By Mavu Chinyani            17th September, 2013

Ever since the 2013 Zimbabwean elections results were announced, I for one feel like I am in a nightmare from which I shall wake up to the relief of finding that I was only dreaming.

That Robert Mugabe, cruel and unpopular as he is, won the elections is beyond comprehension. It couldn’t be, indeed the whole thing was “cooked up” and yet despite all the signs and evidence of the blatant rigging, we are going to be stuck with him for yet another 5 years. Scary isn’t it. Well it ought to be nightmarish as well and for obvious and good reasons too.

First and foremost is that the beast we are stuck with is dangerous, has no scruples and does kill. Record is there for everyone to see even from way back before independence when he dispensed with the likes of Josia Magama Tongogara up to present day when anyone he deems a “security risk” is dispatched by his most preferred way, “road traffic accident”. In between, he orchestrated genocide (1982 and 1987) in what he calls “a moment of madness”.

Secondly, he has turned every other member of the Zimbabwean population into a spy for and an eye of “Big Brother”. This scenario has the effect of instilling fear in and enslaving the minds of the majority in our population. All our minds are effectively in prison although we are physically free. The entire population is mentally in prison and as such literally unable to free ourselves. Another scary bit is that most are not even aware of this predicament. This brings me to my final point, human rights.

It is no secret that the upholding of human rights is not even on the agenda of the Mugabe regime. If anything, those who seek to promote and defend human rights are labelled unpatriotic, a term which in Mugabe’s domain is a precursor to persecution and possible annihilation. Human rights activists e. g Stendrick Zvorwadza, Human Rights organizations, NGO’s and even lawyers representing clients known to be associated with human rights issues are themselves persecuted e.g. Beatrice Mtetwa, Alec Muchadehama, Arnold Tsunga etc. Some human rights activists e.g. Paul Chizuze are made to disappear without trace

Scary as it may be, we really need to fight on for our rights because if we don’t, no one else will. The international community’s hands are tied and in any case, you would not expect them to act on our behalf for they do not have that much-vested interest. This is my call to all human rights activist. It is game on as we endure another 5 years in the grips of a dictator.

Mavu Chinyani is a human rights activist in the Manchester branch of Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) Zimbabwe’s UK Chapter and, in this instance, writes in her personal capacity. She can be contacted on e-mail