Saturday, April 12, 2014

(NEWZIMBABWE, 'SOUTHERN EYE') SA-based Zimbos 'tortured' at Bulawayo State House
26/12/2013 00:00:00
by Southern Eye

THREE South Africa-based Zimbabweans ere visiting bereaved relatives in Bulawayo, were on Christmas Eve tortured by soldiers guarding the Bulawayo State House for asking for directions, it has emerged.

One victim of the alleged torture, Nkosi Lunga, told Southern Eye yesterday that they were driving in a South Africa-registered car together with his brother Mbuso and uncle Isaiah when they were forced to roll in mud.

They had stopped to ask for directions to Garden Cash from the soldiers guarding the State House entrance from the Sauerstown end.

Lunga said little did they know that the soldiers would turn their day into a nightmare as they accused them of having been sent by South African President Jacob Zuma to assassinate President Robert Mugabe.

Mugabe had been in the city two days earlier to officially commission the new Joshua Mqabuko International Airport terminal building and unveil Father Zimbabwe’s statue.

“It was on Tuesday that we decided to visit our relative in Sauerstown and she gave us directions to her house.

“However, when we were in Sauerstown we discovered that we were lost,” Lunga said.
“We started driving slowly trying to establish the direction.

“We then drove past a bushy area and came to a gate and found two soldiers and asked for directions. They invited us to get through the gate and asked for my uncle Isaiah’s driver’s licence.”

He said it took them a while to realise that they had been invited into the State House premises.

“The soldiers started accusing us of being sent by Zuma to kill Mugabe,” Lunga said.

“They said they were going to fix us so that we can go back to South Africa and tell others how Zimbabwe was like.

“The soldiers asked us to kneel down and took a hosepipe which they used to spray us with water until we were drenched.

“They then made us to roll in the mud before ordering us to leave the place.”

A relative who refused to reveal her first name for fear of reprisals, confirmed the torture of her relatives.
“It was so embarrassing to have my relatives tortured like that,” she said.

“I think those soldiers guarding State House were just overzealous because my relatives were genuinely asking for directions to my house from people whom we should feel safe around.”

Her husband, Levi Moyo — former Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe chairperson — said the torture was similar to what people of Bulawayo went through during Gukurahundi.

“This reminded me of 1982 when I was told to hit my uncle Siphambaniso because his surname was Nkomo,” he said.

“As we resumed the fight thank God one good soldier told us to stop.

“He saved us because if one was not hitting enough the instruction was to be given a gun and shoot the other.

“This was not in Central Africa. This was in Pumula, Bulawayo, during the Gukurahundi era.

“I never thought this would be happening today again on the Eve of Christmas 2013.”
Moyo said many residents had endured torture at State House in Sauerstown in silence.

“A people’s army will not do this to its own, only a lawless militia will do that. Zimbabwe must be above that by now,” he said.
“Actually there is a lot of lawlessness in this gate behind the State House.”

Moyo said Sauerstown residents were often given permission to fetch water inside State House, but the soldiers could not tolerate mourners who were genuinely seeking directions to a relative’s house.
Zimbabwe army spokesperson Major Alphios Makotore could not be reached for comment.

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