Govt backtracks on killings/torture probe


Blessing Zulu

THE government is backtracking on its promise to the international community that it will investigate all cases of political killings and torture, the Zimb

abwe Independent can reveal.


Movement for Democratic Change MP Job Sikhala and his supporters, Taurayi Magaya, Charles Mutama and Gabriel Shumba, were tortured by the police earlier this year but no action has been taken against the culprits.


Sikhala, Magaya and Mutama had to receive specialist treatment in Denmark.


In February Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo in a letter to Australian Prime Minister John Howard said President Mugabe had promised to deal with the issue.


“I raised the issue with President Mugabe who confirmed that the MP concerned had taken the case to court and that the police admitted with apology that the MP was assaulted,” said Obasanjo.


“The police were to take necessary disciplinary action against the culprit. President Mugabe denied any government involvement in such police acts. Allowing the case to be prosecuted in court must convince people that the government was not behind the act and would not condone it,” said Obasanjo.


Sikhala this week said there was no progress in the case.


“The last time they (the police) came to me is when I said I was going to sue them,” he said. “Apart from that visit (in May) there has not been any feedback on the issue.”


In the run up to the 2000 parliamentary election in Buhera, two MDC activists, Tichaona Chiminya and Talent Mabika, were petrol-bombed and died. Those alleged to have murdered the two are war veteran Tom Kainosi Zimunya and state intelligence operative Joseph Mwale who is still terrorising opposition supporters in Manicaland.


MDC legal secretary David Coltart said despite promises by the attorney-general and the police to carry out investigations into the Chiminya/Mabika case nothing has been done.


“I have raised the issue on more than six occasions in parliament. I have approached the attorney-general and the police commissioner but no investigation or prosecution has been done,” said Coltart.


In another incident MDC activist Tonderai Machiridza was allegedly beaten in police custody. Eventually he was taken to hospital, where he was chained to a bed. A magistrate ordered his release and he spoke to journalists before he collapsed and died on April 18. An autopsy showed that he died of internal injuries from beatings.


Police spokesman, Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said two police officers were facing murder charges following his death. However, no policeman has been prosecuted over the case.


Other cases still to be resolved include those of Coltart’s election agent, Patrick Nabanyama, who was kidnapped and is presumed dead, and farmers David Stevens and Martin Olds who were murdered. There have not been any successful prosecutions in the cases although the perpetrators are known.


Police spokesperson Inspector Oliver Mandipaka said he was not prepared to comment.

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