15 June 2007

Zimbabwe: Alleged Coup Plotter Speaks Out

ONE of the alleged coup plotters yesterday spoke exclusively to the Zimbabwe Independent, narrating the ordeal he suffered together with a group of former military servicemen at the hands of the Military Intelligence Unit (MIU) last month.

Gilbert Kagodora, treasurer for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in Mashonaland Central, said he was abducted by suspected Central Intelligence Oganisation (CIO) officers while discussing party business with a retired army officer, Albert Matapo, on Tuesday May 29 around 2pm in Harare.

"We were abducted by men who were dressed in civilian clothes whom I suspect to be working for the intelligence service," said Kagodora.

"We had gone to meet Matapo for business together with three other party activists at Winston Court along Fourth Street. Initially they told us that we were being arrested for dealing in foreign currency and they then proceeded to blindfold us with masking tape. They also tied our hands and took us into a van downstairs. I could not tell exactly where they were driving us to."

Kagodora said they were taken into a basement where the suspected CIO operatives handed them over to MIU. It was here that the MDC activist said he endured grave pain from systematic beatings and torture from his interrogators who accused him of working to topple the government by midnight Saturday, June 2.

"They accused us of attempting to unseat the government by June 2 and were using electrical rods to torture us while recording statements in which we were made to admit planning to stage a coup. They wanted me to tell them about the MDC bases in South Africa where party members were undergoing militia drills with the intention of causing a regime change, the master-mind of the coup and financiers of the opposition."

The MDC activist said MIU also wanted him to supply them with information about alleged petrol bombers in the MDC and to expose members of the party's Democratic Resistance Committee accused by government of engaging in activities to make the country ungovernable.

Kagodora was kept in MIU detention until Friday, June 1 before being handed over to the police Law and Order section at Harare Central Police Station. He also revealed that MIU wanted Matapo, whom they accused of plotting the coup, to disclose names of senior army and police officers with whom he had close links.

"While interrogating Matapo, I could hear them demanding that he reveal the names of his close associates in the army and police."

Kagodora was released on Monday, June 4 after the police failed to prefer charges against him. At first he said they wanted to charge him with treason, then the coup charge but failed to come up with concrete evidence to arraign him before the courts."

However, Matapo and the other ex-servicemen were still in police custody and have been refused bail.

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