Cheers to Dr. Hazel Cameron, Honorary Senior Research Fellow, University of Stirling, and genocide scholar!
She released a new bombshell study on mass rape in the 80s while Zimbabwe’s President is about to attend the BREXIT meeting in South Africa this week. Events that had been swept decades under the carpet and were now published by the British-Zimbabwe Society.
President Mugabe’s 1982-1987 security clampdown – the genocide – against the Ndebele named Gukuharundi was publicized and well-known. It was also no secret that at the time, the current President Emmerson Mnangagwa was Minister of internal security and chairman of the Joint High Command and thus had oversight over the 4,000 Shona Fifth Brigade under Perranc Shiri and the Central Intelligence Organisation.
Mnangagwa denied he had an active part in the operation, nor has the operation been internationally investigated.
Gukuharundi was launched in January 1983 against non-combative civilians considered political supporters of the main opposition of the ZANU-PF government. Estimates of those killed range from 20000 to 50000. It ended in December 1987 with the signing of a national unity accord.
Dr. Cameron’s study concludes that during the 1983-1984 peak of violence, systematic genocidal rape was state policy as part of the operation. It revealed ”the immense suffering of the victims of the genocide and their descendants.” Further, it is stated that “genocide creates victims across generations.”
The pattern described includes;
Public spectacles of multiple perpetrator rape targeting children and adults
Witnesses forced to watch the rape of female and male family members
Rape and sexual violence followed by mass killing
Forced intrafamilial rape
The study described males’ fears of being found with family members, as soldiers could force them to rape these. Shame and humiliation destroyed communities and individual families by crushing bonds through the annihilation of social norms.
The study also identified patterns of reproductive violence targeting males and females. It further concludes the profound impact on generations 40 years later.
Witnesses interviewed for the study reported that this was not carried out for personal satisfaction but always on commands of military officers.
Dr. Cameron stated, “The policy of rape and other forms of sexual violence was systematic and predicated on the government’s intent to destroy the Ndebele in part. The policy reflects the ideology and strategic goals of those in high office. The fundamental human rights of many survivors remain affected to this day.”
She rightly states, “Time cannot eliminate the trauma inflicted or the need for justice.”