A Consolidated Report on the Food Riots 19-23 January, 1998

“I would say we were not handled as if we were human beings when I was taken to the police station. I was just handled terribly… I was held like a criminal. Everything was harsh… I used to cry when I was in the cell. Cry for myself. In the evening.. All those I remember very well, I can say ¾ of the days I was in the remand holding cells I wasn’t sleeping. I didn’t have time to sleep. It was just terrible those days… That was my first time to be held, in such a way, in such a situation. So it made it tough, ’cause when I start to remember that I was in for nothing. I was in for no reason at all. It just makes me go wild, I just.. I just don’t feel like I’m a person with my rights. I was deprived of my rights. I was assaulted. I was hassled. I was assaulted badly at that time when I think of those days. I.. I just feel I wasn’t born. I just feel as if I wasn’t existing in this place.”

– Survivor from Mabvuku

This report, compiled by the AMANI Trust on behalf of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, provides a background and analysis of the Food Riots by looking at newspaper and other reports as well as patterns of arrest, charges and convictions after the Food Riots. The report then presents a case study in Mabvuku and delves into the psychosocial consequences for the survivors of the Food Riots. The report ends with recommendations for moving forward.

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Design and development supported by HURIDOCS.