CIO, Police Role in Activists’ Abduction Revealed

THE Attorney-General’s Office has revealed the names of some of the members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and the police who were allegedly involved in the abduction of human rights and MDC activists last November.


Eighteen MDC and human rights activists, among them Zimbabwe Peace Project director Jestina Mukoko, were allegedly abducted, kept incommunicado and tortured between November and December last year by state security agents.

Notices of indictment for trial in the High Court served on some of the activists this week revealed the role the CIO and the police played when the activists were reported missing last year.

They also revealed that the activists were in the custody of state spies, though the police professed ignorance of their whereabouts until late December when they issued a press statement saying the abductees were in their custody facing banditry charges.

A perusal of the notices revealed that Assistant Director External in the CIO, retired Brigadier Asher Walter Tapfumanei, police superintendents Reggies Chitekwe and Joel Tenderere, detective inspectors Elliot Muchada and Joshua Muzanango, officer commanding CID Homicide Crispen Makedenge, Chief Superintendent Peter Magwenzi, and Senior Assistant Commissioner Simon Nyathi were involved in some of the abductees’ cases.

In the notice of indictment served on Regis Mujeye, the Attorney-General’s Office said Tapfumanei would tell the High Court when the trial opens on June 29 that on November 29 last year he “caused” the accused “to be collected from a secure place” where he was being held in connection with banditry allegations.

Mujeye, freelance journalist Shadreck Andrison Manyere, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s former aide Gandhi Mudzingwa, MDC-T security director Kisimusi Dhlamini and party members Zacharia Nkomo, Chinoto Zulu, and Mapfumo Garutsa, are facing five counts of twice bombing Harare Central Police Station, Manyame River Bridge and Rail Bridge and Harare CID headquarters at Morris Depot.

“He (Tapfumanei) will state that he captured the 1st accused (Dhlamini)’s statement on video in which he narrated his involvement, especially the bombings and implicated the 2nd accused person (Mudzingwa),” read the notice. “The 1st accused’s statement which was captured on video was given freely and voluntarily.”

Chitekwe will tell the court that he was requested by the CIO on November 25 2008 to assist them in “conducting a search at the residence” of Dhlamini where he allegedly recovered a cordtex and a safety fuse in his tool box in the bedroom underneath the bed.

The police officer will also testify that he interrogated Dhlamini who then implicated Mudzingwa, Zulu, Manyere, Nkomo and Mujeye.

Chitekwe will also testify that he was requested by the CIO to assist them in searching Mudzingwa’s home and on December 13 last year the security agents asked him to search Manyere’s house.

The police officer will claim that they recovered a tear smoke grenade from Mudzingwa and 48 rounds of ammunition of 9mm cartridges at Manyere’s residence.

The notice revealed that the seven accused persons were officially handed over to the police on December 22 last year who had kept them in their custody since they were allegedly abducted in November the same year.

“On December 22 2008 he (Makedenge) was handed over the seven accused persons by state security agents who were holding them at a safe place whilst conducting investigations into acts of insurgency, banditry, sabotage or terrorism which the accused had committed,” the notice read. “On the same date he was handed the following exhibits by state security agents: i) a cordtex and a safety fuse; ii) a tear smoke grenade; and iii) 48x9mm rounds of ammunition.”

The following day, Muchada recorded the accused persons’ warned and cautioned statements in the presence of Muzanago.

In another indictment notice served on MDC-T youth chairman for Zvimba District, Collen Mutemagau, Tapfumanei and Nyathi were involved in the case.

Mutemagau is jointly charged with MDC-T national executive member Concillia Chinanzvavana and fellow party members Fidelis Chiramba and Violet Mupfuranhewe on allegations that between July 1 and October 30 last year they recruited Tapera Mupfuranhewe and other party youths to undergo military training in Botswana for the purpose of committing acts of banditry.

The AG’s office said Tapfumanei would tell the High Court when the case opens on June 8 that he used Tapera as an informer in the alleged recruitment of the youths.

Nyathi will testify that on October 31, Chiramba and Violet were arrested by Magwenzi on the banditry allegations and their warned and cautioned statements recorded. They were released on November 4 from police custody.

The two accused persons, according to their lawyers, were then abducted.

“He (Nyathi) will state that on 22 December 2008 accused persons were handed over to Chief Superintendent Magwenzi by state security agents and on 23 December 2003 he interviewed them and later recorded warned and cautioned statements,” the notice read.

In another notice of indictment served on MDC-T activist Manuel Chinanzvavana, who is jointly charged with Mukoko, Audrey Zimbudzana, Brodrick Takawira and Pieta Kaseke, Magwenzi will testify that the five accused persons were handed over to him by the CIO on December 23, while Tapfumanei will confirm that he interviewed the suspects and recorded a video in connection with their case.

Chinanzvavana, Mukoko, Zimbudzana, Takawira and Kaseke will face trial in the High Court on July 20 on allegations that between April 2008 and October 31 2008 they recruited Ricardo Hwasheni to undergo military training in Botswana for purposes of banditry in Zimbabwe.

BY CONSTANTINE CHIMAKURE