April 4, 2006. I open the door of my hotel room and pick up The Herald. The banner headline reads: “Obadiah Msindo Arrested.” Although there has never before been a photograph of a man accused of rape in a Zimbabwe newspaper, the front page carries a picture of this 36-year-old leader being escorted to prison, charged with raping his young maid five times.
Nine hundred people have walked to Mutasa’s remote Sherukuru Primary School. The 81 members of the Girl Child Network club sit on the ground in the shade, waiting for their group to become official. Now it’s time for founder Betty Makoni to step to the center of the grass circle. She holds up The Herald.
“We are here to celebrate together. There will be no rape in this country. It doesn’t matter how important the man is. If he rapes a girl, he must go. If he is in government, he must go. If he is a religious man, he must go. If he is a teacher, he must go. Heads are beginning to roll. We have already presented the authorities with the names of accused persons, among them a deputy minister, a senator, members of the House of Assembly, chiefs, a permanent secretary and business executives.”