Vice President Joice Mujuru
By Paidamoyo Chipunza
By Paidamoyo Chipunza
Reported cases of domestic violence in Zimbabwe have drastically increased by over 500 percent to nearly 11 000 cases from 2008 to 2012, Vice President Joice Mujuru has said.Officially launching this year’s International Women’s Day in Harare yesterday, Vice President Mujuru said police recorded 1 940 cases of domestic violence in 2008, 3 193 cases in 2009, 7 628 cases in 2010, 10 351 cases in 2011 and 10 871 cases in 2012. VP Mujuru, who was representing President Mugabe at the commemorations, said the upward trend of the domestic violence cases was a reflection of increased awareness.“Evidence of the results on the ground include a greater awareness and increased number of reported cases of domestic violence to the Zimbabwe Republic Police,” she said. VP Mujuru said this year’s celebrations were special as they came at a time women had at least 85 percent of their concerns covered in the draft constitution.The Copac draft constitution received an overwhelming support in last week’s referendum.The International Women’s Day is marked worldwide on March 8 every year. The international theme for the commemorations this year is: “A promise is a promise: time for action to end violence against women”.Zimbabwe has adopted a localised theme; “Peace begins with me, peace begins with you and peace begins with all of us”.VP Mujuru said the theme was a statement and a challenge at personal, community and national levels.“The organisational skills, the passion and even the resources we used to mobilise women to get what we wanted in the new constitution should be used in mobilising women and communities for peaceful elections,” she said.
“Let us be exemplary in all our endevours and encourage the region and the rest of the world to pick best practice from Zimbabwe.” VP Mujuru challenged men to take a leading role in ensuring that women and girls were safe and free from violence. According to Padare Men’s Forum and the police, women are assaulted for various reasons including burning food, arguing with the men, neglecting children, going out without informing the husband and checking the husband’s cellphone.Head of the Victim Friendly Unit police Assistant Commissioner Isabella Sergio said the police were doing their best in dealing with domestic violence cases. She said although cases of domestic violence were going up because of increased reporting, the police expected them to decrease.Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association Mrs Patrice Dziire said although women were aware that domestic violence was criminal, they still faced challenges accessing the justice system.United Nations resident co-ordinator, Mr Alain Noudehou said the local theme for the day was the most appropriate.“This theme speaks to the national and global commitment by governments to keep their promises of ending violence against women and girls. Violence against women and girls is a gross human rights violation that fractures families and communities and hampers development. It has enormous social, economic and productivity costs for individuals, families, communities and societies,” he said.