Zanu (PF) Youths arrested for extorting money from Touts

Four Zanu (PF) youths who have been harassing and demanding protection fees from touts at long distance pick up points in Bulawayo have been arrested.

The youths were arrested on Wednesday and appeared in court on Friday facing kidnap and extortion charges.

Hard life Ndlovu, Ngobani Mlilo, Mthunzi Mabhena and Obert Musendo were not formally charged with kidnapping and extortion when they briefly appeared before Bulawayo provincial magistrate Gideon Ruvetsa.

The youths are accused of extorting money from touts who operate outside Mac’s Garage along the Masvingo / Bulawayo and the Bulawayo / Harare highways.

The state is alleging that on Wednesday this week the accused ordered the touts into a blue commuter omnibus which they were driving.

They drove to Davies Hall, which houses the Zanu (PF) Bulawayo provincial headquarters where they allegedly demanded that the complainants and their counterparts pay $50 per route daily.

They allegedly told the rank marshals that the money paid would be used to fuel Zanu (PF) Vehicles which were parked at Davies Hall. They allegedly told the complainants that if they failed to pay the amount, they would not operate at the pickup points. The complainants then requested the quartet to revise the figure downwards and after some discussions, it was agreed that the complainants would pay $12 for each route.

After the agreement, the court heard that the quartet told the complainants to call them whenever police wanted to arrest them so that they could stop the arrest.

They were released at 3pm after the quartet had told them that they would come to collect the money later in the day.

At 3.45pm, the quartet went to Mac’s Garage to collect the money and detectives who had been tipped –off about the incident pounced and arrested them before they had received the money.

The youths were remanded in custody to Monday for trial.

Zanu (PF) youths have been harassing and threatening touts and rank marshals in the city. Several touts were last week injured when the Zanu (PF) youths attacked the touts along the Harare/Bulawayo long distance pick up point.

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