Jestina Mukoko on Itai Dzamara abduction

By Lance Guma

[twitter-follow username=”lanceguma” scheme=”dark”]

HARARE – Jestina Mukoko, a prominent television presenter turned human rights activist who went missing for 21 days after being abducted by state security agents has spoken out over the similar abduction of fellow journalist turned activist Itai Dzamara who has now been missing for 23 days.

Journalists turned activists: Itai Dzamara and Jestina Mukoko
Journalists turned activists: Itai Dzamara and Jestina Mukoko

While Dzamara was abducted from a barbershop in Glen View, Harare, Mukoko was abducted around 5am from her Norton home (December 2008) by six men and a woman who did not identify themselves. The State Security Minister at the time, Didymus Mutasa, eventually admitted CIO agents were responsible.

In her testimony Mukoko said they forced her into a Mazda Familia vehicle and ordered her to lie low on the seat of the car. “Immediately a woolen jersey was put across my face, covering my eyes, nose and mouth (and) as a result I had problems breathing and almost suffocated,” Mukoko said.

The men who abducted Dzamara accosted him in broad daylight, identified themselves as police, accused him of stealing a cow before they grabbed him and bundled him into a waiting car. Friends and family are now hoping Dzamara will soon be delivered to court like what happened to Mukoko.

Without warning Mukoko, after being kept incommunicado for 21 days, was eventually brought to court on Christmas Eve, alongside other detainees who had been abducted and held for 76 days. The detainees included a 72-year-old man and a two-year-old boy, all facing trumped up banditry charges.

“It was the worst 21 days of my life and I would not wish the experience on anyone. I was not sure if I was going to be released alive because several times I had been threatened with death and told I could be buried around the house where they kept me,” Mukoko told Nehanda Radio in an interview this week.

“My worst fears were when I would be told that they were taking me for a ride. Once I was driven to an unknown place and it took hours to get to the place. There was shuffling in the vehicle but I remained in the car and after a while we were driving again and after a while we got back to the detention centre.

“Then several times I was driven to another place where interrogation would take place. All the time they took me on the drives I would be blind folded and I always feared the worst,” Mukoko told Nehanda Radio.

Mukoko said most people did not understand what families go through in cases such as the abduction of Itai Dzamara. “With each day that increases on Itai’s disappearance I am getting so anxious and very afraid,” she said.

Mukoko knows first hand how brutal the regime can be. In her 2008 ordeal she was taken to a torture base and put in solitary confinement for 19 days while they tried to force her to admit recruiting youths for military training in Botswana to dislodge President Robert Mugabe from power.

“Firstly I was assaulted underneath my feet with a rubber-like object which was at least one metre long and flexible, while seated on the floor. Later I was told to raise my feet onto a table and the other people in the room started to assault me underneath my feet. This assault lasted for at least five to six minutes. They took a break and then continued again with the beatings,” she said in her testimony.

The case against Mukoko eventually collapsed and the charges were dropped. In the end she was abducted, tortured and kept in detention for nothing. Many in Zimbabwe are hoping at the very least that Itai Dzamara will be found and brought to court, where he will have the chance to defend himself properly

  • Nelson Chamisa

    They killed him.

  • reason

    Haiwao vana Jestina, AIDS yakatongokupengesai kare kare, you have nothing new to offer, the same applies to the idiotic gay Dzamara. just comedians making a lot of meaningless noise.

    • BVARU

      ukumbotii ko

    • tzozo

      be carefull what you said, and remember there is this thing called karma…

      • tsuro

        Iwe kana wakzorwa naye ifai mega

    • Munhu Munhu chete

      your words shows that you are in agreement with cruelty and ruthlessness on another human being. may God forgive u

    • Muchati Bwege

      Dai wachinja zita nekuti rekuti reason harisikufambirana nezvawataura apa, Be careful what you say nekuti vamwe vakanyura mugungwa nenyaya yekungonamira pese pese

      • bhibho

        Reason chi mu see ten chimwana che chi hoo-ray chekumatapi. Paid to kill. Apo nzara nehurovha zviri tii. You would be shocked if I gave you IP address ya Reason. Supporting Mugabe kuti utengerwe masese. Ptu

        • reason

          zvese zvawataura ndezvako but urikuda kuti zviuye pandiri zvino zvaramaba. its all about yourself.

          • shakira

            gudo wat do yu know mwana wemba wazvarwa chembere dzaend kudoro,

    • Skinscrawler 13


      • reason

        iwe uriziduzvi

        • real reason

          iwe ndiwe duzvi reason… weapon of an evil regime…muchamama chete, chisingaperi chinoshura, better yet chinosura…. fuck u dzosai Itai arimupenyu

    • sherpard

      reason , the idiot is you because you are an offspring of a rapist, that is why you smell of shit and head is full of shit including your mouth because of licking your master’s ass

      • reason

        A very good description of yourself, thanks for letting us know who and what you are.

        • shakira

          shame muregerei chikoro hapana vanongohumana

        • gopito

          Reason uri tsvina yemunhu.

    • king midas

      zvinonyadzisira zvevakakubereka….ptuu!!

    • Cills

      I have down voted your comment …..for a good ‘Reason’

    • godobori renyika

      Reason if you want attention on the website, you don’t get it in that way.You are not needed in ZANU PF as you go scolding to anyone who is sick. VANA CHI HURI, LEO MUGABE,VANORWARA Wani, Never want to read any comments under your name again

    • Cde Viper

      Idiotic Matbili bumlicker please shut up your faeces mouth!!

    • Mafirakureva

      Imbwa yemunhu rakajaira kunwa ropa revana ve Zimbawe vasina chavakaritadzira, kana Jestina akararwa zvinei newe izvozvo, kushaya hunhu kunge rwakabuda mumwena. Kuriwona izvozvi rinenge rakazara maburi mu underwear apa hapwa dzichinhuwa kunge duzvi richibva kunoshandiswa kuuraya ne Zanu. Kuzoti ngozi ndipo pamusha padzo.

    • shakira

      What Does Reason Mean???????,cause wat u mare saying and yo name does tgo hand in hand

    • shakira

      uri mbiti Reason , wakambotsvira mumba ukadzimurwa ne petrol . tikwanire dai ari mwana wamai vako wainzwa sei

      • shakira

        chii choshamisa pa AIDS , IVO MAPARENTS AKO VAKAZARA NAYO

  • clement moyo

    I don’t think Itai will be brought to court because they basically have nothing against him. Against Mukoko they at least had a list of misdeeds by Zanu PF that she had put together taken from her computer – with judges in their favour as is always the case they hoped they could build a case. With Dzamara they have nothing and that is dangerous for him. But we keep hoping for the best for him, the family and the nation.

  • A sad ending to a fine young man 🙁

  • eurika

    Have u noticed hw attention seems to be drifting from dzamara to grace’s health, this is the regime trying to kill the fire that is looming over dzamara’s return….. be careful good people the regime is very good at manipulation…

  • dotito

    Reason my warning to you usafarire kurwara kana kutambura kwemumwe angava mdc kana zanu pf.mukoko akutadzireyi