By William Milasi
Escalating turf wars caused by machetes in Midlands which have resulted in numerous deaths and life threatening injuries are to be blamed on Zanu PF heavy weights in the province, the former President Robert Mugabe backed National Patriotic Front (NPF) party has said.
“We are saddened by the loss of lives especially here in Kwekwe. The deaths were avoidable,” NPF president Ambrose Mutinhiri said at the party launch in Kwekwe over the weekend.
Mutinhiri said Zanu PF bigwigs are the ones who are controlling gold mining activities in Kwekwe.
He, however, lamented the continued penury on ordinary citizens in the mineral rich province.
“Midlands is a mineral rich province but people are living in poverty regardless of the resources in the province. Only a few individuals from the ruling party are benefitting,” he said.
Zanu PF politicians in the province, in March, seized a foreign-owned gold mine and allowed party youths to mass into the property in what has been seen as a vote buying gimmick ahead of the polls this year.
Gaika gold mine is owned by Jersey-based and privately owned Duration Gold.
The seizure of the company’s Kwekwe property was reportedly facilitated by known Zanu PF legislators and is understood to have the backing of senior party officials in the province.
Giaka Mine has since been shut down after the company owners sought a High Court interdict to stop operations.
Illegal mining activities have, however, continued unabated.
In recent months, Kwekwe has seen a rise injuries and death by machete.
“The obtaining situation is very disturbing. The situation has now completely gone out of hand but it’s difficult to control since there are powerful figures behind the operations,” Mutinhiri told the gathering.
Meanwhile, Midlands Provincial Affairs Minister Owen Ncube has said police must arrest anyone found in possession of a machete.
“I am calling on the police to arrest anyone they are going to find in possession of a machete. We want a peaceful society-a society which is free from machetes,” Ncube recently said.