A British MP has expressed her horror at reports of Zimbabwean women being raped by soldiers during a violent crackdown on protesters. Picture: AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi
The brutality of a military crackdown on Zimbabwean civilians has left a Harare family mourning the murder of their son, who had just started a new job.

Kudakwashe Moromo was not even part of the January 14 protests, but was allegedly abducted by men in military uniform in central Harare while waiting for transport home on Friday.

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Nelson Chamisa was part of the mourners at the Mbare home on Tuesday  morning before Moromo’s burial at Zororo cemetery.

Chamisa gave a detailed account of the man’s death after offering his condolences to the family, who were too terrified to speak to the media.

“Kudakwashe was apparently coming from work. He was abducted and bundled into a vehicle packed with men suspected to be from the military. He was severely tortured and beaten up. Kudakwashe bled to death from the injuries he sustained,” said Chamisa.

The MDC leader left the bereaved family’s home for a press conference about the Zimbabwe crisis, at which he highlighted atrocities across the country.

He again mentioned Kudakwashe’s death when he read out a list of the 12 other people who have died from the alleged military-led assault on civilians. Among the dead was 22-year-old Edward Choto, a budding football player from Chitungwiza, who was due to travel for trials in South Africa before being shot dead.

“What is shocking to us is that there has not been any attempt by the government to acknowledge the deaths of all these people, who include a policeman. There has not been a press conference to indicate the number of people who have died,” said Chamisa.

The MDC leader said the brutality of the Zimbabwean government was worse than the violence witnessed under the rule of Robert Mugabe.

“We have seen the type of terror that makes Mugabe look like a baby, in terms of terrorism.”

He slammed what he termed the “silence from the SADC (Southern African Development Community) and the AU”. 

“I have written five letters to the SADC about the crisis here with not a single response. How much bloodshed has to flow in Harare? How many women have to be raped before they act?” he asked.

The 44 human rights violations the MDC listed were corroborated by the Law Society of Zimbabwe when the legal fraternity marched to the Constitutional Court to hand over a petition demanding that the rule of law be reinstated.

More than 100 lawyers, clad in their gowns, joined the march past President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s offices to the chief justice’s offices.

The lawyers, led by prominent human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, held placards that read: “Free the judiciary”, “No to justice from the barracks” and “Respect the rule of law”.

The lawyers’ petition said they were aggrieved that since the January14 protests, there had been retaliatory state reaction. “It has become common practice for those arrested and suspected of having participated in the protests who are subject to the criminal justice system to be denied their basic, fundamental rights and freedoms,” the petition read.

The lawyers said the rights of arrested and detained persons had been violated, and called for the immediate return to the barracks of army personnel who had taken over the role of the police.

Mnangagwa, who has reduced his responses to Twitter, has repeatedly tweeted that victims must report cases of abuse by the security offices. Human rights organisations, however, insist that victims are too terrified to approach the very security forces accused of being the perpetrators of the violence.