The sentencing of three robbers who were terrorising Bulawayo residents to 97 years each in jail will send a clear message that society abhors outcasts that disturb citizens’ peace. Grant Chaniwa, 27, from Emakhandeni, Tauya Rukani, 31, from Pumula South and Mpumulelo Dube, 32, from Nkulumane were convicted on their own pleas of guilt by regional magistrate Sikhumbuzo Nyathi.
The three were convicted of 11 counts of robbery after they went on a robbery and theft spree targeting commuters. They robbed 17 people including a police officer in uniform.
In one incident they threw out a couple off their moving Honda Fit vehicle which they were using to commit the crimes. The trio was masquerading as private transport operators in order to rob unsuspecting commuters of their valuables and cash.
Sentencing the three convicts, Nyathi said the trio had traumatised passengers who use pirate taxis. Magistrate Nyathi bemoaned the increase in robbery cases in the city and said the trio’s sentence should serve as a warning to would be offenders.
Two weeks ago another Bulawayo regional magistrate Mark Dzira sentenced a serial rapist to 97 years in prison. Vusumuzi Sibanda, 34 of Old Pumula suburb was convicted of 15 counts of rape, robbery and unlawful entry. Sibanda raped his victims in Kingsdale, North End, Pumula and Paddonhurst suburbs.
Among the four victims he raped and robbed, was a school pupil. Dzira described Sibanda as a ruthless person who was beyond redemption. He said there was nothing as degrading for a man as having his wife raped by someone.
Last month police arrested another notorious robber who terrorised Bulawayo residents through alleged murder, robbery and rape. The robber, Birthwell Sibanda, 22, has since been convicted of 11 counts of robbery. Sibanda and his two accomplices went on a robbery spree targeting mostly motorists. They would rob motorists of their vehicles and other valuables that included clothes they were wearing.
Sibanda, who was hiding in South Africa, was arrested soon after returning home last month. What is comforting is that the police are accounting for most of the notorious robbers who have been terrorising Bulawayo residents and this is as it should be. The courts on their part are passing deterrent sentences which we hope will serve as a warning to would be offenders.
Robbers are ruthless people who in some cases have killed innocent people for resisting to be robbed. These outcasts have no place in our society and we have no regrets if they rot in our jails. The robbers operate from communities and many of them are breadwinners of families that are aware of their criminal activities.
The family members who are beneficiaries of the ill-gotten wealth at times want to protect these criminals oblivious of the fact that they too could be victims of these notorious criminals. The police have a mandate to rid society of criminals but citizens should also assist the police by providing information.
Zimbabweans should not allow the country to be turned into a haven of criminals where freedom of movement is curtailed. People should be free to move or board a taxi of their choice without fearing that they would be robbed or killed.
This is only possible if we get rid of criminals within our midst. We want to once again applaud the judicial for passing long prison terms against those that have chosen to disturb our peace.