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Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) statement on the criminalization
of Jestina Mukoko
in Zimbabwe Coalition
March 10, 2013
Crisis in Zimbabwe
Coalition condemns, in the strongest terms possible, the personal
summons issued by the National Police Commissioner, Augustine Chihuri
through the public media calling for the apprehension of human rights
defender, Jestina Mukoko.
was completely unwarranted and can only be viewed as an overt display
of aggression towards a woman whose only crime is carrying out her
lawful mandate of ensuring that the rights of her fellow countrymen
and women are not violated.
Given that Miss
Mukoko has no criminal record to speak of, we consider the initiation
of a police manhunt to apprehend her to be an unparalleled exhibition
of the intimidatory tactics employed by the ZRP in its engagement
with citizens within and without the civic society sector.
In light of
this we wish to state in no uncertain terms that as civic society
we will not be dissuaded from carrying out our lawful mandate or
be deterred from pursuing our broad goal of seeing democracy being
entrenched in this country and justice prevailing.
We stand in
solidarity with Ms Mukoko who has since handed herself to the Harare
Central Police Station in compliance with the directive issued by
the police commissioner.
We are mindful
of the malicious posturing on the part of the Police Commissioner
Chihuri who took to national TV to issue a summons for Ms Mukoko
in an obvious attempt to paint members of civic society as criminals
of the highest order.
Ms Mukoko was
accompanied by her lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa before being released
into the custody of her legal team after being interrogated
by the police in connection with four charges namely that: (i) she
ran an unregistered organisation (ii) took part in the management
of an unregistered organisation (iii) smuggled radio and cellphones
and (iv) in line with the Broadcasting
Services Act (BSA) failed or refused to register as a dealer.
of the fact that today is International Women’s Day –
we reiterate that the targeting of women activists such as Ms Mukoko
is an aberration from the letter and spirit of the Global
Political Agreement (GPA) and flies in the face of all the political
rhetoric on upholding women’s rights.
It is unfortunate
that the State Security forces continue to exhibit partisanship
and lack of professionalism as shown by their failure to follow
due process and the action of the Commissioner General is evidence
enough that there is need for reforms in the security sector.
We, as a matter
of urgency, repeat the following demands to the Inclusive
- That the
political leaders in the Inclusive Government act immediately
to cease the undue harassment of CSO’s throughout the country.
- That the
Government of Zimbabwe must urgently take measures to ensure the
protection of CSO’s and HRDs and not impede their legitimate
activities which promote and advance implementation and fulfillment
of human rights obligations by the State and non-State actors.
- That the
police and prosecuting authorities should exercise professionalism
and carry out their duties in a non-partisan manner and desist
from the intimidation of NGO workers through unnecessary and unwarranted
brutality and searches.
- That JOMIC
be given the mandate to urgently investigate the recent actions
by the police and other security sector personnel or proxies against
CSOs and their work.
We contend that
these attempts to criminalise NGOs, and discredit their work are
wholly associated with impending constitution referendum and elections
and we urge the Government of Zimbabwe to allow CSOs and their members
to operate without being criminalised, intimidated and harassed
ahead of the crucial referendum scheduled for March 16 and anticipated
elections if they are to pass the credibility test.
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in Zimbabwe fact
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