Ex-police commissioner and wife held for kidnapping 2-month-old baby

Child in car ... Mekia Tanyanyiwa was arrested after arriving at a police station in Gweru with a kidnapped child in his car
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GWERU – A former police commissioner and his wife have been arrested after a two-month-old baby was kidnapped at Gweru Provincial Hospital.

Mekia Tanyanyiwa, who headed the Police Support Unit until his removal in 2018, was arrested on Saturday after it was established that he owns the Toyota Aqua used in the kidnapping.

His 34-year-old wife Sakhile Tanyanyiwa, nee Tshuma, later turned herself in to Gweru police.

The baby has since been found and reunited with its mother.

Police were called to the Southview neighbourhood of Gweru on March 8 after Loreen Hungwe, a 31-year-old mother, reported that her baby had been stolen by three women driving in a white Toyota Aqua.

Minutes earlier, Hungwe had gone to Gweru Provincial Hospital intending to obtain a birth record for her child who was born at the facility on December 20, 2023.

At the hospital’s main entrance, she said she was met by Sakhile, who enquired why she was there and then gave her directions to the maternity ward.

As she exited the hospital to look for transport, Sakhile allegedly drove up to her and offered her a lift into the city centre.

Hungwe told police that there were two other women in the vehicle, including one who was seated in the front passenger seat and appeared to be carrying a newborn baby.

Sakhile allegedly advised Hungwe that she would first drop off her sister in Southview, and then take her to town.

The vehicle parked at an address in Southview and Sakhile, it is alleged, then requested Hungwe to exit the vehicle and help the woman in the front seat to get off the vehicle with her baby. Hungwe laid her child on the back seat and exited the vehicle, and then watched in horror as Sakhile allegedly sped off with her child.

Hearing Hungwe’s screams, an alert passerby managed to take down the fleeing vehicle’s number plate – AFW 6208 – which led police to Mekia Tanyanyiwa, who acquired the vehicle in July 2023.

Detectives called Tanyanyiwa, 59, who indicated that he was on his way to Gweru with the kidnapped child, according to an internal police memo seen by ZimLive.

Tanyanyiwa, according to police, said he had given his wife the vehicle and had been surprised when a unknown female drove it to his Harare home, parked, and then fled into the darkness.

When investigators called his wife, she arrived at Gweru Police Station claiming she was coming from Masvingo. She said she had left the vehicle with her friend identified as Soneni Nyoni, and was unaware of the kidnapping.

The baby was reunited with its mother after being examined at Gweru Provincial Hospital and found to be in good health.

Tanyanyiwa and his wife are due to appear at the Gweru Magistrates Court on Monday.

Tanyanyiwa worked as security chief for the Citizens Coalition for Change after leaving the police. – ZimLive