A VEHICLE hired by the Zimbabwe Election Commission was stolen in Nyanga on Sunday night and was used in an attempted robbery, which was foiled after the passengers fought back resulting in it overturning.
Both police and ZEC’s provincial election officer, Mr Moffat Masabeya, confirmed the incident and said investigations were in progress. The vehicle, a Mazda BT-50, Registration Number ABA 5091 was being driven by Mr Mackeinze Mvumi (40) of Hobhouse One, Mutare and had parked it at Jambaya homestead in Nyanga when four robbers used an unknown object to open its locked doors before driving off.
“The vehicle was hired by ZEC to use during the just-ended special vote. The driver was offered accommodation at one of the Central Mechanical Engineering Department employee’s home in Nyanga. He retired to bed at around 7.30pm. During that night, the owner of the house heard the vehicle being started and thought it was the driver who was going somewhere on duty and did not check.
“When he woke up the following morning, the owner of the house discovered that the driver was fast asleep in the dining room, but the vehicle was missing. He woke him up and that is when the driver realised that his vehicle had been stolen,” said Mr Masabeya.
Deputy provincial police spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Luxson Chananda, said after stealing the vehicle, the four robbers who are still at large decided to use it to rob unsuspecting passengers.
“At around 3am, the four who were driving along the Nyanga-Nyatate Road offered a couple that was travelling to Nyatondo Village a lift. The unsuspecting couple was offered seats on the front seat while the other three suspects opted to sit in the loading box. After travelling for about 5km, the driver slowed down and his three accomplices jumped from the moving vehicle and moved to the front. One of them opened the passengers’ door and tried to pull out Rumbidzai Kamuni (22) out of the vehicle. When her husband, Tawanda Moyounoziwa (23) realised that his wife was being dragged out, he fought back and tried to pull her back into the vehicle,” said Asst Insp Chananda.
He said a scuffle ensued between the couple and the robbers.
“The driver pulled out a homemade knife and threatened to stab Moyounoziwa, but he did not relent in his efforts to save his wife. The driver lost control of the vehicle which veered off the road and overturned once,” he said.
Having realised that their mission had been foiled, the robbers who are said to have sustained minor injuries abandoned the vehicle and took to their heels.
“They disappeared into the darkness. The couple sustained minor injuries and managed to make a report at Nyanga Police Station. The driver of the stolen vehicle (Mvumi) had also made a report at the same station. When police attended the scene, they discovered that it was the stolen vehicle that had been used in the attempted robbery. The suspects are still at large and we appealing for any information that may lead to the arrest of the suspects. We want to urge drivers to be vigilant all the times and ensure that their vehicles are secured before they retire to bed,” said Asst Insp Chananda.
By Monday afternoon, blood stains were still visible on the ground. Efforts to get a comment from the couple were fruitless as they were still being treated at Nyanga District Hospital