By Arron Nyamayaro
A school dropout who is serving a 10-year jail sentence for a spate of armed robberies and unlawful entry blames his fate on bad friends and illicit drugs.
Tendai Maenzanise, 26, of Sunningdale dropped out of school when he was in form two and engaged into a spate of armed robberies in Harare that left him behind bars at the age of 17.
Maenzanise, convicted of seven counts of armed robberies and five counts of unlawful entry, narrated how he committed the offences under the influence of drugs during the belated Africa Prison Day celebrations at Mazowe Farm Prison on Saturday.
“I used to stay alone at my parents’ house in Sunningdale and got support from my mother based in the United Kingdom,” said Maenzanise.
“I was doing Form 2 when I started taking drugs and I blame my friends who introduced me to illicit drugs.
“Wrong friends and abusing drugs ruined my life at a tender age iyezvino ndachemberera mujeri.
“Allow me to warn all youth out there that if you are taking illicit drugs the result is either being shot by police or you will face a longer prison term.
“Some of my friends had to nurse injuries while in prison sustained as we tried to resist arrest and are caged at Chikurubi Maximum Prison.
“I left the family house to stay at a rented room in Arcadia where I became a leading drug dealer and that was the time I met one of the drug buyers who gave me a gun I used in robberies,” said remorseful Maenzanise.
He mentioned a number of supermarkets around Harare where they robbed and among the houses includes his mother’s sister in Eastlea.
Maenzanise told H-Metro that he felt ashamed when his mother’s sister, one of his robbery victims visited him at the prison.
“Nyadzi dzinokunda rufu, ndakanyara zvikuru mainini vangu vauya kuzondiona muhusungwa ini ndakavabira mari nemidziyo yakawanda.
“Abuse of drugs removes human incarnation to the extent of belittling everyone and see yourself bigger.
“I gained entry to most of the houses through dating house maids.
“Falling in love with house maids would gave me opportunity to see valuable properties in various houses.
“Ndaive nemari zvekuti musikana wese aitondida chete plus ndaipfeka hembe dzakanaka dzinodhura zvekusarambika pataundi,” he said.
Maenzanise narrated how he kept forcefully ordering his victims to lie down when he was left with two bullets.
His dramatic escapes ended when he was caught by police detail after visiting one of his lovers.
Maenzanise claims that the 10-year prison term has removed all the addiction of drugs and is no longer that dangerous person and is now ready to begin a new life upon his release next month.
He hailed the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service officers for preparing him to meet his family and giving him hope. H-Metro