Government is coming up with an instrument that will give mandatory jail sentences to those found in possession of machetes in mining areas, an official has said.
The move by the Government to ban the possession of machetes follows a spate of violent crimes allegedly committed by machete-wielding artisanal miners.
In its October report titled Who will protect citizens from their ‘supposed’ protectors? the Zimbabwe Peace Project revealed that 105 murder cases were caused by the machete shock troops while over 200 people were butchered and left nursing wounds.
“Mining gangs are fighting a brutal war against each other and citizens are often caught in the crossfire or in some instances targeted by these gangs. Between the months of August and October a total of 105 murder cases have been recorded in mining areas surrounding Kadoma while 221 cases of assault have been recorded,” says the report.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) recently announced the arrest of seven people who attacked six male adults at a mine in Chegutu.
The accused were armed with machetes, axes, knives, and sjamboks when they committed the crime. They stole cellphones, gold ore, fuel, and foodstuffs.
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi called for an intertwined relationship between the ZRP and mining stakeholders to deal with the criminals.
“As Government, we are extremely disturbed by the illegal activities of artisanal miners who continuously terrorise people using machetes.
“Our cultural values and ethos are at stake and it is every stakeholder’s mandate to work towards bringing sanity into the country.
“l call for an intertwined relationship between the ZRP, Judicial Service Commission (JSC), prosecuting authorities, mining authorities, and other stakeholders to thwart their criminal activities.”
“In the same vein, l am in discussion with the Prosecutor General and Judicial Service Commission with a view of having special courts to deal with these cases.
“We want people to enjoy the peace and tranquillity that has always prevailed in Zimbabwe, he said.