Mangwe family petitions Matanga to probe missing child case

A Mangwe family has lodged an official complaint with the Commissioner-General of Police Godwin Matanga over a botched investigation involving a missing six-year-old boy.

In a letter dated 1 October 2021, which was copied to the Officer Commanding ZRP Matabeleland South, the Provincial Public Prosecutor Matabeleland South, The Director of Public Prosecution-Plumtree and Childline, the family legal representatives Ncube Attorneys accused officers at Madabe Police Post of bungling the investigation into the disappearance of Zenzo Ncube who went missing in 2020 and is yet to be found.

“On the 3rd of February 2020, a six-year-old boy was attending primary school at Madabe Primary school situated in ward 3, Mangwe District went missing and to date has not been found. The name of the child is Zenzo Ncube (AKA Zenzo Moyo),” said Ncube Attorneys.

According to the letter, the boy’s father, Anderson Ncube on February 3, 2020, at around 1 am went to Elizabeth Moyo’s homestead and when he got there, he kicked open the bedroom door where Moyo was sleeping with her daughter Elizabeth and grandchildren Zenzo and Siphiwe Ncube.

“Anderson dragged out Siphiwe and Zenzo Ncube from their grandmother’s bedroom, tied their hands with a rope or wire, and set off with the children to his homestead. Anderson is said to have been very drunk and as he set off with the children, the children wailed whilst Anderson happily sang them a gospel song, whose lyrics are “Nyathela ngamandla, sokuse duze ezulwini”, loosely translated as, “step harder, heaven is now so near,” the letter read.

Siphiwe managed to escape while “Zenzo was never to be seen or heard of since then, and to date.”

A missing person report was made at Madabe police post on February 6 and villagers launched a massive manhunt in an effort to locate the missing boy.

“The villagers received no assistance from the local police until Friday the 7th of February 2020 when one Magumise, a PISI operative based at Madabe police Post joined the search, after a run-in with villagers, who complained of police involvement,” the lawyers said.

On the same day, one Tarcisius Moyo, a legal practitioner with Ncube Attorneys and a cousin to Elizabeth Moyo went to Madabe village to join the search.

“Tarcisius Moyo found Anderson in protective police custody, having camped at the charge office ever since the child went missing. Anderson’s story was that the child had escaped after he had left the children to go and look for matches from his late uncle’s wife known as MaMlauzi. Whilst MaMlauzi confirmed being awoken to the children’s screams that night, and confirmed that Anderson had come to ask for matches from her the very same night, to date, the police are yet to interview MaMlauzi in the foregoing regard,” the letter read.

When the lawyer arrived at the police post, the Officer In Charge one Makudo was said to be at a local bottle store where he doubled up as a driver and business associate of the proprietor of the said bottle store.

“The member in charge came after about 2 hours of our Mr Moyo’s arrival. He was driving the said businessman’s white van. The member in charge was convinced by Anderson’s explanation of the events, that the child had escaped and considered it a good and sufficient explanation, and that there was no charge to be preferred against Anderson,” said Ncube Attorneys.

The lawyer then requested that two police details, a Magumise and a Moyo accompany him to Felistas Moyo’s homestead.

“At Felistas Moyo’s homestead, Siphiwe told Mr Moyo (the lawyer) that their father had placed them, at a rubbish pit outside his homestead, tied Zenzo’s hands and feet, before handing over Zenzo to a woman who was in the company of a man who was driving a ‘white car’. Magumise and Moyo ( Madabe police details were present when Siphiwe so stated. Soon thereafter, Magumise left Mr Moyo (the lawyer), Siphiwe and the other Moyo, and went to Witness Tshuma’s (Zenzo’s great grandmother) situated about 50 metres east of Felistas Moyo’s homestead, whereat, he carried out a search without a warrant, of the said Witness Tshuma’s granary,” the lawyers said.

“Apparently, soon after the disappearance of the child, the MaMlauzi, aforementioned, acting in cahoots with one of Anderson’s sister who has since fled to Botswana, began circulating a WhatsApp audio message that suggested that some named Zion Prophet had said that Witness Tshuma had taken the child, and was keeping him in his granary as a goblin.”

The police then organised a witch-hunting ceremony at Tshuma’s homestead “where it was hoped Zenzo the goblin would be extricated”.

“Madabe police dispatched Magumise to superintend over the ceremony. The ceremony was brought to an abrupt halt when one Mrs Magret Chiname, a retired Education officer, a young sister to Felistas Moyo and daughter to Witness Tshuma put a stop to the police sanctioned witch-hunt. Mrs Chiname sent Magumise packing back to the police base.”

The lawyers said even after the police sanctioned witch hunt had been disrupted by Mrs Chiname, Makudo was later to return, on a personal crusade, without cause or warrant to ransack each and every room or hut at Witness Tshuma’s homestead, forcing Simelaphi Moyo under the granary and under the beds in search of Zenzo.

The family was forced to lodge a complaint at the ZRP Mangwe District Headquarters located in Plumtree Police station.

“Only then thereafter was Anderson charged with two counts of kidnapping and one count of criminal insult as against Felistas. It was said by Makudo that there would be no charge of unlawful entry into the premises by Anderson in respect of entry into Felistas Moyo’s homestead because Felistas Moyo’s homestead is not fenced,” they said.

Ncube Attorneys said even, then, the docket that went to the Prosecutor at Plumtree Magistrate’s court was clearly investigated in a manner as to defeat the course of justice, in that, Makudo wrote to the Prosecutor’s that their critical witness Siphiwe Ncube was mentally challenged.

“Makudo is not a psychiatrist, Makudo did not dare secure the free services of government psychiatrists or indeed any other expert or specialist in order for him to arrive at such morbid conclusion as he arrived at. Admittedly, the child is a slow learner and is reclusive, but that is not to say that the said child is mentally challenged. Makudo has flatly refused to take Siphiwe to specialists who would be able to get her to talk freely, she is a traumatised child,” they said.

The lawyers said Anderson is off remand at Plumtree Magistrate Court and continues to drink, get drunk and taunt the family.

“The child is still missing. This simply was a case of bungled investigations for which someone must be held responsible. The Ntamo family accordingly see favours being done to Anderson and disfavour done to themselves, they have lost a child to Anderson after all. In sense, the suspicion reasonably held by the family is that Makudo has criminally abused his office in the manner he handled this case,” they said.

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