BY NQOBANI NDLOVU/BRENNA MATENDERE
The grisly murder of Mboneni Ncube, the Citizens for Coalition for Change (CCC) Kwekwe activist who was killed at a rally in the Midlands town in February has taken a new twist with the suspected killers allegedly going on the rampage, threatening witnesses against testifying.
Judith Ncube, the slain activist’s sister was allegedly kidnapped on Thursday evening by suspected Zanu PF thugs who threatened to kill her if she continued demanding answers into her brothers’ murder.
Judith told The Standard yesterday that she now feared for her life amid reports that other witnesses to the killing of Ncube have also been intimidated to step away from the matter.
Ncube died on admission to Kwekwe Central Hospital after he was stabbed with a spear by suspected Zanu PF activists who disrupted a rally held at Mbizo shopping centre and addressed by CCC leader Nelson Chamisa in the Midlands mining town in February.
The Zanu PF activists were armed with machetes, spears and other weapons.
Police arrested 16 Zanu PF youths for Ncube’s murder but later released 11 of them. Prosecutors say Ncube was stabbed at least twice with a sharp object.
Ncube’s sister, Judith, said unmarked vehicles have been following her for days culminating in the incident on Thursday when she was grabbed and bundled into a car where she was threatened with death for pursuing answers to the death of her brother.
“It was around 4pm when the incident happened. They grabbed and bundled me into their vehicle. They took me to a Zanu PF base in Kwekwe where they threatened to make me disappear if I kept on pressing for answers into the killing of my brother. His killers are known and all I want is closure and justice,” Ncube said yesterday.
The incident was reported to the police and the case number is CRO/04/22.
Judith’s lawyer Darlington Marange of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum told The Standard that Judith has been facing threats to stop her from demanding justice.
“She identified some of the culprits that were implicated in the murder, including some known ruling party bigwigs. She has been saying that police are refusing to take the names of the perpetrators,” Marange said.
“We are now considering visiting the police to iron this out because it falls under their duties to take the report as is and to investigate. It appears there is some resistance but this is something that we have to iron out.
“We are also considering getting a peace order against the people who have been harassing her. She now lives in fear and we have to now take that route of a peace order to ensure her safety. The issue of her safety is now of paramount importance outside other legal routes that we want to take.”
Police spokesperson Paul Nyathi said he was attending a memorial service when reached for comment.
During Ncube’s funeral, Zanu PF activists reportedly hijacked his corpse from Kwekwe hospital and sought to claim that he was, in fact, a Zanu PF supporter.
Mbizo MP elect Settlement Chikwinya said Judith and other people willing to take the witness stand against Ncube’s killers were being harassed constantly.
“Friends of the suspects for the Mbizo 4 CCC rally murder are harassing witnesses in a bid to get them to chicken out from making statements to police. Ncube’s sister was abducted on Thursday and spent hours locked up at Zanu PF party office in Kwekwe where she was interrogated,” Chikwinya said.
“Many witnesses are now withdrawing from the case as they are threatened. We suspect that Zanu PF is planning to intimidate all witnesses so that the State’s case becomes weak.”
Zanu PF provincial chairperson Paul Mavhima was not reachable yesterday.
The late Ncube had recently remarried following the death of his first wife, with whom he had an eight-year-old daughter. Analysts have warned of a violent 2023 election campaign.