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Cover-up feared in slain CCC activist’s case

Ncube was fatally stabbed in Kwekwe at a rally in Mbizo in February ahead of the March 26 by-elections leading to the arrest of 16 Zanu PF youths said to be backed by former minister of State Security Owen Ncube.

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU KEY witnesses into the murder of Kwekwe Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) activist Mboneni Ncube by suspected Zanu PF activists are allegedly being intimidated to stop them from testifying in the case.

At the same time, police officers who were behind the arrest of the Zanu PF activists linked to Ncube’s murder have been transferred from the province in a development that the CCC said raised eyebrows.

Police yesterday said there was nothing unusual about the transfers.

Ncube was fatally stabbed in Kwekwe at a rally in Mbizo in February ahead of the March 26 by-elections leading to the arrest of 16 Zanu PF youths said to be backed by former minister of State Security Owen Ncube.

Eleven of the suspects were released without charge when they appeared before Kwekwe magistrate Florence Nago.

Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Martin Makonese granted the other suspects bail.

A Zanu PF member Kennedy Simbi, who was named as the ring leader and is said to have been the one who stabbed Ncube, according to police is still at large.

There has been little movement in the case as key witnesses are allegedly no longer keen to take the witness stand fearing for their lives, and that of their families following threats from suspected Zanu PF members linked to Ncube’s murder.

Ncube’s sister, Judith has also been a victim of the threats.

She was once abducted by suspected Zanu PF members, who threatened to take her life unless she drops the case.

Her named abductors were never arrested.

“Just recently, one of the Zanu PF members who works for a former minister was sending threatening messages saying my days on earth were numbered,” Judith said.

“The sad part of it is that the murder case is supposed to go to court on July 22, but then all the key witnesses now fear for their lives after sustained threats and intimidation.”

CCC Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya said the party was aware of the threats, but said CCC party would not abandon its pursuit for justice.

“We are aware that the majority of witnesses in the murder case including the sister are being hounded by the accused persons,” Chikwinya said.

“The key witnesses fear to assist because they have been visited at their houses.

“Police are also victims of political intimidation.

“The current crop of police officers in Kwekwe is fearful of arresting anyone linked to Zanu PF.”

Police spokesperson Paul Nyathi said no police officer was targeted for conducting investigations into Ncube’s murder.

“First and foremost, the public must note that the Zimbabwe Republic Police has a clear transfer policy, which all members who are serving are aware of,” Nyathi said.

“That case was handled properly, and there is no way anyone can claim to have been victimised or being targeted for conducting investigations.

“The investigations were directed from the top, and as such it cannot be true that they (officers) were targeted for conducting the same investigations.”

Ncube, a former State Security minister, refused to comment when The Standard contacted him.

Zanu PF Midlands provincial chairperson Larry Mavhima said he could also not comment, saying he was travelling.

But Chikwinya said: “They (Zanu PF youths) have the impunity that is begotten from the Zanu PF leadership.

“The suspects in the murder case have gone back to the community and are committing more crimes.

“As long as (President Emmerson) Mnangagwa and Owen Ncube have an interest in Kwekwe there will always be political violence in the Midlands.”

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