Mukoko warns of political violence to come

jestina_mukokoMAINE, USA The upcoming 2011 national elections in Zimbabwe could usher in a fresh wave of politically motivated violence worse than in 2008, warns Jestina Mukoko(pictured), director of political violence watchdog Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP).
Two representatives from the ZPP are now based in each electoral

In 2008, the ZPP recorded a peak of 6,288 attacks related to the election.

Mukoko herself was abducted and tortured by secret police agents. The BBC reported that she was held for 21 days and charged with attempting to recruit people for military training to try to overthrow the government.

Children were not spared in this violence, she said. We have seen children being assaulted as a way of getting back at their activist parents.

She showed numerous images depicting the horrifying results of an unfavourable encounter with the secret police. One showed the bleeding face of a man who had been attacked at Harare airport and another depicted the back of a man covered with pockmarks caused by burning plastic being dropped on his back.

Despite the national governments slow response and her own abduction experience, Mukoko believes peace and healing are attainable goals. She said individuals on both sides of the attacks victims and perpetrators alike can only reach these goals if the truth is exposed.

She compared the current political climate to a cut that has not been treated and has been left hidden beneath a bandage instead.

The wound is still festering beneath that covering, she said, adding, I believe that my abductors need to be healed.

Going into the 2011 election, Mukoko said she is worried that resurgence in the number of attacks will discourage citizens from speaking their minds and prompt them to vote for Mugabe to avoid persecution.

Mukoko has been serving as the 2010 Human Rights Fellow at the Oak Institute for the Study of International Human Rights at Colby College in the USA and will return to Zimbabwe next month to begin readying ZPP staff for the elections.

Post published in: Politics

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