BY SHARON SIBINDI
THE United States has expressed concern over the State-sponsored violence and political persecution of women in Zimbabwe and called for investigation and prosecution of perpetrators.
This follows the alleged abduction of MDC Alliance legislator Joanah Mamombe and activists Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova, who were tortured by suspected State security agents after demonstrating in Harare.
They were remanded in custody to June 26 for allegedly publishing falsehoods prejudicial to the State and defeating the course of justice.
Last week, two female youths in Harare — Namatai Kwekweza and Vongai Zimudzi — were arrested for protesting against the proposed amendment of the Constitution.
The US Department of State recently held a teleconference with Department of State ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues, Kelley E Currie, and USAID acting administrator John Barsa, where the concerns were raised.
Currie told NewsDay that they were deeply concerned with the reports of women facing political persecution in Zimbabwe.
“The United States has long had grave concerns about the government of Zimbabwe’s record of human rights abuses and violence against its own people. The United States maintains targeted sanctions on the President of Zimbabwe and many other senior government leaders,” she said.
Currie said women should become part of the decision-making process during COVID-19 response and recovery.
“We will continue to work with our colleagues across the departments, and with USAID, to ensure women’s rights are being respected during this time. The State Department urges the government of Zimbabwe to immediately end State-sponsored violence, including against peaceful protesters, members of civil society, labour leaders and members of the opposition in Zimbabwe and to investigate and hold accountable those responsible for human rights violations and abuses,” she said.
Currie said the American people’s unwavering commitment to the welfare of Zimbabweans had made them the largest humanitarian donor country.
“To respond to COVID-19 in Zimbabwe, the US has committed nearly US$15 million for health and humanitarian assistance. This new assistance builds on a history of US investments in Zimbabwe, which totals nearly US$3 billion over the past 20 years, including nearly US$1,2 billion for health. This approach is fundamental to the implementation plan on women, peace and security,” she said.