DEMOCRACY activist Jestina Mukoko scored a major victory against the State after she was awarded $100 000 as damages and a further $50 000 in legal costs following her litigation against the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) following her abduction and torture in 2008.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
Mukoko was abducted from her home in Norton on December 3, 2008 by State security agents and spent almost three weeks at an unknown detention area. She was accused of plotting to topple then President Robert Mugabe’s administration through recruiting people to undergo military training in neighbouring Botswana.
The matter fell apart in September 2009 when the Supreme Court granted a permanent stay of prosecution in her favour due to the violation of several of her fundamental rights by State security agents then under Didymus Mutasa.
In her application, she had argued that she had been subjected to torture and inhuman, degrading treatment.
In a deed of settlement forming part of the court record, dated September 27, 2018 the money is supposed to be settled on or before October 31, 2018.
“And whereas the parties, following extensive negotiation have since reached common ground and are now desirous to settle all outstanding issues between them arising from the plaintiffs’ (Mukoko) claims, now therefore the parties have agreed as follows,” read the deed of settlement.
“That the first defendant (Minister of State Security, Lands and Land Reform) pay to the plaintiff as damages in respect of her claims the sum of $100 000.
“That the second defendant (Minister of Home Affairs) pay to the plaintiff as contribution towards her legal costs the sum of $50 000 and the payment of the agreed amounts be made on or before October 31, 2018.”
In terms of the deed of settlement, the other defendants who had been part to the litigation had their matter withdrawn with no order as to costs.
The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) in a statement yesterday described the matter as victory for the rule of law, constitutionalism and a mortal blow to impunity.
“This outcome will not make up for the scars inflicted on her, but it will contribute to the healing process while emboldening all those who may still be pursuing justice against the excesses of the State, including those who suffered a similar fate like hers, who are yet to get justice,” ZPP and ZLHR said.
Mukoko said many others who were abducted or disappeared have had their cases stagnant for years.
“The patrimonial settlement cannot atone for the trauma and suffering that I suffered and went through at the hands of the State security agents who were ruthless, merciless and very evil,” she said.
“It will not make for lost time as my liberty and all other human rights accorded to me by virtue of my being human were unjustifiably curtailed, nor will it provide solace for my traumatised family — my mother, son, brothers, sisters-in-law, extended family, friends and other peace-loving citizens.”