Faced with a rapidly escalating, brutal campaign of violence perpetrated by the Mugabe regime, Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change has issued an urgent appeal for medical supplies as well as funds for medical costs, food and legal assistance.
Their appeal comes in the wake of a vicious crackdown on opposition activists and supporters that began with the planned day of prayer on Sunday 11 March and continues to make headlines worldwide.
Since the start of the bloody crackdown by the increasingly marginalized Mugabe regime, up to 300 people are known to have been beaten up or tortured and the country's struggling hospitals are battling to cope.
Injuries include serious eye damage, deep lacerations, severe blunt-force trauma to the abdomen, ruptured bowels, fractured limbs and skulls, broken ribs, shattered joints, gunshot wounds and extensive damage from blows to the back, shoulders, buttocks and thighs.
Numerous women are among the victims, including a woman in her late 30s who was seven months pregnant. She was savagely beaten with a baton and lost the baby as a result. Two have been hospitalised in South Africa.
There are fears of more bloodshed this week during the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union's stay away to demonstrate against oppression, hyperinflation, unemployment, poverty and the government's failure to provide basic services.
According to Roy Bennett, treasurer of the MDC, up to 30 people a day are being detained as the countrywide purge of opposition groupings continues. Bennett warned that the objective is to destroy the opposition before the glare of an election refocuses international attention.
"Campaigning by Zanu-PF has been stepped up dramatically," he said. "The regime's strategy is to hammer people on the ground by beating and torturing them into submission or to incarcerate them."
Bennett said Zimbabweans were frequently criticised for a perceived lack of courage and for not solving their own problems.
"However, critics outside the country have to understand that this regime is ruthless in its desperation to hold onto power and extreme violence remains its most powerful weapon," Bennett explained.
"It takes supreme courage to face the full might of the Zanu-PF military machinery and no one is exempt, not even a 64-year old grandmother like Sekai," he said.
Sekai Holland, the MDC's secretary for international affairs, was gravely injured during a two-hour torture session which included her deputy, Grace Kwinjeh, also a member of the organisation's national executive.
Holland suffered multiple fractures including three broken ribs, a broken arm and leg as well as deep tissue bruising. After being denied medical attention for a dangerously long period, she underwent surgery to insert pins in her arm and leg, but her knee - which was also shattered - required specialist surgery in South Africa.
Bennett is appealing for urgent medical supplies or funds to purchase MARS (Medical Air Rescue Service) kits. He says that funds are also required urgently for medical costs, food and legal assistance.
Government hospitals frequently refuse to provide medical assistance to opposition supporters and are increasingly without medical supplies, so private hospitalisation and self-help are the only options.
MARS first aid packs and financial donations
MARS first aid packs are required for emergency teams, medical staff, doctors dealing with torture victims, nursing sisters in high-density suburbs and trained volunteers operating in vulnerable areas.
According to a spokesperson, many victims are afraid to move after violence and brutality as they face the danger of further beatings.
Financial donations would enable the organisers to purchase customised MARS packs valued at about R1 000. With inflation soaring well past 1 700%, a specialised MARS pack in Zimbabwe currently costs an unaffordable Z$770 000.
For those who are willing to donate urgently needed medical supplies, the list includes crepe bandages, burn shield, first aid dressings, surgical strips, latex gloves, saline drip delivery sets, space blankets and zinc oxide strapping.
Donors who are able to provide complete packs or items for the packs should refer to the list posted on the following websites: The Zimbabwean www.thezimbabwean.co.uk or Zim Online www.zimonline.co.za
Alternatively, contact the organisers to discuss what is needed. Phone Tracey Le Roux in Johannesburg on +27 11 799 6100 or e-mail email@example.com
Submitted on behalf of:
Movement for Democratic Change
Tel: +27 11 799 6101 (direct) or +27 11 799 6100 (shared switchboard, office hours)
Cell: +27 82 388 4985
Tracey Le Roux
Movement for Democratic Change
Tel: +27 11 799 6100 (shared switchboard, office hours)
download the media release and full medical aid kit list.
Audited bank accounts have been set up in South Africa and the United Kingdom to receive funds:
Account Name: Zimfund;
Account Number 1589406079
Branch: Brown Street Branch,
Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, South Africa
Branch Code: 158952
SWIFT Code: NEDSZAJJ
Account Name: Zimfund UK
Account Number: 80558850
Sort Code: 20-46-60
SWIFT Code: BARCGB22
Africa Fighting Malaria reported on the deterioration of the Zimbabwean healthcare systems in 2005 in "Despotism and Disease. A Report into the health situation in Zimbabwe and its probable impact on the region's health."
Africa Fighting Malaria also published a report co-authored with Archbishop Pius Ncube on Operation Murambatsvina, in which the Mugabe regime destroyed the property and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of ordinary Zimbabwean. download "State in Fear. A report on Operation Murambatsvina - "Operation drive out the filth" - and its implications."