- Dear Family and Friends,
- Almost every day someone asks me what hope there is
for Zimbabwe. I must admit that I struggle to find an answer some days
but when I see the incredible bravery and outstanding work of ordinary
people it gives enormous hope and inspiration. I asked a friend in the
Human Rights Forum to help me update the list of names of people murdered
in political violence for the roll of honour on my website.
- She agreed but asked if she could also include a few
details on each person so that they don't just become numbers and statistics.
This alone gives me hope because it means that people care, no one has
suffered in vain and every person who has died for freedom will not be
forgotten - they have each taken us a step closer to democracy.
- Another cause for hope came this week as the Zimbabwe
Women Lawyer's Association began gathering evidence to help release women
being held and sexually abused in camps run by government youths. Horrific
tales are surfacing of women and girls being abducted, gang raped and
used day after day by young men who clearly think they are above the law
- their day of reckoning is now approaching thanks to these caring Harare
- Two women recounted their horrific tales, one, a 55 year
old from Murombedzi, told how she was forced to attend a rally and gang
raped when she tried to leave. "I did not do anything wrong. ...
For these youths to do this to someone old enough to be their mother is
unthinkable. ... They all took turns to rape me..." Another woman
from Rushinga said: "How can you be a legitimate leader to me when
you got that position by raping me, beating me up, burning my property,
scarring my son's back, taking over my home and taking away my dignity..."
- This week has seen renewed attempts by our government
to silence journalists in Zimbabwe. Under the guise of either the Public
Order and Security Act or the newly passed Access to Information Bill,
some of our country's bravest people have been picked up and charged with
various offences. Daily News owner and editor in chief, Geoff Nyarota
was arrested as was his chief reporter Pedzisai Ruhenya. The Zimbabwe
Independent's Editor, Iden Wetherell and senior correspondent Dumisani
Muleya were also picked up and charged. These journalists will not give
up though and as our crisis deepens more and more people are joining them,
finding their voices and principles and doing the right thing for Zimbabwe
- All of these things are cause for hope and help to
dispel the despair that often threatens to engulf us. This week's Financial
Gazette carries the story that war veterans have made new demands to the
government. These include a 150% rise in their monthly pension, a 60%
increase in the school fee allowance for each of their children and a
new state subsidised medical aid scheme to cover war veterans and their
dependants. War veteran Andrew Ndlovu also said to the Financial Gazette:
"The war veterans should be appointed as ministers or deputy ministers,
governors, high commissioners, district administrators and senior police
- Very soon now we will again see who is really in charge
of Zimbabwe. Thanks as always for the messages of support and encouragement
and sorry that so many of you say you aren't receiving my letter direct
anymore - my email address has not changed so be persistent. Do also let
me know if you would rather be taken off my mailing list.
- Until next week, with love, cathy.