Tendai Gukutikwa Post Correspondent
THREE ring leaders of the Odzi gold war that resulted in the damage of property worth $30 000 were last week jailed for 48 months. Jacob Ticharwa (25), Jefta Ticharwa (28) and Wilford Zulu (34) were convicted of public violence charges as defined in Section 36 (1) (b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, Chapter 9:23 when they appeared before Mutare provincial magistrate, Mr Tendai Mahwe.
Jacob, Jefta and Zulu had pleaded not guilty to the charges, but were convicted after the State led by Mr Fletcher Karombe produced overwhelming evidence against them. Mr Mahwe said the trio should restitutes the complainant $30 000 by the end of this month, failure will see them being jailed for 48months. They were also fined $700 each.
The trio was said to be the masterminds of the violence that rocked Odzi 12 Gold Mine early this year that also saw gunfire being exchanged between the rival groups over the control of the lucrative mine. About 100 other accomplices are still at large. Mr Karombe said, on August 18, the trio together with 100 accomplices armed with heavy iron bars, logs, catapults and machetes went to Odzi 12 Gold Mine and attacked mine workers with their weapons.
“The mine workers fled, but watched from a distance as the group destroyed mining equipment worth $30 000 using the weapons they had in their possession. They set fire on one Ingersoll rand compressor and one Changfa-ATA 20HP compressor, both worth $30 000,” said Mr Karombe.
The mine workers identified the trio from the gang that had caused public violence, maliciously damaging the compressors and they were subsequently arrested. In their defence, all the three denied being part of the gang that caused the violence, claiming that they had been set-up. Meanwhile, the owner of the mine in question, Clifford Kowo (59) and his two workers are also facing robbery charges before the same court.
Kowo is accused of robbing two of his rivals in the gold mining industry of their personal belongings after kidnapping them. The workers, Wellington Mutezo and Mutungamiri Mavhurere are alleged to have opened fire on 16 security guards from a rival company who had gone to Kowo’s mine with the intention of taking over operations.
Three people were shot and seriously injured during the ‘gold war’. The pair is also facing attempted murder charges. All three were remanded out of custody to December 12.