Thursday, September 23, 2010

Zimbabwe: "They took my six-year-old grandson, my daughter-in-law and my son, locked them in one of the rooms. They threw a petrol bomb inside"

Juliet Mashoko, a 61-year-old grandmother, attended the recent Survivors Summit in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, organized by Heal Zimbabwe, an NGO working to rehabilitate people affected by political violence during the 2008 elections.

She told her story during a group testimonial session.

"President [Robert] Mugabe [leader of ZANU-PF] and Prime Minister [Morgan] Tsvangirai [leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)] must apologize to me because I was beaten on the head and all over the body by ZANU-PF militia and sustained a broken leg. My daughter-in-law, who was pregnant, and my six-year-old grandson were locked in a house which was then set on fire.

"The Prime Minister owes me an apology because I suffered so much trauma because of supporting his political party [MDC]. Right now the two of them [Mugabe and Tsvangirai] are in an inclusive government and their lives have moved on, while some of us are carrying so much hurt, injury and trauma.

"It was just before sunset and a truck load of ZANU-PF supporters drove into my homestead, located on the eastern outskirts of Harare. They said they were looking for my son, Brian Chimova, who is an MDC councillor for the area.

"They said since I was not prepared to reveal his whereabouts, I would have to take the punishment they wanted to mete out [to him].”

They began assaulting her with sticks, and "They also stomped on my legs and hit me with thick logs until one leg fractured.

"They took my six-year-old grandson, my pregnant daughter-in-law and my 20-year-old son and locked them in one of the rooms. They threw a petrol bomb inside, which set it on fire.

“Up to this day, their cries of anguish continue to haunt me. I wanted to assist them but I was helpless as I could not move my legs.

"I am not able to provide for myself any more because of my injuries and the destruction of my property. The government should compensate all victims of political violence and assist them to rebuild their shattered lives."

Disclaimer:This material comes to you via IRIN, the humanitarian news and analysis service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations or its Member States.
Photo: Copyright IRIN