Security Council Resolutions (SCR) 1325 (2000), 1820 (2008), 1888 (2008), 1889 (2009), 1960 (2010), 2106 (2013), 2122 (2013), 2242 (2015), 2467 (2019), and 2493 (2019). The general international mantra is “leaving no one behind” in development. Elizabeth Stuart and Emma Samman explain the mantra to mean ending extreme
poverty in all its forms, reducing inequalities among both individuals (vertical) and groups (horizontal), and the prioritisation and fast-tracking of actions for the poorest and most marginalised people – known as progressive universalism (Stuart & Samman. 2017).

The SCR guides work to promote and protect the rights of women in conflict and post-conflict situations. There is a strong recognition that gender is central to national and international peace and security. However, accountability, implementation, and action remain seriously lacking. There are many gaps, ranging from increasing the number of women at the highest levels of decision-making, covered in the first issue of the Gender Lens, to ending impunity for gender-based violence, covered in the second volume. Zimbabwe is unfaithful, it is not living to its vows on strengthening women’s participation and their inclusion in all spheres of life.

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