A singer in Zambia convicted of raping a 14-year-old girl in 2014 is serving as an ‘ambassador in the fight against gender violence.’
Clifford Dimba served one year of an 18-year prison sentence for the rape before being pardoned by the President in 2014. Since then, and after being appointed to the ambassador position, he has been arrested twice more for violence against women.
Dimba, who performs under the name General Kanene, was convicted in 2013 of raping the girl in Lusaka, the country’s capital. It was touted at the time as one of very few rape convictions secured each year in a country that’s plagued by child sexual abuse.
While he was in prison, Dimba quickly began professing himself to be very interested in the problem of ‘gender violence,’ releasing a video of himself performing in jail and writing songs to create awareness on the negative effect of Gender Based Violence.
Soon after, Dimba won a pardon by writing a flattering song about President Edgar Lungu. He was released from prison in 2014. He was then given a new appointment as the anti-gender-violence ambassador, which the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights calls “outrageous”:
“Such an outrageous release and appointment as an ambassador for the fight against gender-based violence not only traumatises the victim all over again but discourages other victims from reporting similar offences,” said Dubravka Šimonović, UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences.
“The pardon and appointment undermine the strong message against sexual abuse of women and girls that was sent with the original sentence and trivialise the serious nature of these offences,” Ms. Šimonović said. “Rather, Clifford Dimba has been placed in a prominent position and even portrayed as a role model to fight violence against women.”
Photo Courtesy: Zambian Watchdog