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Convicted Rapist Receives US$700, A House For Coining "Mnangagwa Huchi" Slogan - Report

9 months agoMon, 07 Aug 2023 07:36:33 GMT
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Convicted Rapist Receives US$700, A House For Coining "Mnangagwa Huchi" Slogan - Report

The ruling ZANU PF party sparked controversy when they reportedly rewarded convicted rapist Bobby Makaza with a house and a significant sum of cash during a presidential rally in Mutawatawa, Mashonaland East province, NewsDay reports. Makaza had previously been sentenced to 16 years in prison for raping a 10-year-old girl in 2018. However, he was released after serving less than five years following a clemency order signed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Makaza gained attention within the ruling party for coining the phrase “Mnangagwa Huchi” upon his release, which means “Mnangagwa is honey.” ZANU PF adopted the slogan “ED Huchi” for their 2023 election campaign.

During the rally, ZANU PF political commissar Mike Bimha announced that the party’s youth secretary, Tinoda Machakaire, was building a house for Makaza. Additionally, Makaza received $700 in cash, with Machakaire contributing $500 and other party members contributing $200. NewsDay cites Bimha as saying:

Cde Machakaire is building him a house and has also given him cash. Other party members have also chipped in with some cash incentives.

The decision to reward a convicted rapist and celebrate his actions drew criticism from civil society organizations, women’s rights activists, and opposition political parties. Many condemned Makaza’s release, considering it a disregard for survivors of sexual assault and a violation of principles of justice and accountability.

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Political analyst Romeo Chasara expressed concern over ZANU PF’s message, suggesting that it undermines efforts to address gender-based violence and promote justice. He said:

This move by Zanu PF raises serious questions about the party’s commitment to addressing gender-based violence and promoting justice in Zimbabwe. By rewarding a convicted rapist with a house and cash, the ruling party sends a dangerous message that crimes of this nature can be overlooked and perpetrators can be celebrated. This undermines the efforts of survivors and activists who have been tirelessly advocating for justice and accountability.

Former Cabinet minister Walter Mzembi also criticized the party, stating that it represents a new low in celebrating criminals. He said:

We have a lot of work ahead of us in resetting societal norms and values, redefining what we celebrate as a nation. Rebranding a paroled rapist convict of minor children as a celebrity for coining a campaign slogan ‘ED Huchi’ is a low for many’.

ZANU PF this Monday refuted the claims that Makaza was promised a house. Said the party:

It’s not true. Minister Machakaire did not meet Cde Bobby Makaza. He did not promise to build him a house.

Activists argued that ZANU PF’s actions trivialized the seriousness of the crime and perpetuated a culture of impunity. Lawyers for Human Rights wrote to the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services, demanding clarification on the basis for Makaza’s amnesty.

If the court determines that Makaza’s release was unlawful, he and others who were freed under the amnesty could potentially be re-imprisoned. Victims of violent crimes expressed their dismay, claiming they were not consulted prior to the release of the perpetrators.

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