The Chitungwiza man who allegedly killed Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) member Moreblessing Ali, says police threatened to kill him if he did not admit to the crime.
Pius Mukandi alias Jamba on Friday told the High Court while testifying in his defence that the police, who were handling his case also assaulted him.
Mukandi is accused of killing Ali in cold blood last year, and chopping her body into pieces before dumping the remains in a well.
The suspected murderer was tracked down to Hurungwe where he was arrested while allegedly selling his grinding mill to get money to flee the offence.
He told High Court Judge Justice Esther Muremba that he was not in hiding, but had visited his relatives in Hurungwe.
Mukandi also said he handed himself to police after he gathered that they were looking for him.
He made the claims in his defence after he was asked by his lawyer Garikayi Mhishi if he was admitting to the murder charges.
“After staying for two weeks in my rural area, l visited my sister and she told me that there were police officers who had visited looking for me,” Mukandi said.
“She told me that they had visited my homestead but did not find me.
“After she told me l then decided to go to the police to enquire why they were looking for me.
“When l arrived at the police base they asked me how they could help and l identified myself and told them that l heard that they were looking for me and they said, ‘Harare police is looking for you’.
“l was handcuffed and they took me to a room where l was detained.
“After a while they took me out of the room and told me that Harare police officers were coming to take me.
“When the police officers arrived they disembarked from their vehicle and l was then surprised when the officers said, ‘You got us this murderer’.”
Mukandi then broke into tears saying this marked the start of his troubles.
“They said l was lucky that they found me at a police station otherwise if they got me at home they could have shot me,” he said.
Mukandi said the police officers kept threatening to kill him if he did not admit to the crime.
Mukandi said Harare investigating officer Arimon Mirimbo told him that he had caused a war in Nyatsime following the killing of Ali.
There was violence in Nyatsime following the discovery of Ali’s remains.
Former CCC legislator Job Sikhala remains behind bars following his arrest in June last year on charges of incitement to violence in the wake of Ali’s death.
Mukandi said police officers forced him to rehearse a statement where he confessed to killing Ali before they took him for indications recording the alleged rehearsed script.
“They told me that l should not deny what l did because social media was awash with information on what l did and people were fighting because of that incident,” he said.
“They said they were in a position to assist me if l listened to them.
“They said if I failed to cooperate with them l was going to be taken and killed.”
Mukandi said he was then taken to other police officers who took him to Chibhanguza nightclub in Chitungwiza for rehearsals.
Ali was last seen at the nightclub before the murder.
Mukandi said the witnesses who testified for the state said he was wearing a yellow T-shirt yet on the day in question he had a red T-shirt and blue jeans.
He said the T-shirts and jeans were recovered by the police and were never submitted in court as exhibits.
Mukandi told chief prosecutor Michael Mugabe that he admitted to the crime under duress.
“I admitted to the offence under camera on indication because l was under the authority that was harassing me at the time,” he said.
“I am actually pained because l did not commit this offence.”
Muremba reserved her ruling to November 16.