Intended for healthcare professionals


Zimbabwe’s humanitarian crisis

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 13 August 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a1286
  1. D Ncayiyana, emeritus professor and vice chancellor1,
  2. L London, professor and director2,
  3. D Sanders, professor and director3,
  4. A Kalebi, BDIAF fellow4,
  5. J Kasolo, senior lecturer5
  1. 1Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa
  2. 2School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Cape Town, South Africa
  3. 3School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
  4. 4Department of Pathology, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg South Africa
  5. 5Department of Physiology, University of Makerere, Kampala, Uganda
  1. Correspondence to: D Ncayiyana danjn{at}

    Even successful political dispensation would not immediately end the misery

    Zimbabwe has become a living hell for ordinary Zimbabweans, who have had to endure horrific punishment for voting the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to victory in the presidential and parliamentary elections of March 2008. In a comprehensive and meticulously researched report published on 29 July, the faith based, non-profit organisation Solidarity Peace Trust presents a chilling account of state sponsored atrocities and human rights abuses perpetrated by the army, police, and bands of youth militia against the people of Zimbabwe in the run-up to the flawed presidential elections of 27 June.1 The report documents many abductions, beatings, mutilations, other forms of torture, and political assassinations, all occurring within a short space of three months.

    In a plea for an end to political violence, the group known as Specialist Doctors in Zimbabwe noted that some 2900 victims of political …

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