Zim Human Rights Campaigner Sues Four Ministers

The denial is contained in an application filed by lawyers representing state security agents and four ministers who are being sued by human rights campaigner Jestina Mukoko.

Mukoko, the director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) is demanding more than US$200 000 in damages which she suffered as a result of her abduction, wrongful arrest and torture when she was abducted from her home in Norton in December 2008.

In a defendant’s plea to Mukoko’s application for damages whose hearing is yet to be set the four ministers Co-Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi, former co-Home Affairs Minister Giles Mutsekwa, Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and former State Security, Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement Minister Didymus Mutasa and the three state security chiefs namely Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, Chief Superintendent Peter Magwenzi and Brigadier-General Asher Walter Tapfumaneyi deny the torture allegations.

“The defendants deny that the plaintiff (Mukoko) was tortured and put the plaintiff to strict proof of claim,” reads part of the ministers and security agents’ response to Mukoko’s summons. The ministers and the security agents are all represented by Harare law firm Mutamangira and Associates who assumed agency last October after the Attorney General who is also being sued by the ZPP director renounced agency.”

The ministers’ lawyers claim that Mukoko was “arrested by law enforcement agents who had reasonable suspicion that she was involved in a conspiracy to recruit and engage in acts of terrorism, banditry and sabotage.”

The lawyers say Mukoko was arrested in order to “protect the public good” and “prevent attacks on public infrastructure and police stations.”

Mukoko sued the four ministers and the police chiefs after Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku granted her a permanent stay of prosecution after ruling that her constitutional rights were violated as a result of the abduction and torture.

The former ZBC news anchor was abducted by state security agents in December 2008 from her Norton residence and held incommunicado in secret detention centres until the end of December when she was produced at a police station and subsequently in court.

She was accused of recruiting persons to commit terrorism and banditry, including the recruitment of insurgents to train in Botswana for an alleged armed uprising against the then government of President Robert Mugabe.