Baron vic­tim fam­ily speaks out

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

“EV­ERY mine that is pro­duc­ing much gold Baron would claim it as his. We are not sure which one is his mine be­cause the mine where he shot and killed my nephew did not be­long to him, it be­longed to a man by the name Tendai,” said Mr Bu­sani Magutshwa of Esigo­dini.

Mr Magutshwa is un­cle to the late An­thony Bvun­dura who was buried last week af­ter he was al­legedly shot by Esigo­dini gold baron, Baron Dube dur­ing one of the nu­mer­ous gold war fights that have rocked Esigo­dini over the years.

Mr Magutshwa summed up the “no­to­ri­ety” that Baron, as he is pop­u­larly known in the area, has gained with many ac­cu­sa­tions of his gang­ster and movie-like modus operandi which has turned the area into a mini­war zone. Baron has al­legedly be­come syn­ony­mous with vi­o­lence and even death but what baf­fles many is why this man has not seen the doors of jail for all his pre­vi­ous crimes. Mr Magutshwa claims Baron has un­of­fi­cially be­stowed him­self as the king of Esigo­dini.

“He is feared here, he acts like a king, boast­ing that he will never go to jail.”

In 2017, Baron al­legedly shot a man who was part of a nine-man gang armed with axes, ma­chetes, spears and knives that al­legedly be­sieged him at his pub. In the area, sto­ries of vi­o­lence sound like daily bread. Sun­day News vis­ited the Magutshwa fam­ily in Ha­bane Ex­ten­sion at Esigo­dini last week soon af­ter the fam­ily had re­turned from Kwekwe for the burial.

You could lit­er­ally feel the sad­ness en­gulf­ing the fam­ily as they pon­dered how a young life in Bvun­dura who was 22, could just have been taken away so reck­lessly.

“It is un­be­liev­able that a man can fire at an un­armed per­son whose back has been turned to show that they are with­draw­ing from the so called war. Hon­estly as a fam­ily we are so much hurt. Come to think of it, An­thony had left his orig­i­nal home in Kwekwe to visit his aunt here a few months back. Since he had noth­ing to do, my nephew, like any other young man had to find some­thing to keep him oc­cu­pied,” said Mr Magutshwa.

Since Baron has been ar­rested and is still in cus­tody, the fam­ily is pray­ing that the courts will pass a “fair” judg­ment.

“The fam­ily el­ders are so much wounded and the fam­ily wants to see if this time, like any other in­ci­dent this man will be out on bail and his case will just dis­ap­pear like pre­vi­ous ones. If that hap­pens, the el­ders shall see what to do as they have many plans. Although they have not yet openly said their plan, I can prom­ise you some­thing ex­tra­or­di­nary is com­ing,” he said.

Sun­day News also spoke to Mr Mkhulisi Sibanda, the man who wit­nessed the last mo­ments of Baron’s al­leged vic­tim.

“Baron came driv­ing a white Land Cruiser and found us work­ing at around 11pm. He was with 20 men armed with axes, ma­chetes and spears and he was car­ry­ing two guns, a ri­fle and a pis­tol. He was also car­ry­ing a bot­tle of beer. They told us to leave the place im­me­di­ately. As we were run­ning away, Baron took his pis­tol and started shoot­ing ran­domly in our direc­tion. Un­for­tu­nately An­thony was hit. He stag­gered for about five me­tres be­fore he fell down. We lit up our torches and re­alised that he had been shot and we went home to in­form el­ders and the po­lice,” he said hold­ing down tears.

On the day, it is al­leged that af­ter the shoot­ing, Baron re­tired to bed not “re­al­is­ing he had killed some­one”. He was ar­rested the next morn­ing and is fac­ing mur­der charges.

Deadly and of­ten bloody fights over the pre­cious min­eral have be­dev­illed Esigo­dini for years and the peren­nial prob­lem seems to be get­ting worse.


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