Zimbabwe Minister's husband brutally attacked


They got away with her official Toyota Prado (without registration number plates), seven cellphones and USd156 , after bashing her husband, maid, a family friend and a police officer guarding the residence.

The six who were all armed with rifles and pistols — severely assaulted the police guard and the minister’s husband, Dr Christopher Mushonga, leaving them for dead.

Both sustained serious head injuries and are receiving treatment at private hospitals in the city.

Some of the domestic staff at the house and Minister Misihairabwi-Mushonga’s friend, Michelle Hakata, were also severely assaulted during the robbery ordeal, which lasted for about two hours.

The robbery occurred in the absence of the minister, who is out of the country on Government business.

According to a maid at the house, Maria Mandizha, the robbers pounced shortly after she had given Dr Mushonga his medication and locked the doors of the main house.

She then headed towards her bedroom in the cottage on the grounds — about 20 metres in front of the main residence.

She passed through the room in the same cottage where the gardener resides, to inform him that Dr Mushonga had been looking for him, before proceeding to her room.

Just before she entered the room, she felt her jersey being pulled by an unknown man in the darkness.

"I screamed, fearing that the man wanted to enter my room. I called for help, but no one responded.

"I then called to the policeman at the main gate to help me, but I hadn’t realised that he had already been attacked," said Ms Mandizha.

The police officer was lying in a pool of blood after being bludgeoned by the robbers.

She said she tried to wrestle with the man, but he pointed a gun at her, ordering her not to scream or resist.

Alarmed by the commotion, the gardener, who was only identified as Trust, rushed out of his room to investigate, but the other robbers confronted him and tied his hands before locking him inside his bedroom.

In the cottage were two other people who had their hands tied and were locked in the same room with Trust.

"They force-marched me to the right side of the front of the house (near the security wall) under a tree where I saw the policeman lying down and bleeding.

"He was handcuffed and his legs were tied. There was blood everywhere. He looked unconscious and the robbers assaulted us under the tree," said Mandizha.

All the time, the two were being assaulted with a rifle butt, kicked and punched all over their bodies.

A few minutes later, Mandizha was force-marched to the main house and ordered to show the gang where Dr Mushonga was sleeping.

She, accompanied by some of the robbers, went upstairs and found out that Dr Mushonga had not yet slept. His door was unlocked.

Some of the robbers remained downstairs and Mandizha said they were so daring and relaxed that they started playing music in the lounge and at the same time helping themselves with food in the refrigerator.

Dr Mushonga had a gun pointed at him by one of the armed robbers who threatened to shoot him if he did not comply with their orders. They demanded that he hand over cash and lead them to the safe.

"Munoda kundiuraireiko? Handina kana mari (Why do you want to kill me? I don’t have any cash)," Mandizha said these were the words that Dr Mushonga uttered to the robbers. One of the robbers struck him with the butt of the gun on the head as he lay on the bed while the others punched and kicked him demanding cash.

A few minutes later, Mandizha was force-marched to a room adjacent to the main bedroom where Hakata was sleeping.

One of the robbers manhandled Hakata before pulling her dreadlocks, force-marching her to the main bedroom.

The two women were then ordered to lie face-down before they were assaulted by the robbers, all over their bodies.

Said Hakata: "They looked like trained people. Before I entered the main bedroom, I saw Dr Mushonga lying on the bed and bleeding."

She said after being assaulted and knowing the situation in which the minister’s husband was, she decided to surrender all the cash she had. "I told them that I was going to give them the money. They force-marched me to my bedroom where they got USd150 and my cellphone.

"Some of them were even drunk and I am glad that they did not rape me," she said.

While all this was happening, some of the gang members were busy ransacking the house and the wardrobe.

The other robbers got into the ceiling, thinking that there was cash hidden in there, but they failed to find anything.

They even went back to Hakata’s room where they searched all over, but they could not locate anything.

According to Mandizha, the robbers later demanded car keys after they had stolen seven cellphones, jewellery and a laptop.

"Everything was being pointed at me. They even said they have been monitoring me and that they knew that I knew everything at the house," she said.

She said she later surrendered three car keys, for the Toyota Prado, Mitsubishi Triton twincab and a Toyota Corolla.

The robbers failed to switch on the engines of the other two vehicles, but managed to start the Prado, which they drove away in.

The two women, who had been locked together with Dr Mushonga in his bedroom, managed to break the door to the bedroom before police arrived at around 5am.

The policeman who had been assaulted and had his legs tied was still handcuffed and lying down in the yard, bleeding.

Hakata said she phoned Marlborough police a few minutes after the door was locked, but was informed that they had no transport to attend to the scene. They also allegedly told her that they were walking to the scene.

She said the ambulance people declined to assist arguing that they could not attend to an armed robbery scene without police presence.

When The Herald visited the house, there was a lot of blood at the guardroom, which is at the main gate while goods, clothes and blankets were scattered all over in the house.

In Dr Mushonga’s bedroom, the blankets and mattress were bloodstained, while almost everything else including property, clothes books, valuables and other goods which were in the wardrobe had been strewn all over.

More police officers have since been deployed at the Minister’s home to ensure tight security.

People at the house were Friday not sure how the robbers got into the yard before attacking the policeman who was manning the premises.

There is an electric fence on top of the security wall and it was switched on and the gate was also locked.

Police have since launched a serious manhunt for the suspects.

Hakata said the robbers had two extra pistols.

"They looked as if they were prepared to fight or exchange fire with anyone who would have come in their way," she said.

Police Friday said 45 armed robbers were released from remand prison on bail two weeks ago and they were believed to be behind the spat of armed robberies in the city.

They were allegedly targeting policemen and some individuals holding large amounts of cash.

Chief police spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said investigations were still in progress.

Snr Asst Comm Bvudzijena said this was the second incident in which a police officer was attacked while on duty in less than three weeks.

Early this month, five armed robbers raided two policemen on guard at the main gate to Mbare Police Station in Harare and robbed them of an FN assault rifle.

He warned criminals attacking or using force against policemen carrying out their lawful duties that the force would not hesitate to use necessary force to repel such attacks.

"We have 45 robbers or accused persons facing armed robbery charges who were released in the past two weeks on bail and we suspect that these are the criminals targeting police officers," said Snr Asst Comm Bvudzijena