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Sharon Mazingaizo

Sharon Mazingaizo

By Sharon Mazingaizo.

Democracy Under Siege: Images of main opposition MPs  ejected from Parliament Reveal the Erosion of Democracy in Zimbabwe.

The images that appeared on Thursday afternoon are what comes to mind when democracy ends.



The videos and images circulated on social media showed main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) MPs being violently ejected from parliament and being manhandled by the police after they protested the swearing in of the recently elected Zanu PF MPs in the December 9 by-elections.



The harrowing images showed how Zimbabwean democracy  is under threat and slowly dying.



“When members of parliament raise points of national interest and points of order in the august house, the proper procedure is for them to be properly considered and adjudicated upon. Democracy must not be silenced.”



“Breaching parliamentary privilege and unleashing the police on elected representatives because they’ve raised uncomfortable questions that bring the unconstitutionality of state conduct into sharp focus can never take us forward,” said Fadzayi Mahere, constitutional lawyer and CCC MP.


For Zimbabwe, is it too late to ask, “is our democracy in danger?” because “democracies erode slowly, in barely visible steps.”

Empowering girls in Zimbabwe to overcome period poverty.

How one organisation is making a difference in the country’s
fight against period poverty.
By Sharon Mazingaizo.

Period poverty is a widespread issue in Zimbabwe that is worsened by an economic crisis. Young girls and women from underprivileged backgrounds cannot afford sanitary products, restoring to use rags as the cost of period products continues to rise.



Period poverty refers to the inability to afford pads and tampons, 72% of Zimbabwean  girls do not use sanitary products as they cannot afford to purchase them and 62% of girls miss out on school every month due to lack of sanitary wear, according to the study by SNV Zimbabwe.


Dzidzo Safepad, is a community-based organisation tackling period poverty in the country by bridging the gap in accessing menstrual products. The organisation has trained 500 girls to make their own reusable sanitary pads. Dzidzo is a Shona language term which loosely translates to “education.”



Chrystal Bonzo, the founder of Dzidzo Safepad, said the frustration of witnessing menstrual inequalities among young girls made her start the initiative.



“I started the Dzidzo Safepad in 2021 during the pandemic, l wanted to use the skills l have to make sustainable menstrual products, as an organisation we have trained 500 girls to make reusable sanitary pads and we have donated hygiene kits to girls in unprivileged communities,” she said.



Zimbabwe is also facing a water crisis. The country's period poverty is also exacerbated by factors like lack of access to clean water and sanitation facilities.

Beyond the Shadows: The Reality of Physical and Sexual Violence Against Women in Zimbabwe.

From November 25: The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.

By Sharon Mazingaizo.

Zimbabwe is recording an increase in domestic violence and gender-based violence (GBV). The most common form of violence that women experience in the country are sexual violence, intimate partner violence and child marriage.


According to Musasa, an NGO working to empower women and girl survivors of domestic violence and abuse said in 2019 it assisted 32,707 survivors of gender-based violence. In 2020, the number shot to  40,536. In 2022, it has recorded 39,827 cases of gender-based violence.


The Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey (ZDHS) reveals that 33% of women aged 15-49 have experienced physical violence, while approximately 25% have experienced sexual violence since age 15.


As 16 days of activism against gender-based violence begin, the campaign takes place from November 25 (International day of No Violence Against Women) to December 10 (international Human Rights Day), Vimbainashe Mutendereki, executive director at Musasa said there has been a rise in GBV cases in the country.


“Women and girls who come to Musasa have experienced various forms of violence - physical, sexual, emotional or economic violence all bring survivors to Musasa to receive services. Musasa has been assisting close to 40,000 women every year through our direct services, which include counselling, shelter, toll free call centre, legal services, health services and others,” said Mutendereki.


“Women with disabilities are at a heightened risk of violence, during humanitarian crises like floods or droughts again women have increased vulnerability. Young women are also at a heightened risk of violence,” she said.


According to NGO, the number of violence against women, cases in Zimbabwe, is still increasing.


In Zimbabwe, 40 percent of women aged 15-49 have experienced physical and sexual violence perpetrated by an intimate partners, including 19 percent who suffered such violence during the previous 12 months, according to a report Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).


In March 2022, authorities arrested a 30-year-old man for raping and brutally murdering ten women in Marondera, Mashonaland East Province.


Child marriage is also prevalent in Zimbabwe, one in 3 girls in the country is married before the age of 18.

Uncovering the Truth: The Escalating Abductions in Zimbabwe and the Call for Action.

By Sharon Mazingaizo.

In a joint statement released on Tuesday, Amnesty International, Southern Defenders, and Human Rights Watch have urged Zimbabwean authorities to take immediate action in addressing the surge in abductions and arbitrary detentions.


 “Zimbabwean authorities must immediately address the escalating cases of abductions, arbitrary detention, torture and killing of parliament members, opposition political activists, and human rights defenders,” said the statement.


The recent statement addressing the disappearance, abduction, and torture of main opposition parliamentarians and political activists is a  reflection of the alarming situation prevailing in the country’s political landscape.


On November 13, Bishop Tapfumanei Masaya, a member of the main opposition party Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) was found dead after he was abducted on Saturday during a political campaign in Harare. Masaya’s family said his body had signs of torture. On November 14, Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) said it is conducting an investigation on the circumstances surrounding Masaya’s death.


On November 1, Takudzwa Ngadziore, main opposition  member of parliament was abducted, tortured and dumped about 50 km north of Harare. Ngadziore  recorded himself on Facebook Live describing that he was being chased by armed man.


On October 23, James Chidhakwa, a former opposition member of parliament was abducted, tortured and then dumped in Acturus.


On September 2, Womberaiishe Nhende, the elected councillor for main opposition party and activist Sonele Mukhuhlani were allegedly abducted and tortured before being dumped on the outskirts of Harare.


On August 3, Tinashe Chitsunge, a CCC activist was reportedly stoned to death  in Glen View South, Harare.


On August 26, Nelson Mukwenha an CCC activist was abducted, tortured and dumped on the outskirts of Harare.


On June 2022, Moreblessing Ali, main opposition activist was abducted, her body was found mutilated after missing for three weeks.


On May 2020, opposition member of parliament Joana Mamombe, Cecillia Chimbiri and  opposition activist Netsai Marova, were arrested at a police roadblock in Harare, then disappeared from police custody. They were found tortured and  abandoned in Bindura, 87km from Harare.


On July 2020, Tawanda Muchehiwa was abducted, tortured  and for three days his whereabout were unknown, he was later dumped on the side of the road.


In 2019, 49 cases of abductions and torture were reported in Zimbabwe.


On March 2015, Itai Dzamara  pro-democracy activist was abducted by five men while he was at a barber shop in Harare. Dzamara vanished without a trace, eight years later, after he was last seen they is no progress on the investigation.


Job Sikhala Jr Reveals Heartbreaking Reality of His Father's 500 Days Behind Bars.

By Sharon Mazingaizo.

Job Sikhala Jr opened up about his father spending more than 500 days in prison without bail or a conviction as hope starts fading of his release.



Speaking in an interview, Sikhala Jr, just 23 and a law student said his most important job is to “look after the family, put food on the table and make sure the family is safe.”



“As the eldest son, my attention has shifted to the family more than anything else. I must make sure that the family is safe and that they have something to eat. It has been difficult, but we have adapted to the situation. We don't know when my father is going to be released. Our hope has faded away from the shock of such inhuman treatment,” he said.



Job Sikhala Sr has been jailed over 60 times, and has spent over 500 days in prison, his appeal for discharge was dismissed and postponed to November 20.



“The days my father has spent in pre-trial detention can amount to a prison sentence. This is a terrible and inhuman way to treat an innocent citizen of this country. It is very disappointing for these captured institutions to continue behaving in such a way. It seems every judge or magistrate is afraid of releasing him. This makes us think they are hidden hands somewhere controlling the judgement not to release him. There has been no positive reaction from the government to the calls for my father’s release.”



“As Zimbabweans, we have become dangerous cowards by failing to make calls for his release, even organisations that are fundamental in our country that advocate for justice are not putting efforts into the call of his release,” he added.


On October 30, Sikhala Sr spent his 51st birthday in Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison, solidarity messages calling for his release and birthday wishes poured over social media. But for the Sikhala family, there was nothing to celebrate.

“This is my dad’s second birthday in prison, and it's very disturbing. We celebrated nothing; how can we celebrate a birthday with zero morale? It’s not only us as a family that is suffering from my father’s arrest but it’s also people in the community where we live. A lot of children used to have school fees paid by him and the elderly were helped with food hampers and medication. His arrest has affected many people and we feel the absence of my father,” Sikhala Jr said.

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