A 36-year- old student with Africa University, pursuing a peace, leadership and governance master’s degree programme, was yesterday sentenced to 22 years in jail for armed robbery.
Garikai Dikito of Harare was convicted on three counts of armed robbery and a count of possessing an unlicensed firearm.
Dikito was a final-year master’s degree student when he committed the offences between September and October 2009.
He targeted supermarkets.
He had been in remand prison for the past two years.
In passing sentence, regional magistrate Peter
Kumbawa said: “The offence of armed robbery is a bad one and armed robbery with a loaded firearm in a supermarket with several people is bad enough.
“It cannot be ruled out that accused (Dikito) was prepared to kill or injure someone in the process. It is only fortuitous that people were sensible and responded to his demands promptly and with caution.”
Kumbawa suspended seven years of the jail term leaving Dikito with an effective 15 years behind bars.
Although, Dikito pleaded for leniency, Kumbawa said he deserved no mercy because he had pre-planned the robberies.
The court heard that Dikito secured a firearm from South Africa and targeted supermarkets.
Dikito’s criminal ventures started in July 2009, when he robbed TM Supermarket along Orr Street in Harare.
He pounced when the staff was about to close the shop.
On the day in question, Dikito wore a balaclava and produced a pistol before ordering Jennifer Chengeta, a till operator, to surrender takings amounting to $2 385.
Dikito again pounced on OK Supermarket in Queensdale, Harare, where he demanded cash from Stephen Kambarami, but later sneaked out of the shop empty-handed.
On the same day, he used the same modus operandi at OK Supermarket’s Robson Manyika Avenue branch where he robbed till operators Blessing Maravanyika and Yamurai Kambozo of $100.
A month later, Dikito targeted Centre Aper Investment in Harare, and robbed Nomathemba Khumalo of $112.
During the robbery, he was identified by security guards who tracked him to the Mabelreign commuter omnibus rank and arrested him before he boarded a bus.
Dikito was severely assaulted by the mob before he was surrendered to the police.
Norman Tsarwe appeared for the state.