Hon. Ncube is the former Minister of State for Midlands province.
The cases of violence and killings occurred over Globe and Phoenix Mine, also known as Falcon Gold, allegedly controlled by Gokwe-Kana legislator Owen Ncube — popularly known as Mudha. Ncube reportedly illegally took over mining rights with the assistance of Zanu PF politburo member July Moyo and Zanu PF Midlands spokesman Cornelius Mupereri, key Mnangagwa allies.
The brutality and murder cases are being committed allegedly by Zanu PF youths loyal to Ncube, who like Moyo and Mupereri, is Mnangagwa’s political ally.
According to top police sources who spoke to the Zimbabwe Independent off the record, there are currently four active cases of murder under investigation by the police, which cover the period between 2016 and 2017.
The first case is the murder of Washington Dick, allegedly by Likwa Ngwenya in November last year. The matter is in the courts.
Police investigations show that before turning on each other, Ngwenya and Dick were appointed leaders of an unregistered security organisation — which later became a terror gang — run by Ncube to ensure illegal panners do not invade Globe and Phoenix.
The state’s case is that on November 10 last year, Ngwenya, in the company of other unnamed accused persons, attacked Dick with machetes several times all over the body until he died near Sable Flats in Kwekwe.
After committing the crime, Ngwenya and his alleged accomplices fled the scene.
“The accused’s (Ngwenya) cellphone was recovered at the scene, his vehicle was seen at the scene and the police also recovered a blood stained work suit in his motor vehicle,” said the state before a Kwekwe magistrate earlier this year.
Before his death, Dick was facing an attempted murder charge (ZRP Kwekwe CR101/09/16 and Kwekwe CID 01/10/16) for allegedly attacking Ngwenya using a machete following a dispute over a gold claim.
Ncube is said to have been carrying out gold mining operations in Kwekwe since 2002 when operations ground to a halt, as the owners felt mining operations were no longer viable.
Police sources also said when Globe and Phoenix Mine closed operations, illegal gold panners and political leaders in Kwekwe scrambled to acquire tribute rights to the mine.
The police sources said Kwekwe Consolidated Gold Mines Private Limited and Homesake Mining and Technical Services approached the Ministry of Mines in 2009 seeking to clarify the validity of the agreement of the tributes.
However, the ministry said the agreement expired in February 2005, adding that any operations under the tribute were illegal.
Police sources added political interference led to a gold rush at the mine before Ncube took control.
He allegedly took advantage of unemployed Zanu PF youths and gave them responsibilities of providing security at the mine by protecting it from other illegal panners and supervising those who would have been given permission to mine on a 50-50% basis.
The sources said Ncube claims to own all mining tributes at the mine. He is alleged to have also claimed ownership of Moonbeam Hammer Mill, located two kilometres from Globe and Phoenix South pit mine.
However, the seizing of mining operations by Ncube did not go down well with some members of the Kwekwe community, the sources said. This saw the youths employed by the security firm engaging in running battles with members of community who also wanted to mine gold there. This resulted in a dramatic rise in cases of violence, assault and murder.
The sources said late last year, the security outfit’s leadership split into two camps over gold interests; one led by Ngwenya and the other by the late Dick. The sources said the two groups — which later morphed into terror gangs — would engage in vicious fights using machetes and knives, commonly known as “colombia clubs”.
However, both camps remained loyal to Ncube, widely viewed as the “gold lord”, “gold baron” or “kingpin”, in the area.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Ncube said he did not know Dick and Ngwenya. He also said he was not involved in gold mining.
“I have been sick for seven months since last year August and I was not in the country. I was admitted at Donald Gordon hospital in South Africa. I only came back in the country early this year. I am actually supposed to go back for a check-up. The incidents you are talking about, the violence in October until January occurred while I was outside the country, so how do they involve me?” Ncube said.
“After all, I am not involved in mining. I don’t have any rights at Globe and Phoenix Gold mine, neither was I interested in it. I am into farming. I am a farmer. So there is totally nothing like that. It is all lies. You are actually the fifth person to call me since last year over this issue and I have always said its lies. You are welcome to visit this side and see for yourself what is happening on the ground.”
Efforts to get a comment from Moyo and Mupeperi were fruitless as their mobile numbers went unanswered. They did not respond to text messages sent to them.