One of the founding members of the Movement for Democratic Change. Thabitha Khumalo has urged women in Britain to help free Joanah Mamombe who is facing imprisonment and the risk of solitary confinement and rape.
Khumalo who is also a human rights defender and champion of the rights of children, women, as well as the disadvantaged was speaking at the Trades Union Congress (TUC) Women’s Conference in London, England.
Ms Khumalo spoke about the Movement for Democratic Change’s (MDC’s) youngest MP Joana Mamombe who was charged with treason for allegedly subverting the government.
Ms Khumalo is visiting Britain to highlight the scale of human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, saying thousands of civilians are being beaten and raped with police targeting trade union leaders and protesters.
Calling for help in releasing the youngest MP in the current Zimbabwean parliament 25-year-old Ms Mamombe and the 1,000 activists currently in jail, Ms Khumalo said: “What is scaring the hell out of me now is that chances of jail are so high.
“Once imprisoned, there is the risk of solitary confinement. There’s no light in solitary confinement so anyone can come in and rape you and you cannot identify them.”
Union leaders in Zimbabwe face charges for striking in a peaceful three-day stay away action in January against rising fuel prices.
Ms Khumalo said the government “unleashed an animal” when it realised the strike was proving successful and raided houses, raped women and shot dead 20 civilians.
The MDC founder highlighted the importance of defending the National Health Service and the accessibility of sanitary products, and said she was called a bitch in parliament when raising the issue of sexual abuse and the denying of sanitary towels.
Ms Khumalo was told by President Emmerson Mnangagwa that women should “switch off” their periods when attending parliament, and “switch it on when they are done.”
An emergency motion put forward by Unite called on the TUC to write to the British government to ask what it is doing to stop the abuses of human rights in Zimbabwe.
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