Codelia Mondela, Court Reporter
TWO car-jackers were yesterday jailed for 29 years each for robbing five taxi drivers of their cars, cellphones and money.
Brian Masawi (24) and Mzingaye Clement Moyo (21) both from Nketa 8 suburb in Bulawayo, were armed with a machete when they pounced on taxi drivers.
They targeted two taxi drivers in Bulawayo and three in Gweru and the offences were committed between August and October.
They left their victims tied after approaching some of them on the pretext that they were hiring them.
After hiring the taxi drivers, Moyo sat in the front seat giving the drivers instructions while Masawi sat at the back seat.
Masawi would later choke their victims, before bashing and robbing them of their vehicles.
Masawi and Moyo were convicted on their own plea of guilty to robbery, car jacking and theft by Bulawayo regional magistrate Mrs Sibongile Msipa- Marondedze.
They were each sentenced to 29 years in jail.
Nine years were suspended from each for five years on condition that they do not within that period commit similar crimes.
They will each serve an effective 20 years in prison.
In passing sentence, Mrs Msipa-Marondedze said the two men were a danger to both society and themselves.
“Accused persons even went on a robbing spree to Gweru armed with a knife and stabbed their victim who resisted the robbery,” she said.
In mitigation, Masawi and Moyo pleaded with the court to be lenient with them saying they had children they needed to look after.
Masawi said: “I do not want to die before I see my child. I was only looking for money.”
Moyo said he was married and had a two-year-old child and his wife was pregnant and expecting their second baby.
In one of the incidents, one victim was stabbed with a knife on his hands and shoulders while another one was struck on the finger using a machete for resisting the robbers’ orders.
Prosecuting, Miss Concilia Ncube said the duo targeted Honda fit taxi drivers whom they hired and later robbed.
She said on August 28 at around 9PM, Masawi and Moyo approached Mr Christopher Nsingo (65) in Bulawayo and hired him to drive them to Khumalo suburb. He charged them five dollars and they paid three dollars.
They promised to pay him the balance after reaching their destination.
“When they arrived at number 13 Windsor Avenue, the duo ordered him to stop. Moyo pretended to get inside the house to collect the remaining taxi fare and Masawi strangled Mr Nsingo. The duo dragged him out of his vehicle and struck his finger with a machete,” Miss Ncube said.
“They stole his jacket and two cellphones. They tied his hands and legs with his belt before speeding off in his car.”
She said on October 11 at around 4AM, they stole a Honda fit, a phone and $105 from Mr Lawrence Zvingevhu (30) at his home in Nkulumane suburb.
Mr Zvingevhu is a taxi driver and he was targeted while his vehicle was parked at home.
The two drove away in Mr Zvingevhu’s car and later burnt it in Rangemore after stripping it of its parts.
Miss Ncube said on September 8, the two hired Mr Duncan Nyathi in Gweru and asked him to drive them from Chicken Inn to Windsor Park.
“Along the way they ordered him to stop and Masawi choked him with a chain. They pulled Mr Nyathi from his car, took $17 and a phone before speeding off in his car,” she said.
“On September 17, they hired Mr Tawanda Chengetanai to drive them from Chicken Inn to Windsor Park suburb. They instructed him to stop at Mimosa Primary School. They strangled him with an electric cable and took $40 and a cellphone. After the robbery they tied him with the electrical cable and drove off in his car.”
Miss Ncube said they later dumped the car between Mbembesi and Shangani after they were involved in an accident.
The court heard that the following day, they stole Mr Simbarashe Mutasa (30)’s car after hiring him to drive them to Windsor Park suburb in Gweru.
Miss Ncube said they strangled Mr Ncube with shoe laces. Mr Ncube over powered them and attempted to escape but the duo pursued him and tied his hands with an electric cable.
“Moyo then stabbed his hands and shoulders with a knife. They searched him and took $85 and his phone before speeding off in his car. They later dumped it at Queens Park East in Bulawayo,” she said.
Masawi was arrested last Wednesday after police received a tip off and he implicated Moyo.