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Taxi driver ‘rapes, robs’ Bulawayo woman

By Whinsley Masara

An 18-year-old woman from Emakhandeni suburb in Bulawayo was allegedly raped and robbed on her way to the city centre by a pirate taxi driver who had offered her transport.The woman, whose identity has been withheld for ethical reasons, was on her way to the city centre on Saturday at about 7PM when the incident occurred.

Pirate taxis known as Mushikashika
File picture of pirate taxis known as Mushikashika

Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Precious Simango said the suspect is on the run.

“We’re investigating a rape and robbery case involving an 18-year-old woman who was raped on her way to the city centre on Saturday. The woman boarded a red Honda Fit at Emakhandeni Bus Stop near Easy Pick shop that had two people on board.

“After dropping the other passenger along Masiyephambili Drive, the driver took a sudden turn and diverted route. Driving towards Victoria Falls Road, he turned right after United College of Education and drove to a bushy area where he parked his car. He forced the woman to have sex with him without using protection,” said Insp Simango.

“After the sexual assault, he searched the woman and robbed her of $23 before pushing her out of the car and driving away.”

Insp Simango said anyone who may have information on the suspect must report to the nearest police station.

She urged members of the public to desist from boarding pirate taxis saying most of their drivers are linked to crimes being committed in the city.“We advise members of the public to avoid boarding the mshikashika pirate taxis especially when alone at night as most of these pirate taxis are linked to crimes and may be difficult to trace,” Insp Simango said.

Last year, a 21-year-woman from Entumbane suburb in Bulawayo was allegedly raped on her way to church by a pirate taxi driver who had offered her transport into the city centre.

Also last year, a 16-year-old pupil at a Bulawayo school fought off a pirate Honda Fit driver who wanted to rape her by stabbing him with a pen before kicking his private parts.

In a related incident an Inyathi man allegedly raped a prostitute and threatened to cut off her head with a machete.

Joshua Makoni (30) walked into the woman’s room while she was bathing and allegedly raped her in November last year.

Makoni pleaded not guilty to rape before Bulawayo regional magistrate Mr Crispen Mberewere who remanded him in custody to today for continuation of trial.

Makoni said the woman was lying about the alleged rape.

“I was in jail for three months and when I came back I discovered that my ex-girlfriend and her friend had sold my property. I demanded my property and that is why I am being framed for rape,” he said.

The woman said she was a prostitute, but had not agreed to have sexual intercourse with Makoni on November 4.

She said Makoni budged into her house searching for his ex-girlfriend Ms Tinevimbo Tshuma.

He allegedly threatened to kill her saying she had influenced his ex-girlfriend to lay an assault charge against him.

She said they went to look for Ms Tshuma and later found her.

“Makoni took us to the bush where we spent five hours while he was interrogating us stating that we had caused his countless arrests. He demanded that we buy him opaque beer and forced us to drink it,” she said.

“Around 5PM, we returned to Joe’s compound where we rent and I proceeded to my room to take a bath thinking that he had calmed down. Makoni walked into the room while I was bathing and ordered me to lie on the bed. He threatened to cut off my head with a machete and raped me.”

The court heard that Ms Tshuma walked in while Makoni was allegedly raping the woman. He apologised to his ex-girlfriend and left the room.

Mr Simbarashe Manyiwa prosecuted. The Chronicle

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