A 17-year-old boy who made headlines after hijacking and stealing a vehicle belonging to David Livingstone Secondary School has urged people to stay away from crime as a source of livelihood.
Tawanda Chifamba, in the company of his friends from Old Pumula suburb, is reported to have ambushed and hijacked the headmaster who was having a nice time in the company of his girlfriend at a bush near United College of Education (UCE).
When this news crew spoke to the juvenile he said poverty had pushed him into crime as his family had failed to pay for his school fees leading to his dropping out from school on the fourth year at a local secondary school.
“Getting into crime was not something that I planned but I was pushed by poverty as I had dropped out of school due to non availability of money to pay for my school fees.
“Soon after dropping out of school I started spending most of my time with different friends in our neighbourhood and these people exposed me to different types of crime as I wanted money for my personal upkeep since I was not formally employed,” he said.
Chifamba said while in Pumula they started terrorising people in different areas as they wanted money to buy alcohol and drugs.
In some cases they broke into different houses and shops, where they stole different items with the intention of selling to raise funds to cater for their needs.
This group’s operations later started spreading to different highways that linked Bulawayo to different cities with the intention of pouncing on drivers whose cars would have developed mechanical faults.
“On the day in question I met my team in town and we agreed that we were going to operate along Victoria Falls road and while in operation we bumped into a car belonging to David Livingstone Secondary School and when we checked inside we saw a man who was in the company of his girlfriend as they were having a nice time out.
“When we got to the car we discovered that these people were only two and they could not over power us so we ordered them to get out of the car as we were armed with bricks and pocket knives.
“The couple complied with our demands and they immediately got out of the car. Soon after disembarking from the car we all got into the car and we sped off, leaving the love birds stranded in the middle of nowhere,” he said.
The inmate said soon after getting the keys from the headmaster they drove the car to Pumula North suburb, where they later dumped the car after they got US$400 and five cell phones that had been left in the car.
The school vehicle was later recovered by the police after it had been dumped at a bush near Methodist village.
“We dumped the car soon after taking the valuables that had been left in the car by the love birds. As a group we shared the money and the cell phones and little did we know that these gadgets were later going to sell us out leading to our arrest.
“One of the cell phones that we took was on tracker so after having sold it, the buyer started using it and the police officers used that contact to track us leading to our arrest.
“Personally I was caught after five months as I got the information earlier that my colleagues had been arrested so I managed to play hide and seek for a long time until they managed to ambush me while I was at home,” he said.
Chifamba said soon after being captured he was taken to the nearest police station, where he was kept as his matter was still being investigated for the matter to be taken to court.
Soon after completing the investigations he was taken to court, where the court officials were convinced that the juvenile had committed the crime leading to a five-year jail term conviction.
“In court the officials heard that I was carrying bricks as we ordered the complainant and his girlfriend to disembark from their car and this gave them all the power to convict me and they sentenced me to five years in prison.
“Soon after passing the judgement I was taken to Bulawayo Prison for safe keeping and so far I have been here for five months and to be honest with you life is not easy at all,” he said.
The inmate said on conviction he was sentenced for two crimes and these were carjacking and theft.
Chifamba said he was coming to prison for the second time and his family had abandoned him since he had proved that he was not prepared to change his ways of doing things.
“I have been here for the past five months and my family has never visited me and I would like to think it is because I have offended for the second time. This time I have learnt my lesson the hardest as we speak I don’t have a smallest thing like a tooth brush.
“I would like to tell my family that I am now a changed person and I am very sorry for disappointing them by committing crimes of such magnitude,” he said.
The inmate later asked this news crew to visit his relatives and apologise on his behalf as he really needs them.
“I hope young people like me are learning from my situation and my advice is people should go to school and avoid crime as it does not pay at all instead it kills your future.
“I am simply asking for another chance from my family as I now understand what they meant, when they discouraged me from crime,”he said.