825 raped in Harare

HARARE - Nearly 900 women and girls were raped in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare in 2012, with child rape spiralling out of control, police warned yesterday.

Officer commanding Harare province, senior assistant commissioner Clemence Munoriarwa told a community policing awareness campaign in Chitungwiza that police are worried over increasing cases of child abuse and violence against women.

Munoriarwa revealed grim statistics from 2012, with a total of 824 women and girls raped up from 801 recorded in 2011 in Harare alone.

“The efforts being made by Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) will not mean anything without your input as residents of Harare,” Munoriarwa told thousands of Chitungwiza residents who braved the hot weather to interact with the police.

According to the statistics, it means one woman and one child report rape to police everyday, authorities said.

The latest crime statistics revealed a marginal increase in reported sexual crimes.

While the number of reported rape incidents is shocking, under-reporting is an even bigger problem.

Crime statistics released yesterday show that sexual crime cases reported to police were coupled with 10 reports of domestic violence on a daily basis.

According to Munoriarwa, the top cop in Zimbabwe’s capital, 3 102 cases of domestic violence cases were recorded, with women and children mostly being affected by the menace.

The rape and domestic violence statistics are set to send shockwaves throughout the country.

The officer commanding said domestic violence is on the rise, with an increase of 1 000 cases from 2 438 cases recorded in 2011.

“This is contributing to the poor cultural fibre and societal breakdown as children are being brought up in a society that is full of violence,” Munoriarwa said.

“We are grooming a bad future because our children will grow up thinking that violence in our homes is the norm.”

Police said of the 63 cases of murder recorded in Harare last year, a “good” percentage of the total was caused by violence in general, with domestic violence contributing the remainder.

Munoriarwa named unemployment, prostitution and poor management of finances as chief contributors and causes of home violence.

Community policing campaigns are being conducted throughout the province by the police in a bid to integrate members of the public in fighting crime, which the Harare police chief said had escalated to frightening levels.

Munoriarwa said 93 000 criminal cases were recorded in the capital with 7 763 of them being housebreaking and theft.

He said 156 cases of armed robbery were recorded, up from 147 in 2011.

“I want to appeal to every community leader here to assist police in fighting crime, we are worried that violence in general is on an upward trend and as police, we want to ensure that Zimbabwe becomes a peaceful country,” Munoriarwa said.

Turning to political matters and the forthcoming polls in particular, the senior police officer said his troops are ready to meet anyone who will try to cause violence.

Munoriarwa warned Zimbabweans to avoid a repeat of the bloody 2008 elections which saw over 200 losing their lives and property worth millions of dollars destroyed.

“We must not allow what happened in 2008 to repeat again, I hope you are aware that homes were destroyed, people killed each other and valuable property destroyed. We must say no to violence and no to politically-motivated violence,” the commander said.

“I am appealing to all political parties to urge their supporters not to engage in violence. I am glad that we have political leadership here, please let us support the police in fighting violence.” - Xolisani Ncube

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