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Mliswa urges ban in the carrying of machetes

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By Anna Chibamu

INDEPENDENT MP for Norton, Temba Mliswa says government must ban the carrying of machetes which have been used by illegal mining gangs to hack down each other and other citizens with nothing to do with the wars.

Mliswa was speaking in parliament on Thursday.

The outspoken legislator condemned government for its propensity to issue Statutory Instruments one after the other on currency matters while ignoring loss of life.

According to a recent report by the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), atleast 105 people died in a space of two months as a result of turf wars among notorious gangs within the country’s mining sites.

Machete wielding gangsters are also reportedly maiming people and confiscating gold from fellow gold panners.

Mliswa said in the house that President Emmerson Mnangagwa had ordered a ban on the carrying of machetes, but no action has been taken to date by the relevant authorities.

“His Excellency has been very clear that people are being killed and there is no action being taken,” Mliswa said.

“Government is quick to issue Statutory Instruments (SIs) on monetary issues but when life is being lost, nothing is done. Why do we not ban that?

“His Excellency has been very clear that these machetes must be banned and there must be a statutory instrument that empowers the police to arrest anybody with a machete until a certain time these issues are out because people are dying in Norton and everywhere in the country.

“They come and they disrupt business. They go into clubs and so forth and they are known as people from Shurugwi. I am from Shurugwi and the Shurugwi people do not behave like that.

“I would also like to clear that they are called ‘Mashurugwi’ because there was a lot of illegal mining in Shurugwi.”

He also accused some unnamed government officials for sponsoring the killings through sending the gangs to seize gold from small scale miners or panners.

He added, “I would like to protect the people that I lead as a village head that the Shurugwi people are great people. They do not do machetes.

“Can the government move in quickly to also come up with a Statutory Instrument to also block that because some of the leaders in Zanu PF are the ones doing illegal smuggling of gold and that is the reason why the Government is not keen on it, so why are people dying?”

Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe Thursday threatened arrest on politicians sponsoring machete gangs.

This comes as police have arrested over 5 000 people in eight months for offences ranging from illegal mining to possession of dangerous weapons.

Addressing a media conference in Harare, Kazembe said the issue of machete gangs was now worrisome and a serious security threat.

Under an operation dubbed “No To Anarchy by Artisanal Miners” police have since March this year, arrested 3 471 people for possessing dangerous weapons, among them, machetes.