In a dramatic twist to the saga involving Elliot Piki — who was allegedly abducted from his home on Sunday afternoon — the retired army colonel suddenly pitched up at the official probe looking into the August 1 killings on Tuesday, where he was barred from testifying.
This came after Piki’s wife, Sibongile Sarukato, had filed an urgent court application on Monday — demanding that the State does all in its power to establish his whereabouts, including placing adverts in all State-controlled print and broadcast media in this regard.
It also came after Piki, 58, was allegedly abducted by armed masked men, amid claims at the time that he was due to testify before the official probe looking into the post-election shootings in Harare which claimed the lives of at least six civilians.
But in Tuesday’s sensational developments, Piki — who was a losing candidate in the fiercely-fought Zanu PF primary elections for Harare South, which were won by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s nephew Tongai — pitched up at the commission of inquiry, where he was surprisingly barred from testifying.
His lawyers told the Daily News yesterday that Piki had escaped from his kidnappers in Rushinga, in Mashonaland Central, before he came back to Harare.
“Yes we found him. He escaped in Rushinga. The people who abducted him were threatening to kill him. After he escaped, we went to the commission for him to testify, but they refused saying he came late for his slot.
“I tried to persuade them but they refused. I will release full details of what exactly happened for him to escape later, because for now I want to file the report of what happened to the police,” Piki’s lawyer Obey Shava said.
But the spokesperson for the commission, John Masuku, maintained that Piki was not listed to testify before it.
“He was not listed to testify. Everyday I am being asked about this. He was not on our list of people who were to testify,” Masuku told the Daily News.
Piki was allegedly abducted by armed masked men who were driving an unregistered grey Toyota Hilux double cab which pulled up at his residence in Harare South on
As a result, Piki’s wife filed her High Court application on Monday to pressure the government to act on the alleged abduction.
“What happened to my husband is clearly unlawful. It does not qualify as an arrest. He is a victim of enforced disappearance. An arrest could not have been conducted in such a clandestine manner with face mask clad personnel.
“If my husband was facing any criminal allegations or had been lawfully arrested, I would have been advised of his whereabouts. He would also not have been held incommunicado as is the present case. This is a clear case of kidnapping,” Sarukato said.
She added that the manner in which her husband was taken smacked of sinister motives as this is what happed to pro-democracy activist, Itai Dzamara — who has been missing since March 9, 2015.
Sarukato said upon his abduction, Piki was bundled into the unregistered double-cab vehicle.
And as the unknown assailants were wrestling with Piki, one of them allegedly told him, “Takakuudza kuti regai kuita document rauri kuda kuita. Uri kuda kuprotector Chamisa. Chii chako (we warned you not to work on the document you are working on. You want to protect Chamisa. Who is he to you)?”
During the scuffle, one of the alleged abductors is also said to have then produced a pistol and fired two shots, before pressing the firearm against her husband’s ribs as he was forced into the vehicle before the car sped off.
“The State, through its security agents may have a hand in this. This is particularly so as this was not an armed robbery. He was specifically reprimanded for preparing a document for submission before the Commission.
“Gun shots were fired. A gun was pointed at him and pressed against his ribs. The motor vehicle was unmarked, and is similar in many respects to the vehicles usually used by senior army officials and other security services,” Sarukato further alleged in her papers.