MDCT Masvingo south secretary, Ellson Mutonhori told Radio VOP that he endured severe assault and torture after he was picked up by Major General Engelbert Rugeje who was accompanied by Operation Maguta provincial chef, Colonel Philip Toperesu early morning.
“They picked me around eight in the morning while I was walking around my homestead and bundled me in an open truck vehicle and sped off. I was frightened by the speed at which all this happened and the next thing was we stopped at a lodge where they took me to a room and started questioning me while they assaulted and torture me,” he said.
Mutonhori said he was accused of frustrating Zanu (PF) efforts to boost its support base in the only constituency won by the party, Walter Mzembi. The party lost the other four seats to MDC-T in the 2008 harmonised elections for the first time since independence in 1980.
He said they took him to a hidden booking house in the jungle of the district called Rock lodges where they locked him in a room and started interrogating him on his party activities ahead of the projected polls this year. He was also quizzed on why he was disturbing efforts by Zanu (PF) to get support from the people by continuously campaigning for MDC in the constituency.
He added that they demanded that he told them his party strategies to win in the province if elections where to be held.
"They would torture me and go for breaks drinking beer until they got drunk and come back again to torture me. I went through over ten hours of pain and agony until they released me at around 9pm” said Mutonhori.
Mutonhori said he was also accused of wearing an MDC-T T shirt during a Unity Gala organised by the Tourism Minister Mzembi at Renco mine in the Constituency last December.
MDCT provincial Information officer, Honest Makanyire confirmed the incident and said his party was assisting their official to get medical treatment from private doctors as he was feared to have sustained serious internal injuries during the fateful day.
“ He made a report to the office and we are making arrangements that he get medical attention from private doctors here as his family says he is in great pain and we are extremely disturbed by continued violence against our members by members of the Army,” he said.
He said MDC-T in Masvingo was concerned with the continued increased cases of army induced violence particularly in the rural areas and demanded that the principals of the three parties in the inclusive government stop rogue soldiers from violating human rights on civilians living in the countryside.
Efforts to get a comment from ZNA provincial spokesperson, Kingstone Chivave or Rugeje were fruitless.
Sources say Rugeje is helping his junior, Toperesu to get support in the constituency as they intend to topple Mzembi in their party’s primary elections ahead of the said general plebiscite that seeks to end the tenure of the shaky inclusive government.