Mukoko Commends GVT on Moves To Ratify Torture Convention

Mukoko was responding to statements by Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa who told parliament this past week he has since recommended to cabinet that the country ratifies the human rights based treaty.

Chinamasa went further to say the country will soon specify torture as a separate crime on its own that would see offenders being charged and possibly incarcerated.

“As civil society, it’s something that we have been lobbying for over a long time and when he begins to speak about it, it means that the message has been heard,” Mukoko said in an interview with Radio VOP.

Mukoko, herself a victim of severe torture in the hands of state agents in 2008, was quick to add that the government should show enough spirit it will not relegate the noble move to just a mere signature.

The ZPP boss said government should go on to guarantee the full respect of the rights of prisoners especially political prisoners who have borne the brunt of worst forms of torture in the hands of the Mugabe regime.

“It remains a totally different whether if eventually ratified, issues around torture would be handled in a different way,” Mukoko said.

“As a country, we have very good policies. Where we have a big problem is in their implementation. It will remain with us as ZPP and as civil society to lobby more so that those who are supposed to implement this would ensure that citizens in the country are treated with dignity and respect.”

The convention was adopted and opened for signatures, ratification and accession by the UN General Assembly Resolution 39/46 of December 10 ,1984.

It came into force in June 1987.

Since then, Zimbabwe has been dilly dallying on issues of its domestication.

The country has a poor human rights record where pro-Mugabe security officials are always being accused of torturing prisoners in a bid to extract information from them.

Mugabe’s government has played it difficult on matters of combating torture within its security systems having 2009 abruptly deported UN special rapporteur on torture Manfred Nowak who had entered the country at the invitation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.