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9 months' jail for Zimbabwe cop who stole fellow officer's bike

Lucky Mwadziwana was spotted riding it 100km away from police station where he'd stolen it...

A police officer in Zimbabwe has been sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment – for stealing a fellow officer’s bike.

All Africa reports that Constable Lucky Mwadziwana, aged 31, stole the new mountain bike, owned by Constable Talkmore Mucheka, in September.

Prosecutor Innocent Mudzingwa said that the theft took place as officers at a police station in Zaka were busy preparing for their annual inspection, and despite a search it was not found.

Mwadziwana was later spotted with the bike some 100 kilometres from Zaka by another officer, Constable Robin Mupotsa, who challenged him but he rode off. The bike, worth $300, has not been seen since.

Constable Muposta informed senior officers about the encounter, and Mwadziwana was subsequently arrested.

Magistrate Oliver Mudzongachiso imposed a 12-month jail term on Mwadziwana, with the final three months suspended provided he commits no further offence involving theft in the next five years.

He added that the level of the sentence was intended to act as a deterrent given that Mwadziwana had failed in his duties as a law enforcement officer.

Conditions in jails in Zimbabwe, which has suffered a prolonged economic crisis in recent years, have been condemned by human rights organisations such as Amnesty International.

Issues highlighted include overcrowded cells, lack of access to toilet facilities, inadequate bedding and failure to provide sufficient food to prisoners.

In Zimbabwe as in much of Africa, the bike is an essential form of daily transportation, although the country's continuing economic problems prices it out of the reach of many.

Simon has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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