A prominent Plumtree-based Zanu PF businessman was shot dead in cold blood by a Zimbabwean based in South Africa while resisting a robbery at his shop at Ntoli business centre in Bulilima East.
The suspect in Butho Zidlaphi Nkomo’s murder is said to be on the police wanted list for several robbery cases in the area.
The injiva, whose name could not be verified, but uses Tshobolo as his father’s name and is from the area, was said to be on the run following a shootout with the police previously.
He is still at large.
According to sources, Nkomo, popularly known as Kabila, was renting the business premises from another businessman, who had closed shop after constant harassment and looting of stock by the suspect reportedly for debt he got while in South Africa.
The fugitive had come back to raid stock again, but Nkomo resisted, leading to him being shot at close range and he died on the spot last Thursday night.
Matabeleland South police spokesperson Inspector Loveness Mangena on Friday confirmed the shooting.
“It’s true we are investigating the matter of a businessman who was shot in Plumtree in Bulilima district, but for the full circumstances you can get in touch with our headquarters in Harare,” Mangena said.
Bulilima East legislator Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu expressed sadness over Nkomo’s death.
“It’s very sad, my brother, he was shot in cold blood,” said Ndlovu, who is also Tourism minister.
“His killer is a well-known thug who has previous cases of being involved in shootouts with police, but surprisingly was roaming freely in the communities.
“Now he has robbed the community and the country of a young life.
“Butho was a hard worker and it’s a huge loss.”
A source close to the matter said Nkomo died resisting the robbery.
“The suspect had a tendency of raiding this shop in front of its owner,” the source said.
“It’s said they owed each other some money for some deals they did in South Africa.
“Previously he looted stock from the shop and the owner closed it until Nkomo came to rent it. It’s a new shop which was built recently.”
Three months ago, a prominent elderly couple from Mangwe district in Plumtree was gruesomely murdered by robbers, who raided their homestead during the night before burning their bodies in one of the houses.
Eighty three-year-old Nicholas Nleya and his wife Margaret, who was 78, were burnt beyond recognition at their home in Mzaza village in Empandeni and police are still to arrest the suspects. ■