Zim suspects accuse Botswana police of torture

FRANCISTOWN – Four youthful Zimbabweans, who were yesterday arraigned before Chief Magistrate Mokwadi Gabanagae, complained of alleged torture by Botswana police.

The accused, Prince Magwezi, Mandla Ncube, Portia Ndlovu and Themba Vusi, are facing a single count of robbery. All of them are unemployed.

They are charged with forcefully taking belongings of a woman on October 31 at Area A location in Francistown. The stolen items include car keys, a Nokia cell phone, handbag and purse.

The charge sheet was interpreted in Ndebele and Shona, Zimbabwe’s main languages.

Meanwhile, the only woman accused along with the men, Ndlovu burst into tears prompting the magistrate to interrupt, wanting to know what she was crying for.

The heavily pregnant woman told court that she did not commit any crime as the police arrested her in connection with her boyfriend, Magwezi.

As tears kept trickling down her cheeks, she lamented that she had missed her visits to the antenatal clinic since she has been remanded.

Though claiming to be innocent it was not easy for her request to be approved, as she is an illegal immigrant.

Magwezi echoed Ndlovu’s words as he said that the girlfriend was arrested at  home.

"She is my wife and she doesn’t know anything," added Magwezi.

Ncube lamented that the police have been assaulting him so he could confess to an offence that he had not committed.

"Since I was arrested, the police have been taking me to the bush and beating me as you can see that my clothes are torn," said Ncube, who was wearing a rainbow stripped torn and a mud soiled top.

He requested that he be taken to the hospital but further added that it would not be easy for him to agree on something he did not do despite the torture.

The fourth accused also stated that the police have been taking him to the bush to assault him.

He said that at some stage the police took his clothes claiming that he had stolen them but later returned them as they proceeded to charge him with the robbery offence.

He said that his travel documents had been stolen and the matter was reported to Tatitown Police Station.

Gabanagae advised that the accused persons be taken to the hospital but would further be remanded as they did not have travel documents. MmegiOnline