Police letting rapists go scot free in rural Masvingo, villagers say

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By Leopold Munhende

VILLAGERS from rural Bikita, Gutu and Zaka have accused police officers of letting a lot of rapists go scot-free by delaying investigations or acting as self appointed arbiters in cases involving rape by a relative.

Speaking at a women’s summit to commemorate 16 days of activism against gender based violence, organised by Heal Zimbabwe, one villager who asked to be identified as Mrs. Mangoma said they no longer had anyone to turn to when it comes to rape cases as police officers had become complicit in the crime.

“We no longer have police officers in our communities because criminal are now bribing them.

“What happens to those of us who do not have money?” said Mangoma.

“Too many people are being rapped with culprits walking free because of this.”

Another villager who preferred not to be identified blamed both the police and parents.

“Sometimes as parents, we are at fault because we are the ones who are quick to hide the crime if it is committed by a relative especially,” she said.

“The police themselves are wrong when they choose to mediate between family members if, for example, an uncle rapes a niece.”

Another dragged in traditional leaders, accusing them of coercing parents to offer their daughters up for sexual orientation, a process described as “kuvhura zheve.”

She said “kuvhura zheve” is when a daughter who is past marrying age is given to a traditional leader to have sexual intercourse with.

A member of the Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC) Virginia Muwanigwa said a government’s success is measured by its responsiveness to its people’s views.

“Government can only be judged by its responsiveness to how it acts to citizens’ concerns. If it fails then let us see it trying,” said Muwanigwa.

“Justice has to be served for the victim to heal.”