Police shoot at ‘Nust student cum taxi driver hired by gang of armed robbers’

by Andile Tshuma|  Chronicle 

A STUDENT from the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) in Bulawayo is lucky to be alive after police opened fire on his pirate taxi, hours after he had been hired by alleged armed robbers who are suspected to have used his vehicle as a getaway car.

Police pounced on Mr Riyacha Takaedza, a Journalism student who doubles as a part time taxi driver, as he was driving along Gwanda Road opposite Ascot Shopping Centre last Wednesday after he failed to comply with their orders to stop. The student did not comply as he was not aware that those stopping him were police officers as they were moving in a private car. Police then fired some shots towards his car, forcing him to stop and he was immediately arrested and taken to Bulawayo Central Police Station.

Unknown to Mr Takaedza, four men who hired him earlier in the day were armed robbers and people who spotted him with them gave police his vehicle’s number plate which was used to launch a manhunt.

…When they fired the first shot, I told myself that I was breathing my last and I had met my fate…

In a telephone interview, Mr Takaedza narrated to The Chronicle events leading to what he termed his near death experience which occurred at around 11:30PM and saw him being released by the police on Friday.

“I was intercepted by police officers in a black car who signalled for me to stop. Since it was late in the night, I did not stop, and they opened fire at us.

When they fired the first shot, I told myself that I was breathing my last and I had met my fate. I was taken to the station where I then spent a terrible night going through a series of interrogations,” said Mr Takaedza.

“I was roughed up, some officer slapped me when we were still at the spot where I was arrested at Ascot Shopping Centre robots. One officer kicked me on my behind. I received some nasty treatment. I think they were convinced I was a thug and for them to believe my story took a lot of convincing.”

Mr Takaedza said he suspected that police had been acting on a tip off, leading to them arresting him after following his car along the City-Nust route that he plies.

He said earlier, a gang of four men approached him and asked to be taken to a city hotel where they said they wanted to process a deal they did not disclose.

Mr Takaedza said he took them to their destination and waited outside, before they came back. He left them at another spot in the city centre not knowing that he was assisting people on a robbery mission.

“I got paid so I complied and took them to Standard hotel. I have no idea what they were up to when they got there. However, we had to leave in a rush to some other place. When I got my money we parted ways,” he said.

“You know in this business you just get hired to ferry people to places and I didn’t know at that point that I was helping criminals to execute a robbery.”

Mr Takaedza said he was released the following day and police told him they may summon him back again.

Although he declined to disclose the other people he had when he was arrested, a close friend who declined to be named said she was with him and two other friends when it happened.

“I was so scared. I could not take a picture of the scene. We were stopped by CIDs in a black Mercedes Benz car. They stopped us and cuffed him. I have never seen real guns like those, let alone hear shots being fired. I’m glad he stopped because we could have all been killed there,” she said.

Social media was awash on Friday and Saturday with messages circulating among Nust students that Mr Takaedza had been arrested for armed robbery.

Some of the messages claimed that he had been killed in a shootout.

“Those things damage a person’s reputation. It’s not fair. I am a well-known person around Nust circles because I have served in the Students Representative Council. I would just love to let those that know me and care about my welfare that I am alive and safe, I have gone through a really tough time over the past few days. However, it shall pass,” said Mr Takaedza.

Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Precious Simango said the matter had not yet been brought to her attention.

Nust Director of Communication and Marketing, Mr Felix Moyo, said he was out of town on business and was not aware of the matter.—@andile_tshuma | Featured image -file pic Bulawayo24 News

 

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Residents object to construction of Nust hostels

PROPERTY owners in Bulawayo’s Selbourne Park, Matsheumhlope and Riverside, have objected to the proposed construction of halls of residence for National University of Science and Technology (Nust) students in their area, saying this would cause overpopulation and a spike in the crime rate.

BY SHARON SIBINDI | Newsday

Local councillor, Silas Chigora said most property owners in the area were against the construction of hostels by Zimre Property Investment Limited and Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ ).

“The residents are against the move, saying crime will increase in the area. To make matters worse, Gwanda Road is always busy and just imagine 3 000 people crossing that road every day. At times accidents may occur,” he said.

Contacted for comment, Zimre managing director, Edson Muvingi said the hostels were not exclusively for Nust students, but would benefit students from other tertiary institutions.

“…Crime will increase in the area … Gwanda Road is always busy and just imagine 3 000 people crossing that road every day. At times accidents may occur..,” 

“We are not intending to build accommodation exclusively for Nust students. There are about eight major tertiary institutions that we are targeting. There is a serious student accommodation crisis in Bulawayo and our model provides for custom-made, study-friendly facilities,” he said.

“Currently, students are accommodated in all manner and form of accommodation at pre-emptive rentals. So many students are already renting within these specific areas. Nust and other tertiary institutions are excited about the prospects of such private investments. I may not be able to address questions relating to perceived personal gain or loss.

“We are informed that the university is also securing land for student accommodation off campus. Our investment model is long term, where we hold the structures in perpetuity and benefit from both rental and capital value appreciation or a reasonable terminal value.

“The profile of our investors also requires so, as they have long-term liability profiles. In an unstable economic environment, on campus built, operate and transfer arrangements, where the tenure for recovery of both capital and profit is fixed, can be a nightmare. We have had the benefit of our experience.”

Campus Conversations: Timeline Review(Jul 14 – Oct 6 2017)

Here is a timeline of the series of panel discussions entitled #CampusConversations that have been running from the 14th of July and  will end on the 3rd of November 2017. #CampusConversations are an initiative of Campus Moments in partnership with Sexual Rights Center Bulawayo.

View story at Medium.com

 

 

VOTER REGISTRATION CENTER OPENS AT NUST

by Andile Tshuma | @andile_tshuma

THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has set up a Biometric Voter Registration Centre at the National University of Science and Technology to make it easier for students to part take in the voter registration exercise.

The voter registration exercise commenced yesterday at the institution and is set to run for 16 days.

National University of Science and Technology Director of Communication and Marketing Mr Felix Moyo said it was noble and important for ZEC to bring the voter registration to the campus as it had a high population of youths and members of staff who were eligible to vote.

“It is such a good gesture that they have shown us and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission id very welcome here at NUST. We have been a polling station before so we are very much in support and are very patriotic to all such causes for our country,” said Mr Moyo.

“We hope that the students will make use of this opportunity and register while we still have this facility on campus,” said Mr Moyo just after completing his registration.”

Mr Moyo urged students at the university and from other institutions to make use of the facility as voting was an integral part of them having a say in their future.

“It is very important for youths to take such matters seriously as they are the custodians of the future, The youths should be engaged in such processes as they are molded into becoming tomorrow’s adults. We hope that the students will make use of this opportunity and register while we still have this facility on campus,” said Mr Moyo just after completing his registration.

Bulawayo initially had one voter registration centre however, ZEC has since set up 68 voter registration centres across the city and 2508 centres countrywide.

The voter registration Blitz is set to end on October 26.

The electoral body’s chairperson, Justice Rita Makarau, said the second phase will be held from October 29 to November 13, whilst the third phase will run from November 16 to December 1, with the last phase running from December to December 19.

She urged political parties to advise their members of the various forms of proof of residence required for the exercise.