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Zimbabwe's disappeared

  • 17 December 2008

Jestina Mukoko (pictured) used to be a television presenter. Then she left and became director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project which has been documenting many atrocities and crimes of Mugabe's regime. Maybe she had become tired of telling all those outrageous lies day in, day out on behalf of government propaganda, maybe her professional conscience woke up and longed to tell truth, nothing but the truth.

Last week she was abducted by a group of armed agents, consisting of seven men and one woman, with some more manning a fleet of vehicles. She was taken in her nightdress, not allowed to get her medication, her glasses, anything. She has not been seen since. Police have been silent, courts reluctant to take any action.

Who is responsible? The secret police? Gangsters acting on behalf of the 'ruling party'?

Many more have been 'disappeared' and remain missing. The regime is as hostile towards the opposition (who won the march elections) as ever.

South Africa wants the 'unity government', as envisaged in an agreement in September, set up as soon as possible. But how can there be unity where there is blind hatred, torture and murder? Would it not be better if South Africa insisted that the regime produce all its abducted, tortured, maltreated opponents? Or have they all been murdered?

The agreement promised that the rule of law would be reestablished. But the regime, its police and even the courts have as little respect for the law as ever. They break their own laws without hesitation. Police don't touch anything declared 'political', even murder.

Where promises are broken, how can there be trust? Would it not be better if South Africa denounced this lawlessness and criminal behaviour? Especially in view of its own excessively high crime rate which may yet deter the world from coming to South Africa for the Soccer World Championship in 2010.

Medically speaking, cholera should be a thing of the past. Any cholera outbreak today is due to a breakdown of public health in times of war or social decay.

The president claims the cholera epidemic is over, the minister of information blames the British for it, like for anything else that goes wrong in this former British colony. Priests visiting cholera treatment centres to pray with the seriously ill and dying tell a different story. The faithful too: they see desperately ill people being taken on