Zim intensifies fight against crime . . . over 2 000 robbers convicted in 2023

MORE than 2 200 robbers were convicted by the courts last year alone while more than 700 more are still undergoing trial as the National Prosecuting Authority continues to prioritise the timeous and efficient prosecution of robbery cases.

According to the end-of-year preliminary statistics from the NPA, 2 239 robbers were convicted, 721 for armed robbery and 1 518 for basic robbery with 717 cases still pending as at the end of the year. Robbery is when force or the threat of force is used to steal, with the distinction between armed robbery and basic robbery lying in the presence of a weapon; basic robbery can be based on the threat of force or harm without the use of a weapon.

Robbers are overwhelmingly men, with only two females having been convicted of armed robbery and 17 of basic robbery.

Harare and Bulawayo Metropolitan provinces topped the list of convictions with 412 male armed robbers and 2 females having been convicted in Harare while 189 males were convicted in Bulawayo.

Matabeleland North had the least number of convictions with only two having been found guilty of armed robbery while Mashonaland Central came second with just four convictions.

Among the armed robbers found guilty last year was Tinashe Marandure Pfeveni, the infamous Masvingo robber, who received a 45-year sentence after 10 years of his consecutive sentences were suspended.

A convicted three times rapist, three times robber and burglar from Beitbridge, Boniface Moyo (28) from Gukunze was again last year sentenced to 57 years after 17 years of his combined 74 years of sentences suspended on condition of future good behaviour after his eventual release.

The three men who faked a robbery of US$2,7 million from ZB Bank while it was being delivered to branches in 2021, were also jailed for an effective eight years each by Harare regional magistrate Mr Clever Tsikwa.

In an interview, NPA spokesperson Ms Angeline Munyeriwa said they were aiming to clear all pending robbery cases by the end of the first quarter of this year.

“The NPA continues to ensure that all cases brought to the authority are timeously, effectively and efficiently prosecuted. The Prosecutor General (Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo) has continuously implored prosecutors to oppose bail in all robbery cases and ensure that the cases are finalised within the shortest possible time.”

The NPA was on a drive to ensure that the public stayed informed on any developments in any case brought before the authority.

“In light of the foregoing, the NPA has adopted new strategies and continues to strengthen existing mechanisms in reducing robbery incidents thus making our societies safe and secure environments for all. The NPA is working on improving synergies amongst the prosecutors and the investigating agencies to ensure thorough investigation of robbery cases through gathering of adequate evidence that is admissible in court.”

Members of the public have welcomed efforts being made by the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the NPA in fighting robbery cases.

“This is a strong message to would-be robbers, we really appreciate the work that is being done by the Zimbabwe Republic Police and National Prosecuting Authority,” Mr Evidence Chinhara of Mabvuku said.

For Ms Alice Chaitwa, people are increasingly feeling unsafe as the number of armed robbers continues to increase.

“Zimbabwe is a peaceful nation, armed robbers should face the full wrath of the law and deterrent penalties are required,” Ms Chaitwa said.

While the NPA has made progress in prosecuting these crimes, for Mr Fidelis Madondo much more needs to be done to protect citizens. “This is commendable. However, I encourage the National Prosecuting Authority to fasttrack the process. I feel like it is taking long to convict these robbers,” he said.

Herald

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