‘GANGSTER DIED FOR NOTH­ING’ Gold baron speaks on war that claimed nephew’s life

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Richard Muponde

ESIGODINI gold baron, Mr Baron Dube (pic­tured), has opened up on how he was nearly killed a day be­fore his nephew, who was be­lieved to be the ring leader of a gang of gold pan­ners, died in bloody clashes with a ri­val group in Fi­l­abusi.

Qal­isani Moyo, pop­u­larly known as “Fri­day” of Sanale area in Fi­l­abusi, was axed to death af­ter his right foot was chopped off in a fight over a gold claim at HeyHill Farm on Mon­day night.

Mr Dube yes­ter­day said the late Moyo was his nephew, and on the day his rel­a­tive died, they were sup­posed to travel to­gether to the claim, but he later de­cided against go­ing there. He said Moyo died for no ap­par­ent rea­son. No ar­rests have been made so far fol­low­ing the mur­der.

The gold baron said on Sun­day he nearly died as over 400 gold pan­ners armed with ma­chetes and axes cor­nered him, but they re­treated af­ter he drew his pis­tol.

He said on Mon­day, Moyo and 14 oth­ers went to the gold claim, not to fight but for talks with a ri­val group at the in­sti­ga­tion of the po­lice.

Mr Dube said a Sergeant Map­fumo from Fi­l­abusi Po­lice Sta­tion phoned him to come to the gold claim to solve the dis­pute with com­mu­nity lead­ers and pan­ners who were min­ing at his claim, but he sent his nephew with his group.

“We were at Fi­l­abusi Busi­ness Cen­tre where we had slept with my boys on Sun­day. Ini­tially I had met Madam Sibanda, an as­sis­tant in­spec­tor, to­gether with one Hus­sein who is lead­ing the group of com­mu­nity mem­bers min­ing there.

“He came in the com­pany of Spare Sit­hole (Fi­l­abusi busi­ness­man). Hus­sein agreed in front of the po­lice that they only hold a prospect­ing li­cence and I pro­duced all my pa­pers to the claim. Hus­sein then asked me to al­low them to con­tinue min­ing on the con­di­tion that they woud give me a cer­tain per­cent­age and we agreed,” he said.

Mr Dube said they went to the Of­fi­cer-in-Charge at Fi­l­abusi Po­lice Sta­tion and asked for po­lice of­fi­cers to ac­com­pany them to the gold claim, but the po­lice said they had no ve­hi­cle.

“I of­fered him (OIC) my car but he said they don’t board civil­ian ve­hi­cles. He ver­i­fied with CID Min­er­als, Gwanda, and was ad­vised that th­ese peo­ple had no pa­pers but had agreed to work with Baron. Af­ter that some of the po­lice of­fi­cers were dis­patched in a coun­cil­lor’s ve­hi­cle and went down to the claim,” he said.

Mr Dube said af­ter some­time he was phoned by Sgt Map­fumo at around 4PM and told to come to the gold claim for di­a­logue.

“I dis­patched my 15 boys in two trucks to meet Sgt Map­fumo and his en­tourage. The of­fi­cers were in con­stant com­mu­ni­ca­tion with my em­ployee, Shep­herd Sibanda. My boys ar­rived at Leonard Ndlovu’s Stamp Mill where my ore from the claim was be­ing milled. They were told the po­lice went to the claim and they fol­lowed. That’s when they got into the cross­fire, lead­ing to the death of my nephew,” he said.

Mr Dube said he never in­cited vi­o­lence but some peo­ple (names sup­plied) who were once his se­cu­rity guards at the claim mo­bilised over 400 gold pan­ners against him.

“On Sun­day when we were at Fi­l­abusi cen­tre they made sev­eral trips fer­ry­ing pan­ners to the cen­tre in eight Toy­ota Gran­vias they bought with pro­ceeds from min­ing at the claim. They sur­rounded us armed with ma­chetes, axes, stones and picks with some pan­ners from Gwanda shout­ing ‘ abat­she’ while ad­vanc­ing to­wards my Land Cruiser. I then drew my pis­tol and put it in my pocket and they re­treated and con­fronted Cele,” he said.

Mr Dube said he had re­ported a case of theft of gold ore against some peo­ple (names sup­plied).

Mata­bele­land South Po­lice spokesper­son In­spec­tor Philisani Nde­bele yes­ter­day con­firmed that the po­lice en­gaged the two par­ties and agreed to ac­com­pany them to the claim.

“We talked to them but un­for­tu­nately there were no ve­hi­cles to ac­com­pany them. Baron was ad­vised that the po­lice would go the fol­low­ing day. In­stead of wait­ing, he mo­bilised his gold pan­ners and went to the gold claim and at­tacked the other group which was min­ing there. If there’s a mine dis­pute it’s the re­spon­si­bil­ity of peo­ple from the Min­er­als Unit to pre­side over it. Peo­ple shouldn’t take the law into their own hands but al­low au­thor­i­ties to deal with th­ese is­sues,” said Insp Sibanda.

He said po­lice acted in a proper man­ner by re­fus­ing to travel in a ve­hi­cle of some­one in­volved in a dis­pute they sought to re­solve. — @richardmuponde.

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