ALLIANCE of Democrats (AD) Youth League President, Thuso Litjobo’s body guard, Thato Makara on Tuesday accused police of torturing him to force him to implicate Mr Litjobo in the alleged murder of AD member, Thabiso Moqolo early this month.
Mr Moqolo was fatally shot at an AD gathering to elect a candidate to contest the 3 June national elections in the Koro-Koro constituency.
Mr Litjobo (34) and Mr Makara (38) have since appeared before the Magistrate’s Court to face a murder charge for allegedly shooting to death, Mr Moqolo.
The duo is accused of using a 7.65 pistol to shoot and kill Mr Moqolo at Ha-Tlebere in Mazenod during a conflict that erupted on 2 April while the AD was in the process of electing a party candidate for the 3 June elections in the Koro-Koro constituency.
The duo were remanded in custody after Senior Resident Magistrate Peter Murenzi told them they could only apply for bail before the High Court.
However, in his testimony before High Court judge Justice Tšeliso Monaphathi on Tuesday, Mr Makara alleged that he had been tortured by the police to force him to implicate Mr Litjobo in the killing of Mr Moqolo.
“I and Mr Lithobo were called to the Police Headquarters on Sunday after lunch hours,” Mr Makara said, adding, “Upon arrival we reported ourselves but the officers on duty said they did not know who had called us to that place”.
“After a short while some officers arrived and told us they were the ones who called us to the police headquarters.
“They ordered us to enter into the building, only to find that they wanted us to pass through to the other side of the building where a vehicle was parked.
“We were ordered to get into that vehicle.”
He said they were kicked into the vehicle by the police.
“I was ordered to get into the cab while Mr Litjobo was placed on the back of the vehicle. We did not know at the time where the vehicle was taking us to.
“They drove us to Mohale Police Station, where they left Mr Litjobo and returned with me to Matela Police Station,” he added.
He said he was locked up in the Matela police cells for the night and “all went wrong the following morning”.
“They drove me to Lekhalong-la-Baroa where they tortured me.
“I was ordered to undress after which they shackled and hand-cuffed me. It was the beginning of my torture,” he said, adding the police officers used sticks to assault him.
“As they kept on assaulting me, they put a plastic material on my mouth.
“As if it was not enough they further used latex hand gloves to suffocate me and they kept saying I should speak the truth in relation to the events that led to the death of a person in Koro-Koro.”
He said he was forced to implicate Mr Litjobo in the shooting, but he refused.
“As I kept on narrating the events as they happened, they kept on saying I was lying, until they came out clearly to say I should say Mr Litjobo was the one who shot the deceased to death.
“But, I insisted that I could not say that because it never happened as they suggested,” he said.
He told the court that the police ultimately took him back to Matela Police Station.
“The torture I suffered from those officers is beyond imagination.”
Justice Monaphathi said: “I am convinced that you were indeed tortured.”
The judge further ordered the police to stop torturing Mr Moqolo.
However, he said: “Your lawyers know what steps they should take against what you have narrated to court.”
He was released to the police for them to take him to the Magistrate’s Court the same day to be remanded.
This was done after his lawyer Advocate Tembo Lesupi told the court that he had been informed that he would be taken to the Magistrate’s Court the same day for a murder charge to be read to him.
But he was not remanded on Tuesday as he was told by the police that he and Mr Litjobo should report to the Magistrate’s Court yesterday to be formally charged.
They were accordingly charged with murder and remanded into custody, while their lawyers were expected to apply for their bail before the High Court.