By Tichaona Sibanda
5 December 2012
A former CIO operative, who is now a lecturer at Bindura University, is allegedly being tortured in custody after he jointly produced a scholarly report on violence that claimed police were under instruction not to arrest ZANU PF perpetrators during the 2008 disturbances.
39 year old Obediah Dodo was arrested on 19th November along with his student, police Assistant Inspector Collen Musorowegomo, for releasing a report that was published on the website of the American International Journal of Contemporary Research in June.
The two are expected to appear in the High court on Thursday for a bail application hearing. Elizabeth Dodo, Obediah’s sister, told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday that her brother was being tortured by members of the CIO and is being kept in solitary confinement. She said close family members who have been able to see him describe him as looking subdued and fearful.
Obediah is a lecturer for peace and governance studies, while Musorowegomo is a Masters degree student in the same department. Both teacher and student have admitted authoring the document, adding it was based on real reports obtained from police records.
They are both seeking immunity under the Academic Act, saying the report was purely for academic purposes. According to the report titled: “Political Intolerance, Diversity and Democracy: Youths Violence in Bindura Urban Zimbabwe,” the two revealed that many cases of violence went unreported because police had been disempowered.
The duo has since been charged under Section 31of the criminal law act which outlaws publication of ‘false information prejudicial to the State.’
The report is based mainly on information obtained through a survey that included questionnaires and interviews with identified samples in Bindura.
Dodo and Musorowegomo said respondents cited state security agents such as the army, police, prison guards and the CIO, as having played a key role in inciting youths to engage in acts of violence in the last decade and have stressed the information in the report is a true reflection of what was happened in the area.
Since his arrest last month Dodo has been denied access to lawyers and visits by family members and, although these restrictions have lessened, access to him is still being strictly monitored. Dodo and Musorowegomo are being represented by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
‘We understand he’s being subjected to ill treatment and psychological torment. All he did was compile an academic report detailing how ZANU PF recruited youths in Bindura and set up torture bases throughout the district and went on an orgy of violence against MDC-T supporters,’ Elizabeth said.
She added: ‘If it was for any other sinister plot would you think they would release the report into the public domain. It was purely for academic reasons and it shows how intolerant the regime is.’