Mukoko finally gets her $150k govt compensation for abduction and torture

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi

PROMINENT rights activist Jestina Mukoko finally received her $150 000 compensation she was awarded October this year by the High Court following her successful litigation over her 2008 abduction and torture by the state.

The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) director was awarded $100 000 for damages suffered and a further $50 000 in legal costs with government ordered to meet the obligation on or before October 31 this year.

“We reached a settlement in October and they were supposed to have paid up by the 31st October which did not happen,” Mukoko told Thursday.

“I was actually thinking that the years were going to build up again, but beginning of December a few days ago, they did credit my account.”

The former ZBC news anchor turned-human rights defender was December 2008 seized from her Norton home in the early hours of the fateful day and driven to an unknown place while blindfolded.

For three weeks, her whereabouts were unknown, triggering global demands for her release.

She resurfaced together with dozens of other abducted pro-democracy activists and opposition supporters who were jointly accused of plotting to topple then President Robert Mugabe’s administration through recruiting people to undergo military training in neighbouring Botswana.

Mukoko was released from remand prison after a torturous three month incarceration and was in 2009 granted permanent stay of prosecution by the Supreme Court after she got legal assistance from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

Said the ZPP boss, “Obviously, we cannot say that justice has been realised because I am aware that I was not the only one who was abducted at the time that I was abducted.

“And there are people who were also abducted before me and people who were abducted after me. So, I think the State has just taken the first step and I think if we are going to say justice has been delivered, they need to be able to take into account all the other instances of enforced disappearances and, in particular, pay attention to those who have never been found after they disappeared.”

Mukoko also said the financial settlement, although welcome, could never atone for the trauma and suffering she went through at the hands of state security agents she said were “ruthless, merciless and very evil”.

“It will not make for the lost time as my liberty and allother human rights accorded to me by virtue of my being human were unjustifiably curtailed, nor will it provide solace for my traumatised family, my mother, my son brother and extended family, friends and other peace loving citizens,” shesaid.