Munyaradzi Musiiwa – Midlands Correspondent
Young brother to the late notorious robber and murderer Edmund Edgar Masendeke kidnapped a police officer and robbed him of his vehicle before embarking on a robbing spree around the country.
Andrew Masendeke and his accomplices are now facing several charges, including robbery and car- jacking. His accomplices were Tapiwa Chimuti (29), Anyway Madala (27) and Simbarashe Machiritsa (40) of Ascot Infill high-density suburb in Gweru.
Chimuti was sentenced to 91 years, Madala 76 and Machiritsa 21 when they appeared in court. The other two accomplices, Matrimony Nyathi and Sydney Mangisi, are on the run.
They were linked to armed robbery cases committed in Bulawayo, Zvishavane, Gweru, Shurugwi, Kwekwe and Kadoma. Masendeke and the trio terrorised miners and business people in the Midlands and Bulawayo.
They got away with $25 000, a vehicle and six rifles. Police recovered the vehicle and guns which were used during the robberies. Masendeke, of Mukarati village under Chief Mukaro in Gutu, appeared before Gweru Provincial Magistrate Mrs Phathekhile Msipa yesterday facing seven counts of robbery, carjacking and kidnapping.
He was not asked to plead and was remanded in custody to today. The State, led by Mr Ernest Mzembi, alleged that during the period extending from February to June this year, Masendeke and his five accomplices committed a series of robberies in the Midlands and Bulawayo.
Mr Mzembi alleged that on February 19 this year, and at around 8pm, Masendeke robbed Alfred Zvapera, a member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) stationed at Gokwe Traffic.
He kidnapped Zvapera and his friend Ms Faith Ngwenyenyi. Zvapera was driving a Toyota Noah in Mapfungautsi Extension high-density suburb near Kambasha Business Centre in Gokwe when Masendeke and his accomplices stopped him.
Masendeke and his accomplices produced a pistol and demanded valuables. He allegedly fired one shot into the air and ordered the complainant to hand over his motor vehicle.
Zvapera surrendered the vehicle keys, police identity card, a mobile phone and $4. It is alleged Masendeke and his accomplices allegedly forced the two into the vehicle.
They drove to Zesa offices in Gokwe. They ordered Zvapera to disembark from the vehicle and tied his face with a mutton cloth. They then forced him back into the vehicle before driving to Bulawayo.
They held them hostage for two days. The court heard that they robbed mines and business people. Masendeke then fled to Birchenough in Manicaland Province where he changed his name.
He started operating a pirate taxi. Masendeke was involved in an accident in Chipinge. One person died on the spot.
He was arrested following a tip- off.