The trial of four security guards who allegedly fatally shot a rival miner following an ownership wrangle over Tolrose Gold Mine in Kadoma has commenced at the High Court in Harare.
BY CHARLES LAITON
The incident allegedly occurred on August 4 2012 as former ReNaissance Merchant Bank chief executive officer Patterson Timba fought running battles with Jameson Rushwaya and his wife Anne over ownership of the mine.
According to court papers, Timba, who is alleged to be the brains behind the skirmishes, is still at large.
The four suspects — John Muzivi, Fore Nyakaringa, Sidondo Lazarus and Karikoga Makonde — pleaded not guilty to the murder of Shepherd Mpofu when they appeared before High Court judge Justice Owen Tagu on Monday.
They told the court that on the day in question, as security guards, they never used any firearms, but had baton sticks which they were using in executing their normal duties.
The court heard that the long-running mine ownership row took a nasty turn on the day in question allegedly when four armed men stormed the mine and fired gunshots that killed Mpofu.
The confrontation occurred when Timba allegedly hatched a plan to forcibly evict Rushwaya’s family and their workers from the mine.
Timba allegedly presented a fraudulent writ of ejectment claiming ownership of the mine and ordered Rushwaya’s workers to vacate the property.
According to court papers, one Tobias Mandiringa, who is still at large, had supplied loaded rifles and revolvers to the four men who were in the company of one Aleck Silver, who is also still at large.
Acting in common purpose, the court heard, the four men deployed themselves at three strategic points.
When Rushwaya’s workers resisted the takeover of the mine, the accused allegedly fired indiscriminately at them and shot Mpofu in the abdomen, while one Nyasha Mapako was shot on the right upper arm.
Sidondo allegedly fired another shot that hit Alois Tauya on the left ankle after which they all took to their heels and disappeared from the scene.
The trial continues today.