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Herald left in the Cold at Karimanzira burial

By Staff Reporter

A NEWS crew from the State-run Herald newspaper was chased through a maize field by irate relatives of the late legendary robber Norman Karimanzira after turning up uninvited at his burial, the newspaper said.

Karimanzira's relatives appear to have been incensed by the newspaper's reports on Karimanzira, including a recent interview which revealed he was HIV positive and wheelchair-bound.

Even a police escort unusually afforded to the Herald news crew failed to prevent the confiscation of a photographic film, the paper said.

Karimanzira, who died on Tuesday last week at Chikurubi Maximum Prison, was buried in front of hundreds of mourners in Nyadire communal lands. Buses ferried people from Harare to give him a "great man's send off."

Karimanzira, a notorious armed robber, shot to national prominence when he stole a truck belonging to the Cold Storage Company loaded with meat, earning him the nickname 'Cold Storage'. Neither the truck, nor the meat was ever recovered.

He was faced up to 40 cases ranging from armed robbery to fire arms offences at the time of his death.

Before the Herald crew was sent packing, one of its reporters had a chance to record a sermon by a pastor who likened the late robber to one of the two thieves crucified together with Jesus Christ.

The pastor is quoted as saying: "Jesus forgave one of the thieves in his dying moments, when he acknowledged that He was indeed the Son of God. The thief cried: ‘Remember me Lord in the kingdom’ in repentance — something that Norman managed to do before his death.

"He had given his life to Jesus)."

The Herald says its crew "sensed the hostile environment around" and drove to Mutoko Police Station, about 20km away, to "seek police assistance in covering the event".

"By the time we got back to the homestead, the hostility and tension were now very high," a reporter wrote.

One of Karimanzira's relatives is then quoted as saying: "We don’t care who you are. Norman angaari wenyu muri kuHarare kuChikurubi. Kuno ndisu tinotonga (Norman belonged to you in Chikurubi, not here. We are in charge.) Please get away!"

The reporter says at that stage, their escort detectives led them to their vehicle, but not before three men and a woman — identified as Karimanzira's sister — blocked their way, demanding the film.

"Our photographer, sensing danger, gave in to the demands of the relatives and handed over the film for the other camera but luckily he had taken a couple of shots with a digital camera," the reporter added.

"But the mourners came for me and I was forced to bolt into a maize field while the driver and the photographer managed to break free, but were pursued by one of Karimanzira’s sons and a handful of relatives.

"We linked up, jumped into our vehicle under the escort of two detectives and we drove off at high speed, towards Mutoko Centre where we dropped the detectives before heading for Harare."

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