The youngest political detainee in Zimbabwe who spent 76 days in jail with his parents has been awarded the democracy and Governance award by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition.
Three-year old Nigel Mutemagawo who was abducted by armed gunmen together with his parents at their home, spent almost two and half months in Harare’s filthy Chikurubi prison. His parents were arrested in the middle of the night, detained and tortured on trumped-up charges of banditry and terrorism. They are MDC officials.
Deputy Minister of Justice and also Harare West MDC MP Jessie Majome presented Nigel with the award. She said perpetrators of human rights abuses should be brought to book so that justice prevails in society. ‘Three decades after independence, Zimbabweans are still fighting for the restoration of dignity, security, hope, democracy and freedom,’ Majome said.
Irene Petras, the outgoing chairperson of Crisis Coalition, said her organisation had decided on the awards as a way of celebrating democratic heroes. ‘There are a number of organisations that get international recognition but are not recognised here at home, so as a coalition we decided to honour our own heroes by having this Democracy and
Governance award,’ Petras said.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition is a Coalition of more than 350 civil society organizations. It was conceived in August 2001 as a collective response by Zimbabwean civics to the multi faceted crisis facing the nation.
After he was released early this year Nigel told journalists that he was eating beans, vegetables and porridge in custody. The toddler could not recall where exactly he was, but could only cry at the site of cameras that were clicking away to capture him.
7 others unaccounted for
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights say seven people who were abducted last year by state security agents remain unaccounted for. The rights group disclosed that the seven people, who were abducted at the time of the kidnapping of prominent human rights campaigner, Jestina Mukoko, were still missing up to now despite the issuance of several court orders ordering the police and state security agents to produce the abductees.
The seven include Gwenzi Kahiya, Lovemore Machokoto, Charles Muza, Ephraim Mabeka, Edmore Vangirayi, Peter Munyanyi, and Graham Matehwa. “Whilst we celebrate victory with Jestina, we are mindful that 7 other abductees remain unaccounted for to date, and we urge the Attorney General to advise the law enforcement authorities to comply with several court orders for them to investigate these disappearances and inform of the whereabouts, and/or produce Gwenzi Kahiya, Lovemore Machokoto, Charles Muza, Ephraim Mabeka, Edmore Vangirayi, Peter Munyanyi, and Graham Matehwa, which orders they continue to defy with impunity,” said ZLHR.