The Abduction and Trial of Jestina Mukoko: The Fight for Human Rights in Zimbabwe (2016)
By Jestina Mukoko
Published by KMM Review Publishing Company, Sandton, South Africa
AS one reads The Abduction and Trial of Jestina Mukoko: The Fight for Human Rights in Zimbabwe, one is assailed by a myriad of emotions from one chapter to another.
Sympathy progressively degenerates into incredulity at inconsistencies between message and context.
The author, Mukoko, is a ‘human rights’ activist under the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), a Western-sponsored regime change non-governmental organisation (NGO) established in 2000 by organisations branding themselves as ‘civic society.’
In post 1997, the ‘civic society’ in the country had a standard narrative at violent odds with the historical context in which it exists.
It is a narrative unmistakable in its racist origins.
The narrative contends Zimbabwe’s Land Reform Programme occurred only because ZANU PF had lost the February 2000 Referendum that rejected a proposed Constitution that would have legalised compulsory acquisition of land from white settlers for equitable redistribution to the landless black majority.
The NGO civic society narrative contends the attempt to empower the landless black majority impoverished by colonial dispossession was a trampling of ‘human rights.’
Mukoko was born in colonial Rhodesia in 1967.
Her story is about her alleged ‘abduction and torture’ by state security agents.
I cannot profess to know or comprehend her ordeal, but will contextualise her story so it can be understood from its proper historical perspective.
Mukoko is the director of the ZPP.
It might be coincidence that a ‘human rights’ organisation is formed just at the height of the Land Reform Programme to “monitor and document ‘human rights’ violations in Zimbabwe”.
From the start, it becomes clear ‘human rights’ only come into play when white privilege is trampled.
In 1995 Claire Short, who was part of the Blair administration in Britain, said they (the British) would renegade on an earlier promise by Margaret Thatcher to fund/compensate whites for the return of stolen land.
No one marched the streets at this outrageous declaration that evidently trampled the rights of the blacks over the land.
ZPP comprises religious and human rights organisations, some of which are organising marches against the National School Pledge that talks of owning, protecting and working for the God-given nation, Zimbabwe.
But wait a minute; murder, rape and looting occurred all in the name of the Christian civilising mission.
Black people lost their lives, cattle and land, while the Anglican Bishop Bruce Knight stationed at Mutasa supported the invaders, claiming the African could not deny the European any land they wanted.
Father Biehler, stationed on stolen land in Chishawasha, encouraged genocide to get rid of the blacks.
Today the Catholic Church teams up with Mukoko’s ZPP claiming a moral standing.
It was the same church that declared, during slavery, it was good business blessing ‘pioneers’ invading Zimbabwe.
Father Hartman, a Catholic Priest of the Jesuit Order accompanied the Pioneer Column who arrived in Zimbabwe in 1890.
Where do justice, peace, dignity and development begin and end?
Does justice ignore past wrongs because perpetrators’ descendants own tractors, helicopters and boats?
A civic organisation by definition represents people.
What local interests do Mukoko and company represent?
In her book there is not a single picture of her with the local population or victims of those whose ‘human rights’ have been trampled.
In one instance, she writes: “During the aftermath of the violent elections, when with most of the staff at ZPP suffering from burnout and secondary trauma, a decision was taken to have a meeting with therapists, so we resolved to travel to Botswana with our two therapists…holding the debrief session there would reward the staff by giving them the opportunity to shop.”
These civic organisations documented black government ‘wrongs’ and gave them to their white sponsors who in turn brought in sanctions.
According to them, it was so President Mugabe could be removed from office.
While the civic organisations held ‘debriefings’ in hotel rooms across the globe, it was Mai Tarisai back home who couldn’t feed her children.
Those in the export business refused Baba Gore’s produce because, like Mukoko and company, they are in solidarity with white farmers who were ‘dispossessed’.
Again I ask: Where do justice, peace, dignity and development begin and end?
When Mukoko was ‘abducted’, she drew attention to the desperate situation in Zimbabwe.
She talks of prison officers taking home boiled vegetables and sadza to feed their children.
Incredibly, during her initial days after being abducted, she has beef for lunch, eggs for breakfast and underwear bought for her from Bon Marche.
Again Mukoko’s pictures in her book are revealing; there is not even one picture of her with the locals she was protecting before being abducted.
In fact, one of the glossy ones shows her with Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton as though to validate herself.
Five years after a gross violation of human rights in Libya by the West, she can still select the picture of herself with Clinton who, after thousands of Libyans were displaced, giggled and exclaimed: “We came, we saw, he died.”
Without shame, Mukoko draws attention to an honorary award given to her by the French.
The same French who haggled over Libya’s oil after they delivered their ‘dose of justice’ and ignored the population.
Yes, the same France that demands colonial tax from 14 African countries to date.
In March 2008, former French President Jacques Chirac said: “Without Africa, France will slide down into the rank of a Third (World) power.” (The Ambassador Magazine – Dec 2014 – January 2015 edition p.27)
In her book, Mukoko glows with her International Women of Courage Award handed to her by Michelle Obama, oblivious to the irony that Barrack Obama had just put a two million bounty on the head of a ‘fellow’ Black Panther civic society member Assata Shakur.
Some members of this American civic society are still incarcerated, some without trial for the last 50 years.
In fact as Michelle Obama told Mukoko of her courage against ‘evil governments’, Steven Eugene Washington’s mother was sobbing on the dead body of her son who had been shot in cold blood by a white officer in Los Angeles that March in 2010.
We are yet to hear Michelle Obama ‘courageously’ condemn white America for the murder and incarceration of African-Americans in the US.
To conclude her piece, Mukoko rightfully quotes United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, in the process undoing her whole narrative.
“The right to the truth is both an individual and collective right.
“Each victim has the right to know about violations against them, but the truth also has to be told more widely as a safeguard to prevent violations from happening again.”
Thank you for your book Mukoko.
However, Zimbabweans need to be told their story in toto, because only then will we know when the rains began to beat us.