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Friday, 05 September 2008

An ex-policeman's lot - harassment, fear, torture

One man's journey from official lawman to hunted fugitive

I wondered what had happened to Joe. I'd known him for years, first when he was a member of the Zimbabwean police, then early this year when, after 15 years as a police officer, he became a civilian again. Joe had left the force for the usual reasons - low pay, wanting to better himself, etc. Then suddenly he disappeared from view, and no-one knew where he was.

This week, during a quick visit to Johannesburg, and quite by chance, I met Joe again. I naturally asked him where he had been, and why he was now apparently in exile in South Africa. This is his story.

"When I left the police I thought everything was okay...then, at the beginning of April, when Mugabe had just lost the March 29 election, I realised that I was being watched. Strange men began appearing at my house at all hours of the day and night, demanding to know where I had been, who I had visited. They interrogated my friends, my neighbours, even my little six-year-old girl.

"Several times I was taken to different police stations in Bulawayo, and accused of a variety of crimes - selling police information to the MDC, being an opposition spy, having contact with the foreign press, that sort of thing. Sometimes I was there for hours. It was frightening. And then it got much worse.

"One night I was at my home in Pumula, Bulawayo. It was two in the morning. Some men arrived, saying I was to go with them to Pumula police station. But as we left I was blindfolded, and instead of going to the police station, I was driven out of town to some rough land.

"There my hands and feet were tied, I was soaked with water, and my captors demanded to know the names of the MDC people who had recruited me, how much I was paid, who were my fellow traitors, and similar questions. I could tell them nothing for I have never ever had any contact with the MDC.

"They didn't listen to my denials. Instead they beat me with batons, and used a pair of pliers to torture me, until I passed out.

"I was rescued by two people who were looking for firewood. They untied me and took me to a private clinic in town. As soon as I was well enough to travel, I collected my wife and daughter, and we all managed to reach South Africa. It will be a long time before I go back."

Joe's story tell us this much - the Zimbabwe police service is like that famous hotel in California. You can check out any time you want, but you can never leave.

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Comments

This story is so full of holes it is deeply embarrassing to your credibility!

Come on this is quite what happens when these guys chuck you out. Where are the holes in this story?

Yes the story is plausible, it would not matter whether the person was ex police, army or airforce, if a connection with the MDC was suspected, Mugabe's thugs would dish out the same treatment to that ex forces member.

"This story is so full of holes it is deeply embarrassing to your credibility!

Posted by: M Mukanya"

Good to see the Desperate Despot's apologists are alive and kicking!

What holes are you talking about Mukanya? This guy was in the Police force and these Zanu thugs thought he was revealing their secrets.

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