Jestina Mukoko

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Jestina Mukoko with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (left) and First Lady Michelle Obama (right) in 2010.

Jestina Mukoko is a human rights activist and journalist from Zimbabwe. In 2010, she received the International Women of Courage Award.[1][2]

Work[change | change source]

Jestina Mukoko is the director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project. She studied to be a journalist, and she was a newsreader with the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.[1]

Kidnapping[change | change source]

On December 3, 2008, Jestina Mukoko was kidnapped from her house near the city of Harare.[3] Dumisani Muleya of Business Day newspaper said that she was "abducted by suspected state agents for allegedly being involved in plans for anti government demonstrations."[4]

Mukoko told The Independent newspaper that they asked her about her NGO, the Peace Project. The said she wanted to train young people to fight the government. They beat her on the bottom of her feet with rubber hoses. They said this is a favourite torture instrument in Zimbabwe because it does not leave a mark on the feet for later. [5]

International attention[change | change source]

Many world leaders asked for her freedom, including Gordon Brown and Condoleezza Rice. [5] A "Group of Elders", including Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan and Graca Machel, wanted to come to Zimbabwe, but the government refused to let them come in. Instead, they talked to the newspapers in South Africa. [5]

The Zimbabwe High Court told the Zimbabwe Republic Police to look for Mukoko.[6] The police did nothing. They said they did not know where she was. [5]

Freedom[change | change source]

On 24 December, Mukoko appeared in court in Harare on charges of trying to get young people to fight the government.[7] She did not have a lawyer. She was with seven other people who were kidnapped. The group included a 72-year-old man and a two-year-old boy whose father and mother, Violet Mupfuranhehwe and Collen Mutemagawo, were also prisoners.[5] In March 2009, three months after her kidnapping, Jestina Mukoko was free on bail.[8] She had to go to the police station every week. They took her passport.[9] On 21 September 2009 the Zimbabwe Supreme Court said she was free. Amnesty International said this was a good decision.[9]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Nehanda Radio website, "Jestina Mukoko meets Michelle Obama", 12 March 2010, accessed 19 January 2011
  2. "2010 International Women of Courage Award".
  3. "Zimbabwe activist abducted by 12 gunmen." CNN. 3 December 2008.
  4. Muleya, Dumisani. "Watershed for Mugabe as soldiers rampage." Business Day. 4 December 2008.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 "Jestina Mukoko: 'Mugabe's henchmen came for me before dawn'", by Daniel Howden, The Independent, 17 January 2009, accessed 19 January 2011
  6. "Zimbabwe court orders police to look for activist." CNN. December 9, 2008.
  7. "Seized Zimbabwe activist in court". BBC Online. December 24, 2008. Retrieved December 24, 2008.
  8. update Pambazuka News, "Jestina Mukoko released", 6 March 2009, accessed 19 January 2011
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Zimbabwe Supreme Court orders end to prosecution of activist Jestina Mukoko", Amnesty International News, 27 September 2009, accessed 19 January 2011

Other websites[change | change source]