By Leopold Munhende
OUTSPOKEN Norton legislator Temba Mliswa has warned marauding machete wielding gangs that have caused massive terror through murder, rape, robbery and other forms of anarchy in parts of the country’s mining areas could work against President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his Zanu PF’s ambitions to remain the country’s governing authority.
He was speaking at the Information for Development (IDT) panel discussion forum at Sapes Trust in Harare on: “The Machete Militia: Origins, Responses and Implications.”
Mliswa said the gangs have morphed into a strong, rogue unit which enjoyed tacit army backing.
“These criminals are now working with law enforcement agents but the truth of the matter which you can take is that these guys will take them (Mnangagwa and Zanu PF) out of power, remember this day,” said Mliswa.
“They have gone too far, they (senior Zanu PF politicians) feel that they are helping them but they are doing more harm to the people of Zimbabwe.
“The people of Zimbabwe have a tendency to keep quiet, they have the patience to keep quiet for five years, when they vote and that is when they speak.”
Mliswa also questioned the government’s sincerity in dealing with the menace and implicated senior officials in Zanu PF, army and police for bankrolling the terror gangs.
“He whoever controls gold, controls politics; the military is involved, the police is involved. Operation Restore Legacy happened and after that happened have we gone back to the institutions we were working with or we now have a situation where we have one institution in charge and that institution is the military at the end of the day?
“The police itself is weak because (Operation) Restore Legacy exposed the police, Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO). We say that you are weak. We (Zimbabwe Defence Forces) are the people that have brought this new dispensation (and) as a result, we are in control’.
He said it was time that senior politicians including ministers and the State security agents became honest.
“It is about time we are honest, but if the army then becomes so involved in people being killed, in situations where the law enforcement agents who arrest like the police cannot do their job then we need to ask, who is control?”
A police operation to flush out the Mashurugwi has netted hundreds of suspected members.
However, allegations continue swirling that senior Zanu PF politicians, army generals and the police are protecting the armed gangs.
The MDC has also pointed fingers at Mnangagwa, Minister of State Security Owen Ncube, Minister of Justice Ziyambi Ziyambi and Local Government Minister July Moyo and Zanu PF MP Dexter Nduna as being behind the terror groups.
“I have listened to our colleagues in Zanu PF at a high level, nobody; none of them has condemned the crisis we have in the country of organised, commanded, initiated from the top violence, which is challenging to the security of persons,” Chamisa said last month.
“If we don’t stand up together as a people to defend ourselves, we will go the Rwanda way. We have soft genocide taking place,” he said referring to the 1994 Rwandan genocide in which over 800 00 people were massacred.
The IDT public forum was also attended by MDC Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya and Charles Masunungure from the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) who were part of the panellists.