Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Job ‘Wiwa’ Sikhala: How torture is administered in Zimbabwe

By Job ‘Wiwa’ Sikhala

There is no single doubt both in my conscience and my heart that Dr. Peter Magomeyi was savagely tortured by societal outcasts in our country this 21st century.

Job Sikhala, deputy chairman of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
Job Sikhala, deputy chairman of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)

Having listened to the telephone conversation between Dr Mugomeyi and the Studio 7 reporter after reports that he has been dumped in Nyabira, the traits of a tormented soul as manifested to me after my torture on the 13th of January 2003 together with Advocate Gabriel Shumba, Taurai Magaya and Charles Mutama was clear. It is important to share with everyone and the whole world what happened to me and others I mentioned above from the practical victim knowledge.

On midnight of the 12th of January 2003, myself, my lawyer Advocate Gabriel Shumba, Taurai Magaya, Charles Mutama and Bishop Shumba were raided by a joint operation team of the military, Central Intelligence Organization, the Criminal Investigation Department (Law and Order) at Nyamutamba Hotel. They came with a battalion and convey of motor vehicles and stormed into our rooms at the hotel during midnight of the day in question.

We were initially taken to St. Mary’s Police Station briefly I think it was for their administrative purposes. We were then driven to Matapi Police Station were they dropped Taurai Magaya into the holding cells. We proceeded to Mbare Police Station were they detained Adv Gabriel Shumba. Myself and Charles Mutama were taken to Harare Central Police Station.

Then around 6pm of the 13th I and Charles Mutama were taken out of Harare Central Police Station holding cells. We were taken out by 6 members from the Law and Order section who were Garnet Sikhova, Chrispen Makedenge, Matsvimbo, Mhashu and 2 others who are now dead whose names can not be remembered in the immediacy because of the lapse of time.

We did not notice that the two of us were taken out at the same time. It was only after we were brought back to the holding cells that we shared what happened, that we noticed that we were taken out at the same time with Charles Mutama.

Unbeknown to us, was that, Advocate Gabriel Shumba who was my lawyer and Taurai Magaya had a torrid day of torture before they were returned back. They were blindfolded and taken to an unknown destination which we later understood to be Kabri Barracks after some torturers came to confess to us after having been haunted by unknown spirits.

After having been taken out of the holding cells I was led into a cream dark windowed Toyota kombi parked at the Harare Central Police Station parking area, near the internal fuel station in the police station. The kombi had no seats inside save for one which the most cruel one sat. As we entered the kombi, they in a flash, blindfolded me with a hood and asked to sit down violently.

Initially, you are gripped with fear of the unknown but as you will ponder going forward you will tell yourself that if it is God’s way that he has apportioned that way as a route you will leave this earth, you end up coming to resignation and say, let your wish be done. I was driven around for almost 45 minutes. These people were giving each other instructions to turn left or right.

But what was surprising me was that we were not coming out of roads with robots. We only left the robots areas after the car had cruised for about 15 minutes. Then one of them shouted for the gate to be opened. After the gate opened I felt that we crossed a grid through the sounds of the wheels on the road.

The kombi was parked and I was asked to disembark. They asked me to follow them for about 20 metres and was warned to step carefully. I felt I was walking steps downwards. We completed the first batch of steps.

They ask me again to step carefully, taking another batch of steps further downwards. After completing the second batch ,I was asked to sit down and they remove the handcuffs and undressed me naked to the underwear. They started tying my hands and legs using ropes. They then push my arms around my legs to effect what we popularly know as mbiradzakondo.

They started beating me under the feet interrogating where I come from. The name of my father and mother. Their contact details. Name of my wife and where she comes from. The number of children and their names. The name of schools and the university I attended and the degree I did and the name of the schools and university my wife attended. Where my wife works. And places drinking I patronize. They questioned everything concerning my private life.

Then the next phase was a threat that if I still need my life, I must tell them where I have hidden the guns which they said I intended to use to fight the government. They also alleged that I was training the Red Army on the St. Mary’s cemetery. Replying them that what they were alleging was a story to me and that I was hearing it for the first time, led to the emergency of the demon of cruelty.

Still blindfolded, they tied electric cables around my toes of both feet. They switched on their electric gadget for a period between 10 to 30 seconds. While screaming in agony and pain they will be bellowing laughter of threats and satisfaction. They repeated electrocuting my toes endless times asking the same questions all over again.

Unsatisfied by the pain inflicted they inflicted on me they went for my genitals. They tied electric cables around my penis and another one around my balls. Don’t think they had released those tied on the toes. They switch on the electric gadget, genitals being burnt and the toes being shocked.

The electric shocks on the genitals made me to see a million stars. Unfortunately, for me my penis got burnt and because of my thin skin my testicles get swollen. There is no way the evil perpetrators would run away from it. They did it in sessions all over and over again until I passed out.

My last recall before passing out was a voice saying “lets go and throw him into the dam because he is dead. After a while I felt something being dropped on my body which I was later told was a resuscitation chemical that was dropped on me.

During the torture sessions I was hearing Charles Mutama from the other end of the underground bunker screaming in agony calling for God to come to his rescue and help. I was hearing him shouting “ndofa wo kani Mwari huyai mundibetsere” repeatedly.

That’s why I understand him that soon after our acquittal by Magistrate Anne Chigumira of the charge of subverting a constitutional government, he ran away into exile in the USA. After resuscitation, they asked me where they should drop me.

I told them to drop me home because I wanted to go and see my wife, only for them to drop me at Harare Central Police Station where they took us from. I was strongly warned not to talk to Geoff Nyarota and his Daily News or to talk to anyone about what happened.

Before leaving the torture bunker, they said, “please phone Chamisa and tell him that politics has changed that he is going to lose Kuwadzana by-election”. They gave me something into my hand and said it was my cell phone after asking for my pin number.

It truly rang loudly like a cell phone on loud. The moment I put it on my ears, I was hit by an unprecedented wave of electric shock that went right straight into my brains. They said, it was a parting shot so that I will know what was coming my way if I tell anyone about what happened.

After gaining my conscious I heavily urinated and they asked me to wipe all the urine by drinking it from the floor. It was to be realised later by the doctors who treated me in SA and Denmark that there was a poisonous substance in my blood.

After having been dropped back at the Harare Central Police Station, I found Charles Mutama already back in the cells, Advocate Gabriel Shumba and Taurai Magaya were also in and told me that they were shifted from Mbare and Matapi holding cells to Harare Central after their torture.

I found them groaning in pain squashed on a corner and quickly suspected that they were done what was done to me and Charles Mutama. When they saw me they started crying. This trauma has affected Magaya up to this present day. He just cries without provocation despite medical treatment he obtained after the torture. Anongotanga kungovovora kana zvamubata without anything done to him.

It is not only stupid but idiotic, inhumane, animalistic, wild life disposition and fatally flawed for agencies of the State to claim that Dr. Magombeyi is feigning abduction. What could have possible happened :

1) The Dr was abducted and kidnapped by the same people who abducted Itai Dzamara
2) Unlike on Dzamara were their recklessness could have led to a fatality, Dr. Magombeyi was tortured administering electric shocks which could just inflict pain but if the victim has a strong skin can not show visible outward marks.

3) Not that Dr. Mugomeyi was released because of citizen pressure both locally and internationally, these idiots presiding over Zimbabwe today don’t care about it. The mission was to inflict maximum fear into him as the leader of the indignant constituency that is getting slave wages, wages not able to even rent a decent accommodation without looking into other responsibilities.

4) The state used his abduction as a case building mechanism against the opposition and embassies that are regarded as hostile to the regime. Hence the persistent incoherent allegations that he was hidden at the US embassy. This kind of information is intended for the gullible domestic political market to discredit both the opposition and perceived hostile nations at the same time.

5) To generate insecurity to the public so that they don’t challenge this evil regime. It inculcated into an average mind that if a Dr can be abducted what about an ordinary citizen.

The truth of the matter is that Dr Mugomeyi was severely tortured and needs a strong support for him to be able to get over it and start to open up. I still remember in the the cells, Advocate Gabriel Shumba tried to persuade us not to say anything about our torture when we were being taken to Court. He was of the view that we will only say it after escaping to SA as soon as we are given bail.

I strongly held a contrary view told him that we can not keep quiet on such evil and savage torture that we went through. I also told him that it was irresponsible to run to SA and pronounce the torture if we fail to mention it here.

I reminded him that we were going to fall foul as what happened to Basildon Peta after he announced his abduction and torture in SA. Basildon Peta pronounced his abduction and torture after border jumping into SA. The regime mauled him as a liar because he was threatened that if he discloses what happened to him he was going to be killed.

My experience of torture is that it needs someone with a strong character to come out in the open. Torture kills all the human feelings someone might have. It needs serious counseling and rehabilitation.

Job Wiwa Sikhala
MDC National Vice Chairman.