The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) is looking for a 19-year-old learner at St Matthias Tsonzo High School who allegedly disappeared in December 2021 following his release from police custody.
Livingstone Sunhwa (19) had been arrested on allegations of breaking into the school’s tuckshop and stealing groceries.
The stolen groceries were allegedly found tucked under his bed.
Police say they released Livingstone so that he could sit for his final English examinations.
But now the parties involved in the teenager’s disappearance are trading accusations.
The school tuckshop was broken into and authorities decided to bring in the police to investigate.
During investigations, it is said the police discovered shoeprints and traced them to the boys’ dormitory and further investigations revealed that Livingstone was the culprit.
Since he was a major at law, Livingstone was taken to Mutasa Police Station for further interrogations.
The headmaster, one Sambona, and two teachers, reportedly made a follow-up and negotiated with the police for Livingstone’s release.
However, the teenager allegedly disappeared the following morning, 6 December.
Six months have passed with no information about the boy’s whereabouts which has prompted his mother, Selina Tadya, to demand answers from the school authorities.
Tadya, who is originally from Dangamvura, Mutare, and is currently based in South Africa, said:
I am traumatised. Even if he had committed an offence, I was supposed to be informed of the action taken against him.
The police arrested my son and they wanted him to disclose his accomplices, which he did not do.
I pleaded with the headmaster to negotiate for his release so that he could sit for his exams while I work on the modalities to return to Zimbabwe and settle the matter with the school. I was ready to pay for the stolen goods.
The headmaster picked my son from police custody on December 5 on the understanding that he would call me so that I talk to him, but he did not do that.
He contacted me the following day, saying my son was missing and had not turned up for the English examination.
This forced me to make haste arrangements to travel to Zimbabwe and I went to the school on December 12 and spent a week looking for him in futility.
I then proceeded to Mutasa Police Station to lodge a missing person report.
… I suspect the school authorities had a hand in his disappearance. Why is the headmaster denying that my son was assaulted by the police?
Why didn’t he take action when he went missing? He was the last person to be seen with my son and should account for his whereabouts. I am appealing for justice.
Anglican Diocese of Manicaland registrar and spokesperson, Ashel Mutungura said:
We are aware of the matter. On the morning of December 5, the tuck-shop assistant noticed that there was a break-in and some goods had been stolen.
The incident occurred on the heels of another break-in at the church tuck-shop where Food and Nutrition ingredients and utensils for practical exams had been stolen.
As a result, police were invited and during investigations, they detected some shoeprints leading to the boys’ hostel.
It was then discovered that Livingstone was the culprit after being found in possession of the stolen items.
He was 19 and being a major at law, the police took him for further interrogations after he refused to disclose his accomplices.
The next day, the headmaster and two teachers made a follow-up to the police to negotiate for his release so that he could sit for his English exam the following day.
He was taken back to the school and was handed over to the boarding master around 6 pm.
He actually slept in the hostel and left around 5 am on the pretext of preparing for the exams. It was then discovered that he had gone missing.
The teachers and ancillary staff formed a search party but failed to locate him.
We had to report the matter to the police since it involved a missing person.
We have done everything humanly possible to locate Livingstone. Everyone wants to know where he is.
ZRP spokesperson in Manicaland Province, Inspector Nixon Muzondo, said Livingstone is on the police’s wanted list. He said:
This matter was handled professionally by the police. The suspect was 19 and is treated as an adult.
He committed a crime that was reported by the school authorities to the police.
The stolen goods were recovered from underneath his bed. This is the evidence which linked him to the commission of the crime.
We released him at the behest of the school authorities for the purposes of writing the examination, but he disappeared to an unknown place.
He is on the police’s wanted list. We are treating him as a wanted person and a missing person.