There are unconfirmed reports that Zimbabwean human rights activist Jestina Mukoko, who had been accused of plotting to overthrow President Robert Mugabe, has gone missing again. Zimbabwe's High Court Wednesday ordered that Mukoko and eight co-defendants be transferred to a Harare hospital until their next court date this coming Monday.
But Zimbabwe lawyers say police defied the court order and instead took Mukoko and other activists to an undisclosed location.
Mukoko heads the Zimbabwe Peace Project, but prosecutors say she recruited people to go to neighboring Botswana for military training. Botswana has denied the allegations.
Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for Zimbabwe’s main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) told VOA the opposition has been getting little cooperation from the Mugabe government on the fate of Mukoko and the other activists.
“The information we got is that by yesterday we had managed to identify in physical body and physical being Justina Mukoko and the other activists, all of them who were detained. But of course the members who were brought to court were only nine of them and of the nine that were brought to court, they were given High Court order that they be released immediately and they be given medical attention. But to our chagrin and disappointment we have not yet received any cooperation or respond from the ZANU-PF regime,” he said.
Chamisa described as preposterous accusations by the Mugabe government that Mukoko had been plotting to overthrow President Robert Mugabe.
He called for the resignation of Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri for his wanton disrespect for the rule of law.
“It’s absolutely preposterous and also frivolous. But again it is a manifestation of the madness that characterized the ZANU-PF regime in their concoction, distortion and falsehood. More importantly, we are now calling for Mr. Chihuri as the commissioner of police to immediately resign if he continues to wantonly abuse the law and disregard the rule of law. And we are saying Mr. Chihuri, if you are not able to handle the justice system, if you are not able to respect the constitution of the land, if you are not able to respect the rights of Zimbabwean citizens, then you might as well consider vacating your position as commissioner of police, Chamisa said.
Zimbabwe's High Court Wednesday ordered that Mukoko and eight co-defendants be transferred to a Harare hospital until their next court date this coming Monday.
Chamisa said Mukoko and the others were not in good condition when they were last seen.
“If you saw their pictures, like we actually saw Jestina and other activists, they are not in good condition. And the fact that they were kept under circumstances of lack of information, circumstances of abduction, clearly they need to be medically examined to make sure that everything is in order,” Chamisa said.
He described as absolute rubbish the Mugabe government’s accusation that Mukoko had recruited people to go to neighboring Botswana for military training.
“In fact, even ZANU-PF they know that it is a lie, it is a falsehood to try and divert attention from the real issues in the country. How on earth would we train people to overthrow ourselves? We are the government; we control parliament; we control the local government council. Why would we train people to overthrow our government or to overthrow ourselves?” Chamisa asked.