Reports

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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Youth Resilience and Peace Building Manual


There is no doubt that young people across Zimbabwe can play a critical role in, economic social, and political development at a national level. A close examination of Zimbabwe’s history will reveal that young people have been active as agents of social change since the struggle for Independence. However, over time, young people in Zimbabwe have become increasingly exploited as a vehicle for violence by diverse political actors regardless of race, party or ideology.

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Social Accountability Research A study of the Young Women Working Groups in Bulawayo, Bindura, Gwanda and Kadoma Districts.


The Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) is currently implementing a programme entitled “Creating Demand for Devolution by Young Women”. It seeks to empower young women to lead advocacy efforts calling for devolution within their communities. Devolution, which is provided for in Section 264 of the Zimbabwe Constitution, enables citizens to have greater agency in effecting better, autonomous representation, which, in turn, will ensure better accountability. Under the project, six community-working groups were formed made up mainly of young women between the ages of 18 and 35 years old. Amongst the objectives of the working group is to hold duty bearers to account on the use of public resources and delivery of services to citizens.

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THE GENDER LENS Volume 1, Number 1 Proportional Representation for Women: the Way to Equality


Increasing women’s representation in the parliaments of the world has become an increasing field of debate: not about whether this should happen anymore, but rather about what is the most effective method to achieving this. This a slowly developing consensus that some kinds of electoral processes are more effective than others, but there is still a good deal of complexity surrounding both the best electoral method and the factors that impinge on getting women elected. Zimbabwe in the past two parliaments adopted a reserved seat, proportional representation, approach. This has resulted in more women being elected to parliament, but it seems at the expense of less women being directly elected. In 2018, there were few women selected by political parties as candidates and voting for women candidates was extremely low. The reserved system is due to expire in 2023, and there is active debate on the way forward for the future, especially in the light of the constitutional requirement for equality in representation and office.
This article reviews the arguments and evidence for proportional representation and quotas. It concludes that, for Zimbabwe, proportional representation and a 50/50 quota will be the most effective way to honour the constitutional requirement of Section 17.

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