By Linda Masarira.
Machete wielding gangs are being sponsored to destabilise the country. Many families were surviving from the economic benefits of artisanal mining activities. Most women were cooking sadza, selling water and fruits to artisanal miners.
These “mashurugwi” gangs have scared away women miners. I am deeply concerned about the condition and status of women in general, particularly in the mining sector, where the machete killings are a sad reminder of the rampant violence against women and girls in the artisanal and small-scale mining sector.
There is limited protection of the marginalised and vulnerable groups such as women and youths. The citizens of Zimbabwe are being physically abused, psychologically abused and emotionally traumatised and there is need for psycho-social support on all affected women, girls and men.
Women are now living in fear of the unknown and many other crimes are now being committed under the guise of “mashurugwi” by renegades taking advantage of the widespread fears, even in urban areas.
Citizens are losing their hard-earned wealth to these unscrupulous people with far-reaching consequences.
Families are losing breadwinners and their livelihoods, with downstream effects on women and children, among other vulnerable groups and the (possibility of) food insecurity and malnutrition rising in affected areas.
Foreign intervention of destabilising and stopping artisanal mining can not be overruled. As a stopgap measure government will be forced to reconsider giving artisanal mining claims thereby taking away a source of livelihood for many Zimbabwean families directly or indirectly benefitting from small scale mining.
The West has always been involved in destabilising Africa through funding rebels and other conflict causing agents to loot our natural resources. DRC is a real case in point in Southern Africa where citizens fight each other whilst the west loots natural resources.
In most countries that are rich in minerals, there is conflict and war, they use local people to fight each other. We have seen it in DRC, where brother is slaughtering brother for diamonds.
Right here in Zimbabwe machete wielding gangs known as mashurugwi are busy looting gold from hardworking artisanal miners who toil and labour to feed their families.
Liberia, Nigeria and Mali are examples of countries in conflict because of their vast natural resources. It seems like a curse in Africa to have natural resources that the west wants to own and control.
The Government of Zimbabwe is empowering its people by licensing small scale mining. The western world does not appreciate any form of black empowerment. Sanctions were slapped on Zimbabwe following the land reform and it negatively affected agriculture which is the pillar of the Zimbabwean economy.
A similar agenda might be underway to destabilise artisanal mining in Zimbabwe. It is known that mashurugwi have been causing problems in some parts of goldrich Zimbabwe.
The current machete wielding gangs are displaying a form of trained, coordinated and tactful modus operandi. They are attacking not only artisanal miners, but randomly gold buyers, business centres, tuckshop owners and churches.
Innocent women, girls and children have fallen victim to these terrorist gangs. Women are being raped in their homes, in some cases murdered or maimed which is a real cause for concern as to what the agenda of the violent gangs really is.
This is a Boko Haram in the making and Zimbabweans must unite to protect the nation before it is too late. We have politicians who have vowed to remove the government by all means necessary, we have those who were once in government, who are bitter, disgruntled and vowed to revenge their ouster from power.
Some are calling for international intervention to solve the (political-legitimacy) crisis in Zimbabwe. The trail of destruction and loss of life caused by the machete-wielding gangs suits a certain narrative.
There are people who benefit from such acts of barbaric terrorism. The government of the day can’t benefit anything from this terror.