On a warm Thursday morning a house helper from Hogerty Hill decided to walk to Hatcliffe to send some money to her relatives in the rural areas.
Walking past the new service station and about to pass N Richards she was approached by a Toyota vehicle posing as a mushika-shika (pirate taxi) asking where she was going and offering to give her a lift in true mushika-shika fashion.
She declined the offer and carried on walking. To her surprise the car she thought she had left behind now came and parked in front of her.
Two gentlemen dressed in white shirts and black pants then began to harass the young lady insisting she get into the car. This is all happening mid-morning, 10am in close proximity to N Richards shops on a public road.
The young lady kept resisting but now was being man-handled by the two gentlemen who were now forcibly shoving her into the car.
The one man then grabbed her phone and purse and threw it onto the drivers’ seat. With half her body in the car she notices that there are three women in the back all wearing white garments akin to those of apostolic followers.
They too are now grasping at the poor lady and pulling her into the car. Her mouth is gagged at this stage and she is fighting for dear life and unable to scream. Fortunately, a police officer in uniform notices the commotion from N Richards shops and begins to run towards them.
On arriving at the scene he demands the men release her and he is then joined by a further two police officers in civilian clothes.
On questioning the lady what is going on she notifies them she does not know these men and they were forcing her into the car.
The police officers retrieve her phone and purse and advise her to go straight home.
They are said to have taken these men and their passengers to the police station. A stroke of luck for the young lady, perhaps.
Snatch and Grabs
The Philadelphia, Greystone Park, Helensvale and Hatcliffe areas have over the past years had spates of snatch and grab incidents.
Sad to say the gravity of these is getting worse as before the focus was on handbags, groceries and the shift seems to be moving towards people now.
On September 3, 2023, a report circulated on WhatsApp that a Toyota Passo, registration AGG6010 had been accosted along with two children, a boy 1,5 years old and a girl three years old. Once again an incident that happened in broad daylight along Rotten Row.
Fortunately, enough the children were found but the car was yet to be found on the same day. The levels of criminality are escalating to unprecedented levels.
Serenity and Peace
I am pretty sure much of the aged people in Harare will remember the days it was safe for kids to walk up streets at night. First of all, there was adequate lighting on streets and second to that it took a community to raise a child.
Whether in Glen View or in Borrowdale the streets were somewhat safe regardless of age and gender. Incidents of snatch and grab or any forms of attacks were rare and if so were very targeted to settle a dispute of some sort.
The serenity and peace in neighbourhoods regardless of location is very possible but this only happens when the community is concerned and part-taking in the welfare of its surroundings.
Back to the Helper
A few questions pop up when looking at this incident. Has the community become so detached that a woman being accosted in broad daylight does not spur any form of rage and justice to those accosting her.
What is to be said of the moral fibre growing within our communities. Second to that, all praise and thanks to the police officers who showed up but why was the lady and the men not taken to the police station together.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police itself does suffer resource shortages and for what they can do the community is ever grateful but procedures must be followed.
Were these men really taken to the police station or shall another woman fall victim to such criminality and this time not be saved.
Lately and sadly, it has become unsafe for women to walk the streets of Harare in broad daylight.
Till such a point when the moral and ethical fibre of our country returns to respectable and appreciated levels it is advisable for women to walk accompanied and preferably by a man.
Sad to say there are stories of men themselves being accosted whilst looking for transport and being robbed at gun or knife point in these so called mushika-shika vehicles.
In the meantime, it is much safer for anyone and everyone to walk accompanied and never individually.
Stay safe on these streets and let us all be brothers and sisters even to strangers.
Fungai F Makoni-Muchemwa/Security Consultant