CIO, cops tortured me to confess: Kuzipa

State security agents tortured a diamond dealer until he passed out to make him confess to working with MDC-99 leader Job Sikhala in shady Marange diamond deals, a Magistrates Court heard on Friday.

Job Sikhala: tortured during a 7-day incommunicado detention.
Job Sikhala: tortured during a 7-day incommunicado detention.

The state accuses Sikhala, the leader of a breakaway MDC faction, of kidnapping diamond dealer Mapurisa Tonderai Kuzipa in what the MDC-99 leader says is a trumped-up charge.

Prosecutors claim Sikhala gave Kuzipa money to buy diamonds, but he allegedly did not supply the precious stones.

Kuzipa, who came to court under the escort of 10 police and intelligence operatives, delivered stunning testimony, in which he denied ever having any relations with the MDC-99 leader or receiving any money.

Kuzipa told the court that police and intelligence operatives tortured him until he lost consciousness to force him into making a confession implicating Sikhala.

He said he was forced by Zimbabwe Republic Police investigating officers to sign the affidavit they sought to use to establish a basis for a case of kidnapping against Sikhala after the torture session.

"If the government has wars to fight with Sikhala, or wants to kill him, they should fight by their own means and leave me out of these battles,” Kuzipa told a full court.

"I never reported this case but was forced by police to come and appear as witness in a case I don’t know about.”

Repeated efforts by the state prosecutor to intimidate and deter Kuzipa fell through. The state attempted to prove that Kuzipa was a “compromised” witness when he was taken through cross examination, albeit unsuccessfully.

The prosecutor said Kuzipa implicated Sikhala voluntarily during questioning. Kuzipa, who says he was tortured into implicating Sikhala, has written to the attorney-general saying he has no evidence to give against the MDC-99 leader.

The other State witness, Tichaona Mupfukudzwa, has skipped the border, thwarting a bid to pressure him into giving evidence against Sikhala. Sikhala was arrested in February and tortured during a 7-day incommunicado detention.

For seven months the state had failed to bring the two witnesses to court, prompting Sikhala to apply for refusal of further remand.

Kuzipa was then abducted and tortured into implicating Sikhala when the trial opened on Thursday. The party slammed the "dirty and illegal tactics of the police and the office of the Attorney General, as exposed openly by their own state witness."

"We salute Kuzipa for honestly refusing to be an accomplice in the sinister plot by the state and hope that justice will prevail," MDC-99 said in a statement.

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