Two suspected touts operating at Mbudzi roundabout in Harare have been nabbed for allegedly punching and causing the death of a 25-year-old pregnant woman last week as she tried to board a Beitbridge-bound bus.
Lyn Chidawaya allegedly died with her unborn baby after she was punched in the stomach by the touts.
National police spokesperson Chief Superitendent Paul Nyathi confirmed the incident and said two suspects, Chamunorwa Gumboshumba (29) and Shame Ruzha (37), had been arrested in connection with the case.
“We want to send a very clear message to transport operators that they should stop employing these touts. We have engaged them before, but it seems they are not taking heed of our warnings,” he said.
According to her sister, Liona Misi, who was with her at the time, the two arrived at Mbudzi around 8pm on May 23 intending to get transport to Beitbridge.
“A group of about five to seven touts started harassing us as we tried to board a bus. They punched and assaulted us and out of fear of further harm, we boarded their bus,” she said.
Lyn is believed to have sustained internal injuries and was hospitalised, but died two days later.
After the incident, ActionAid Zimbabwe, where Lyn’s husband Tinashe Chidawaya works, partnered with Safe Cities Campaign Network of Zimbabwe, and have embarked on a joint campaign to end violence against women in public spaces.
The couple had recently celebrated their wedding on March 28 this year.
“It is heartbreaking to note that we have lost two precious lives due to unsafe public spaces at a time Zimbabwe and the rest of the world are commemorating the Safe Cities Campaign one year on,” Action Aid country director Ronnie Murungu said.
“In solidarity with our colleague, we unconditionally demand justice to be served and be an example to those who cause violence against women in the public spaces.”
The Safe Cities Campaign is a global initiative which aims to fight gender-based violence in the public.
A baseline survey commissioned in 2013 by the Women’s Affairs ministry and Gender Links noted that violence in public spaces was on the increase.