Police nab notorious prison escapee carjacker
By Codelia Mondela
Police have arrested a second infamous run-away carjacker who escaped from custody last week.
Detectives cornered Dominic Tachiona Tichawangana (37) on Sunday at his Pumula residence, following an intensive six-day manhunt.
Tichawangana and his accomplice Farai Nhiwatiwa, who on Friday was sentenced to an effective 16 years in prison, were arrested on August 24 and escaped from custody last week when they were returning from Harare where they had been taken for indications.
Nhiwatiwa was arrested a day after the escape at a relative’s house in Emganwini suburb.
The pair made a dramatic dash to freedom on Monday last week at the Ntabazinduna Tollgate near Bulawayo.
They managed to remove their leg irons and handcuffs and jumped from the police vehicle at the tollgate.
Stunned police officers could not shoot at the two escapees as they feared injuring or even killing innocent people that were around.
The duo with a third accomplice, Maxwell Robson Senzawayo who is still at large, allegedly carjacked three motorists and robbed them of cash and cellphones.
Clad in tracksuits and blue sneakers with a scar on his cheek, Tichawangana appeared calm when he only admitted to a count of unlawful escape from police custody. He pleaded not guilty to three counts of robbery (carjacking), one count of armed robbery before magistrate Mr Joseph Mabeza, yesterday.
Tichawangana said: “I have a lot to tell the court, but I can only do that after I am treated for the chest pains I am experiencing.”
Mr Mabeza advised him to apply for bail at the High Court and remanded the matter to September 19.
Prosecuting, Mr Tinashe Dzipe alleged that the trio carjacked and robbed four people in Bulawayo between July 29 and August 13 this year.
He said on July 29 at around 12:45AM they carjacked Mr Sylvester Chitandawata, a taxi driver who was coming from Pumula East after pretending to be commuters headed to the city centre via Emganwini.
“Nhiwatiwa gave instructions to Chitandawata until he got confused and stopped the car. The trio dragged him out of the car, force-marched him into the bush where they took $163 and his cell phone,”he said.
“They stripped Chitandawata naked, stole his clothes and drove away with his Toyota Raum which they dumped along Bulawayo-Plumtree Road,” Mr Dzipe said. “On August 2 at around 9:30PM, they carjacked Mr Ndumiso Ndlovu, a Honda fit driver at the intersection of Masiyepambili, Luveve and Emakhandeni Road after they hired him to drive them to Nhliziyo Shops in Entumbane.
The court heard that they robbed him of $18, a Huawei cell phone, tied him with seat belts and sped off in his car.
Mr Dzipe said: “At around 10PM, the gang robbed the manager of Moriah Guest Lodge Mr Robert Chinemurumbi. They threatened to shoot him with a pistol before robbing him of $50 and a phone.”
The court heard that they forced him to lock himself in the toilet and sped off with the getaway car they had stolen from Mr Ndlovu.
“On August 13 the gang carjacked Mr McAndrew Munorweyi, a pirate taxi driver after asking him to drive them to Northend,” he said.
The court heard that they asked him to stop in-front of a house and grabbed him by the neck, shoved him into the backseat of his car. They robbed him of $20 and a Gtel A1 cellphone.
Mr Munorweyi escaped by jumping from the moving vehicle and sustained bruises. Nhiwatiwa was convicted on his own plea to three counts of carjacking, one count of armed robbery and a count of unlawful escape from police custody by Mr Mabeza. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison. The Chronicle