IN a bizarre twist of events, retired Lieutenant Colonel Elliot Piki who was reportedly “abducted” earlier this week suddenly escaped from “captivity”, his family revealed Wednesday.
Piki, according to wife Sibongile Sakutukwa was “violently abducted by unknown armed assailants” on Sunday from his Waterfalls home as his family watched in horror.
He was due to give evidence to the Commission of Inquiry into the post-election violence that left six people dead on August 1 allegedly at the hands of the army.
Curiously Piki then suddenly “managed to escape” exactly on the day the Commission chaired by former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe concluded hearings.
According to a statement by local rights lobby group the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) Piki’s wife has now withdrawn a High Court habeas corpus application she made on Monday after it had been overtaken by events.
“The wife of a missing retired member of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) on Wednesday 28 November 2018 withdrew an application she filed early this week seeking an order compelling Zimbabwean authorities to account for the whereabouts of her husband after he managed to escape from his assailants,” the statement said.
Sakutukwa, who was represented by Jeremiah Bamu and Obey Shava of Mbidzo Muchadehama and Makoni Legal Practitioners, all members of ZLHR, had petitioned the High Court “to order the setting up of a team of investigators, to work closely and in conjunction with lawyers appointed by ZHLR to search for Retired Lieutenant Colonel Piki at all places within Zimbabwe as may be reasonably practical, and report on such search to the Registrar of the High Court, on every alternate Friday.”
In her application Piki’s wife had cited Home Affairs Minister Cain Mathema, Defence Minister Oppah Muchinguri, State Security Minister Owen Mudha Ncube, Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga and the Director-General of the Central Intelligence Organisation Isaac Moyo as respondents.
“But on Wednesday 28 November 2018, Sarukato withdrew the application which had been set to be heard by High Court Judge Justice Sylvia Chirawu as the remedy that she was seeking had since been overtaken by events after Piki managed to escape from his abductors somewhere around Mazowe area, Mashonaland Central province and returned to safety,” the ZLHR added.
Piki had unsuccessfully sought to appear before Motlanthe’s Commission without success.
“Soon after his return to Harare on Tuesday 27 November 2018, Piki sought audience with the Commission of Inquiry to go ahead with giving his testimony.
“However, his request was declined with the officers of the Kgalema Mothlanthe-led probe team indicating that they had completed hearing evidence from all witnesses,” the ZLHR statement said.