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Minister, police chief linked to Zimbabwe farm killing

By Lebo Nkatazo

A ZIMBABWEAN deputy minister and top police chief on Thursday faced accusations of orchestrating a farm labourer's murder.

Home Affairs Deputy Minister, Reuben Marumahoko and Assistant Police Commissioner, Innocent Matibiri, have been linked to the murder at Springs Field Farm in Mashonaland West.

The farm is owned by controversial sports trainer, Temba Mliswa, who seized it from a white commercial farmer at the height of violent government-sponsored land grabs three years ago.

Violence erupted at the farm on Thursday in an ownership dispute over a fuel service station located on the farm, resulting in the murder of one person, police confirmed.

In an interview with New, Mliswa fingered Marumahoko and Matibiri -- a nephew to President Robert Mugabe -- as the driving forces behind a group of people who attacked his workers.

Marumahoko is said to be claiming ownership, through a proxy, Eric Nodza, who owns the Wedzera Service Station.

Trouble started early this month when Marumahoko’s front, who had occupied the service station, was evicted by Karoi police from the property.

Police spokesperson, Oliver Mandipaka said Thursday night that police had arrested three people in connection with the killing and investigations were continuing.

The chief murder suspect, Kudakwashe Phiri, a former police officer who spearheaded the attacks, has close ties with Matibiri.

According Mliswa, Marumahoko and Matibiri sent the gang on Thursday in an attempt to re-occupy the service station resulting in the skirmishes.

He added that Marumahoko had been supplying fuel at the service station since the time he was the Deputy Energy Minister, a post that enabled him to easily access fuel.

The deputy minister was abusing the police through Matibiri in attempts to force him out of the property, Mliswa claimed.

He also said two weeks ago, Matibiri phoned him claiming that Mliswa was in possession of a fake offer letter for the property.

“I went to see Matibiri the next Monday and showed him my offer letter that I was given on October 4. I told him that the police were free to investigate the issue.

"The deputy police commissioner was obviously taking instructions from his boss Marumahoko who happens to be the deputy home affairs minister,” he added.

Matibiri was not answering his mobile phone last night.

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