…as violent culture haunts ED’s backyard
HARDLY a day after combative Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, a feared former military commander, bellowed that the opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) will be crushed like lice, blood was flowing at the Nelson Chamisa rally.
Chiwenga told thousands of Zanu PF supporters at Mbizo Stadium in Kwekwe, Midlands province, that CCC will be crushed like lice.
“You see how we crush lice with a stone. You put it on a flat stone and then flatten it to the extent that even flies will not make a meal out of it,” Chiwenga said.
Chiwenga’s statements were likened to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s statement in 1983, at a rally in Victoria Falls, where then then State Security minister delivered a threat using chilling language.
As The Chronicle reported at the time: “Likening the dissidents to cockroaches and bugs, the minister said the bandit menace had reached such epidemic proportion that the government had to bring ‘DDT’ [pesticide] to get rid of the bandits.”
His statement is believed to have emboldened the 5th Brigade soldiers who committed genocide in Matabeleland and the Midlands regions.
Hours after Chiwenga’s statement, which observers described as inflammatory and inciteful, Mboneni Ncube’s (35) body lay lifeless.
He is believed to have been speared to death by a menacing gang of Zanu PF thugs who besieged the rally addressed by Chamisa, leaving over 20 seriously injured. The attack occurred while the opposition leader was addressing the rally in Mnangagwa’s hometown.
Signs that violence was looming were always evident from the time Chamisa disembarked from his car and greeted multitudes of supporters before he was quickly chaperoned by his security aides to the VIP tent where he sat next to his wife and other party leaders.
Kwekwe is volatile and is home to the infamous Zanu PF-aligned local terror group Al-Shabaab known for terrorising opposition supporters and for causing chaos at gold mines.
Soon after Chamisa took his seat, commotion ensured just outside the VIP tent after CCC security tried to block suspected Zanu PF youths who hastily retreated after being subdued.
CCC organiser Amos Chibaya had earlier warned of the impending violence, saying: “We know that there are some Zanu PF individuals who have been planted amongst us to cause commotion. However, let they be warned that our security is on high alert and they will be dealt with accordingly.”
Midway through Chamisa’s speech, the Zanu PF youths struck again, this time with determination.
Chamisa’s pleas for his supporters to stay calm fell on deaf ears as the Zanu PF youths attacked while the CCC youths hit back.
Stones, spears and all sorts of weapons were thrown as the Zanu PF thugs unleashed violence, leaving 22 injured and Ncube dead.
Observers said Ncube, who according to his family was not involved much in politics, became a victim of Chiwenga’s reckless incitement and the Zanu PF youths’ appetite for violence in Mnangagwa’s backyard.
Aspiring Mbizo member of Parliament Settlement Chikwinya, who will face off with Cornelius Mupereri of Zanu PF for the Kwekwe Central seat in the March 26 by-elections, told The NewsHawks this week that suspected state security agents were hijacking the funeral wake of the slain activist.
Chikwinya said the suspected state security agents threatened the family after twice trying to influence the hospital officials to block any CCC officials from taking any further part in the funeral process.
In an interview at the family home in Kwekwe, a brother of the slain Ncube, Future Ndlovu, said: “What we want now is closure as a family and mourn in peace without political involvement. My brother was not a politician and was not in the CCC. On the fateful day he had just followed his friends to the rally and was probably drinking beer at a bar.”
Ncube will be buried in Lower Gweru where his family said the father of one and widower was trying to set up his small fortune after acquiring a herd of cattle.
Khulani Ncube, a brother, said the 30 year old had recently married a second wife following the death of his first one.
“This was his second marriage as he had recently married. His first wife died and left him with their baby girl who is now in Grade 2.
This month we were supposed to meet with the bride’s family as we had already paid lobola,” Khulani said.
The now deceased was a miner employed at a mine in Kwekwe. Kwekwe has been a politically volatile area since the turn of the new millennium.
Former Kwekwe Central MP Blessing Chebundo, now a Zanu PF activist, was one of the first victims of politically motivated violence after he dared challenge Mnangagwa in the 2000 parliamentary elections.
His house in Mbizo’s Section 12, less than a kilometre from where Ncube was killed, was razed down by a Zanu PF gang known as the Taliban before it morphed into Al-Shabaab years later.
The violence has been worsened by politicians fighting to control mines in the gold-rich city where their supporters have turned to machete-wielding militant gangs to protect their territory.
Bloody fights have also erupted within Zanu PF itself in Kwekwe where rival groups regularly exchange blows.
Recently, gunshots were heard during fierce clashes between supporters of former State Security minister Owen Ncube’s nephew Energy, and businessman Kandros Mugabe, who were fighting for a slot to represent Zanu PF in the primary elections.
Mnangagwa was forced to chip in and block the two from contesting after the violence.
Observers said Zanu PF was allowing a culture of violence in Kwekwe by setting up terror camps in the Midlands city with the police doing little to root out the known “bases”.
Ironically, one of the terror camps is situated in Mbizo’s Section 9 and known as Black Wadada where the Zanu PF youths congregate to guzzle beer while plotting against their next victim.
Another one is Jessie Gardens where the suspects in Ncube’s murder case were found hiding.
The premises are owned by Owen “Mudha” Ncube, who is also known as “Touch Bomber” amongst the Zanu PF militia.
Jessie Gardens was opened over two decades ago by Ncube when he invited the late musician Tongai Moyo to perform for guests who had thronged the then new facility situated in Mbizo 11, again less than 2km from where Chamisa addressed his rally.
“The people causing all sorts of problems in Kwekwe are known, their godfathers are known, but we can only wonder why no action is taken against them,” said a Mbizo resident, commenting on condition he is not named.-Staff Writer