Sunday, 11 October 2020

LOVE RIVAL MURDER : SHE DID IT BEFORE

 

REBECCA Masawi (68), a Harare woman who made headlines a fortnight ago after she was arraigned for allegedly kidnapping and murdering her love rival. It has emerged she was convicted of similar offences in the 1990s following the kidnap and murder of Marceline Dzumbira.

Masawi is accused of paying her accomplices Zvikomborero Zvikoni (25), Liberty Guruve (31) and Tendai Dhai (32), to attack two women whom she suspected of having an affair with her lover.

Investigations by The Sunday Mail have shown that this is not the first time Masawi has resorted to crime to deal with her rivals.

In 1994, Masawi and her brother Kenneth were convicted of the murder of a Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe supervisor Marceline Dzumbira whom Masawi suspected of having an affair with her husband Mr Cephas Chiparura.

Dzumbira was kidnapped in Harare’s Bluff Hill area on December 15, 1993, while on her way to work by Kenneth and three other accomplices paid by Masawi.

The victim, who was in the company of her mother and her 15-year-old daughter when she was kidnapped, was never seen again.

It was alleged that Rebecca, after making several threats to Dzumbira, supplied her brother Kenneth with an Isuzu truck and instructed him to kidnap her.

Armed with a pistol, Kenneth, who was in the company of three other men, allegedly waited for Dzumbira just outside her gate and bundled her into the truck.

The Herald of December 22, 1993, reported that Dzumbira was abducted “mafia-style” while waiting to board a bus to work.

“One of the car’s doors was quickly opened and the two men pulled the woman inside, slammed the door and drove off at high speed,” it was reported.  Dzumbira was eventually presumed dead by both the High Court and the Supreme Court.

Although her body was never found, High Court Judge Justice David Bartlett said there was sufficient circumstantial evidence for a murder charge.

Sitting with assessors Mr Charles Hobley and Charles Madega, Justice Bartlett convicted Masawi and Kenneth after finding that they had lied throughout the case.  The duo was subsequently sentenced to death on May 27, 1994.

In handing down the sentence, the court found that there had been a kidnap and murder of the missing person, which clearly showed an actual intent to kill.

Despite the conviction, Masawi served less than four years in jail before she was released on amnesty. Her luck came after her charge was reduced to that of kidnapping by the Supreme Court in 1996.

The court altered her sentence to a 15-year jail term while her brother Kenneth was acquitted of all the charges.

Masawi then benefited from the 1996 General Amnesty granted to prisoners serving for non-specified offences.

She was released on August 25, 2000, after a third of her sentence was rescinded on good behaviour. 

Commenting on her release, the then Zimbabwe Prison Services spokesperson, Chief Prison Officer Frankie Meki said Masawi benefited from the amnesty because her offence of kidnapping was not a specified crime in terms of Clemency Order No 1 of 1996.

The Supreme Court in its ruling, although accepting that she had been involved in kidnapping Dzumbira, found that there was no evidence linking her with the actual act of the killing. 

The Supreme Court concluded that there was no proof beyond reasonable doubt as to how Dzumbira met her death.

However, in Masawi’s current charges, the allegations are that on July 31 at around 11pm, the accused’s accomplices approached the complainant Diana Dzuranyama at number 312 Ushewokunze where they purported to be police officers to lure her to open the door.

One of the accused persons was putting on ZRP brown combat boots which he showed to the complainant as proof that they were police officers. They grabbed her and force-marched her into their get-away motor vehicle while some of them got into her house and stole a 3kg gas tank, eight litres of cooking oil and some personal documents.

They proceeded to number 344 Ushewokunze where they also purported to be police officers to lure the now deceased Beatrice Makiwa into opening the door.

They grabbed and dragged her into their motor vehicle while others went into her house and stole cash amounting to US$600 and other valuables.

The accused covered the now deceased and the complainant’s faces with scarfs and drove to a secluded bushy area near Lake Chivero. On arrival, the accused assaulted the victims with iron bars all over their bodies and dumped them.

The two victims were later rescued by passers-by who saw them and promptly called the police.

The police took the two women to the Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals before they were referred to Chitungwiza General Hospital where one of them was operated on and discharged on August 3, 2020.  

Beatrice passed on due to the injuries sustained during the brutal attack. More than a month later, things unravelled for the gang when the police discovered that Zvikoni was using the dead woman’s mobile phone.

He was arrested on September 26. After questioning, he implicated Guruve and Dhai in the crime and said they had been hired by Masawi.

She was not asked to plead was remanded in custody to October 13. Sunday Mail

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