Nyore Madzianike Manicaland Bureau
The year 2017 was an eventful one in Manicaland in all fronts, be it political, social and economic. Talk about control of economic resources that endow Manicaland took centre stage the whole year.
Both lower and upper courts in Manicaland were kept busy as they tried to deal with criminals and suspects who were taken before them for delivery of justice.
Law enforcement agents, especially from the Minerals and Border Control Unit, were kept on their feet as they fought against smuggling syndicates along the porous border with Mozambique.
Smuggling of minerals, second-hand clothing and banned goods under Statutory Instrument 64 continued despite the numerous police mounted roadblocks on most roads leading to the border. Artisanal miners continued wreaking havoc in the mineral-rich areas of Chiadzwa and Odzi, with a number of deaths being recorded there.
A number of arrests of artisanal miners were made and their cases dominated the Manicaland court roll.
Diamond dealer, Blessing “Tongo” Chikwangura was shot in cold blood at his Kusena Village homestead by armed robbers who pounced on him and made good their escape with US$3 000.
Police suspected that the robbers were expecting to get diamond from Chikwangura who died before he was taken to hospital. The incident occurred in February last year.
Four illegal diamond panners drowned in a dam in Marange sometime in August after they trespassed into the mining fields in a bid to illegally mine the precious gems.
They drowned after alert Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company guards spotted them and tried to arrest them. Being not familiar with the mine’s geographical area, the quartet fell into the slime dam and drowned.
Trymore Makuwaza and Tonderai Gwama appeared before senior Mutare magistrate, Mr Innocent Bepura charged with robbery after they pounced on well known Mutare diamond dealer, Believe Rangura and allegedly robbed him of US$17 000.
Charles Gondo and Makiwa Ngoro appeared before the same courts after they were found in possession of 157 pieces of diamonds at Hot Springs shops. Ring leaders of a gang that was terrorising villagers in the gold rich areas of Odzi were heavily punished by the courts after they attacked mine workers at Odzi 12 Mine and destroyed property worth $30 000.
Brothers, Jacob and Jefta Ticharwa and their accomplice, Wilford Zulu were slapped with $700 fine each and ordered to restitute $30 000 for the property they destroyed.
They were arrested in August 2017 after they led about 100 other villages to orchestrate the attack.
Three people were shot and seriously injured sometime in September following shoot-outs by rival groups as they fought for control of gold mines in Odzi.
Wellington Mutezo and Mutungamiri Mavhurere were arrested and taken to court facing attempted murder charges.
Four men were each jailed for two years after they were arrested for smuggling second-hand clothes worth nearly US$145 000 into the country.
Fulton Dololo, Malvin Mari, Emmanuel Mupona and Brian Muchenje were also each fined $1 000 after they attempted to smuggle about 416 bales of second-hand clothes into the country from Mozambique.
A well-known second-hand clothes smuggler, Jivas Masaya, was shot dead by police who mistook him for an armed robber during a midnight ambush at Cecil Kop Nature Reserve in Mutare in October last year.
Clergymen were not spared controversy as a number of them grabbed headlines during the course of the year.
Revival Centre World Mission Founder Prophet Adventure Mutepfa left tongues wagging for allegedly having an adulterous affair with a female senior congregant from his church.