By Belinda Moyo
“Every mine that is producing much gold Baron would claim it as his. We are not sure which one is his mine because the mine where he shot and killed my nephew did not belong to him, it belonged to a man by the name Tendai,” said Mr Busani Magutshwa of Esigodini.
Mr Magutshwa is uncle to the late Anthony Bvundura who was buried last week after he was allegedly shot by Esigodini gold baron, during one of the numerous gold war fights that have rocked Esigodini over the years.
Mr Magutshwa summed up the “notoriety” that Baron, as he is popularly known in the area, has gained with many accusations of his gangster and movie-like modus operandi which has turned the area into a mini-war zone.
Baron has allegedly become synonymous with violence and even death but what baffles many is why this man has not seen the doors of jail for all his previous crimes. Mr Magutshwa claims Baron has unofficially bestowed himself as the king of Esigodini.
“He is feared here, he acts like a king, boasting that he will never go to jail.”
In 2017, Baron allegedly shot a man who was part of a nine-man gang armed with axes, machetes, spears and knives that allegedly besieged him at his pub. In the area, stories of violence sound like daily bread. Sunday News visited the Magutshwa family in Habane Extension at Esigodini last week soon after the family had returned from Kwekwe for the burial.
You could literally feel the sadness engulfing the family as they pondered how a young life in Bvundura who was 22, could just have been taken away so recklessly.
“It is unbelievable that a man can fire at an unarmed person whose back has been turned to show that they are withdrawing from the so called war. Honestly as a family we are so much hurt. Come to think of it, Anthony had left his original home in Kwekwe to visit his aunt here a few months back. Since he had nothing to do, my nephew, like any other young man had to find something to keep him occupied,” said Mr Magutshwa.
Since Baron has been arrested and is still in custody, the family is praying that the courts will pass a “fair” judgment.
“The family elders are so much wounded and the family wants to see if this time, like any other incident this man will be out on bail and his case will just disappear like previous ones. If that happens, the elders shall see what to do as they have many plans.
Although they have not yet openly said their plan, I can promise you something extraordinary is coming,” he said.
Sunday News also spoke to Mr Mkhulisi Sibanda, the man who witnessed the last moments of Baron’s alleged victim.
“Baron came driving a white Land Cruiser and found us working at around 11pm. He was with 20 men armed with axes, machetes and spears and he was carrying two guns, a rifle and a pistol. He was also carrying a bottle of beer. They told us to leave the place immediately. As we were running away, Baron took his pistol and started shooting randomly in our direction.
Unfortunately Anthony was hit. He staggered for about five metres before he fell down. We lit up our torches and realised that he had been shot and we went home to inform elders and the police,” he said holding down tears.
On the day, it is alleged that after the shooting, Baron retired to bed not “realising he had killed someone”. He was arrested the next morning and is facing murder charges.
Deadly and often bloody fights over the precious mineral have bedevilled Esigodini for years and the perennial problem seems to be getting worse. Sunday News.