*Trooper uses explosives on handyman wrongfully accused of theft
For a sickly Benjamin Dube, the night of 9 May will be forever etched in his mind.
The 57-year-old’s life was turned upside down two Thursday’s ago when a group of six youths, including a retired army officer Moiko “Congo” Tsogang led him to a secluded area where they tortured, ridiculed and left him for dead.
Tati Town Police Assistant Station Commander, Superintendent Clarkson Mbereki confirmed to The Voice that they received a report on the 10th May, about a group that assaulted a man in Chadibe.
“Investigations into the matter are ongoing and the culprits may be charged with unlawful wounding,” Mbereki said.
Six days after the attack and Dube still has difficulty walking. He stoops, crouching with an arched back in a forlorn attempt to stop his blood stained t-shirt from sticking to his weeping wounds.
Despite his battered state, the Zimbabwean manages a warm, welcoming smile when The Voice arrive at his humble home on Wednesday 15 May.
It proves to be a misleading smile. What followed was a harrowing narration of the brutal beating he says he endured at the hands of Tsogang and his ‘battalion’.
A trusted handyman in the village, Dube said on the fateful day he was hired by a retired Major and a Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Council candidate, Gofamodimo Kamogenge to paint his house.
Dube said he took a break at around lunchtime, walking to his rented house to prepare something to eat.
He was then called back by Kamogenge’s neighbour and quizzed over a cellphone that had been stolen.
After explaining his innocence Dube returned home and thought nothing more of the matter.
“It was late in the evening when I saw a group of young men walking purposefully towards my house. Leading the charge was ‘Congo’,” he recalled, shaking visibly at the memory.
“While still shocked by the arrival of my unexpected guests, Congo slapped me hard across the face and demanded that I give him his phone back,” said Dube, his face a palette of emotions.
He said while he struggled to get up, after a boot to the ribs had sent him sprawling to the ground, ‘Congo’s’ henchmen ransacked his house, flooding the entire residence with water and leaving ‘a total mess’ on the floor.
Little did he realise, his ordeal was just beginning.
“I was then gagged and blindfolded, my hands tied to my back and led deep into the bush. It was already dark when we left my house but I could tell we were inside the small river, where I was ordered to crawl on all fours to the amusement of my captors.”
Dube said ‘Congo’ shouted what he believes were military orders, putting on a show for his ‘battalion’ who all sounded extremely happy to see a Zimbabwean being tortured.
“Everyone took their turns to kick me as I crawled on all fours, gagged and blindfolded. My plea for mercy and cries of innocence only seemed to enrage them further!”
Dube, who recently recovered from a stroke he suffered in 2008, said the army-like drill finally came to an end and ‘Congo’ ordered him back to his feet.
Again, his ordeal was far from over.
“My worst nightmare was just about to begin,” he trembled.
According to Dube, they removed the blindfold and once again tied his arms behind his back and tucked in his shirt.
“Then ‘Congo’ took out a belt of fire-crackers which had multiple fuses. He lit one and stuffed it inside my shirt. The first cracker exploded and I fell to the ground and rolled about in excruciating pain as more explosions followed. By the time the entire belt had exploded, I was almost unconscious!”
He said only then did they finally leave him, but not before Congo’s parting shot of, “Tsoga monna, MoZimbabwe o thata (On your feet boy, a Zimbabwean is tough)”.
It was not until the intervention of some concerned villagers the next day that it was discovered Dube had nothing to do with the disappearance of Congo’s Samsung cellphone, valued at P2, 400.
“The phone was recovered from one of his boys. The same boy who held my legs as I was being tortured,” claimed Dube bitterly.
“Now I’m being threatened with deportation and I fear for my life because I’m dealing with an ex-soldier who could be armed. I heard that the fire crackers he used on me are used by the BDF to scare elephants at Pandamatenga farms. I wonder what other weapons he has,” pondered Dube, his shivers having nothing to do with the chilly evening.
Efforts to reach ‘Congo’ proved futile by the time of going to press.