By Robert Tapfumaneyi
ATLEAST 105 people were murdered all in a space of three months in Zimbabwe’s violence prone mining areas of Kadoma and other neighbouring districts.
This emerged in a report by the Zimbabwe Peace Project, a local NGO that records and documents violations of a political nature in the country.
Zimbabwe’s widespread and lucrative artisanal mining has proven to be a death sentence to many with mobs often caught up in machete wars that have turned fatal.
Likewise, ordinary citizens are also caught in the crossfire or in some instances, they are direct targets of the gangs.
Kadoma, a rich mining area that saw 24 illegal miners perish in a disused mine shaft earlier this year, is leading in murder and assaults cases, which occur almost on a daily basis.
According to ZPP, the mining syndicates operating in the area, named after their respective gang leaders, are called the Brown, Adrian, Bernard, Stan and George Chipasure gangs.
The ZPP’s October Monthly Monitoring report says statistics from Kadoma Hospital show that between August and October this year, 105 murders were reported in mining areas, with 221 cases of assaults at mines.
Reads the ZPP report, “An official at Kadoma Hospital provided the following statistics from the month of August to October; 105 murders in mining areas, 221 cases of assaults at mines, 24 murders in the community.”
ZPP said the “statistics indicate a serious problem that needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency to preserve lives.”
“The gangs are assaulting, harassing and degrading ordinary citizens and at times robbing them around Kadoma city,” says the Jestina Mukoko led group.
“These figures indicate that there is a marked increase in lawlessness in the area and innocent citizens are also suffering at the hands of mining gangs.
“This is further exacerbated by the fact that the gangs seem to be enjoying impunity as most of them continue without being arrested.”
Deputy Mayor for Kadoma Tendai Kokera confirmed that assaults and fights are reported daily in Macheke.
“Residents are usually caught in the crossfire between artisanal miners’ fights or residents are robbed by desperate miners who use machetes to assault them,” Kokera said.
She also pointed out that artisanal mining syndicates were responsible for most of the reported cases.
Rumwe Business Centre in Rimuka is reportedly the epicentre of the cases, recording the highest number of such violations.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa Wednesday condemned violence and lawlessness among artisanal miners.
He was addressing delegates attending the inaugural Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners Conference hosted by the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) in Gweru.
“We have heard through the media about the lawlessness from among artisanal miners, some invading other people’s mines while armed with machetes…we have said we don’t want this, anyone found in possession of these dangerous weapons should be arrested and jailed,” said President Mnangagwa.