Zimbabwe: Mliswa Calls On Govt to Toughen Up On Machete Gangs

14 January 2020

Norton Member of Parliament Temba Mliswa says the government should be tough on the menacing machete gangs who continue to terrorize citizens by committing murder and rape crimes across the country.

The gangs running under the moniker "Mashurugwi" has been causing a lot of trouble, especially in mining areas.

Mliswa castigated the government's slow approach to dealing with the marauding gangs which he said has the chance to breed more gangs which will in-turn convert into a dangerous and uncontrollable militia similar to the ones in East Africa.

"Similar gangs originally said to have had the good intention of protecting Somalia's coastline from pirates, eventually acquired firearms. They split into factions and each was adopted by a power-hungry warlord. The rest is history. Somalia has never known peace as it is now difficult to disarm the militias," Mliswa said.

He said failure by the government to control the gangs will likely cause civil war if all citizens decide to arm themselves and fight back.

"Or maybe our government is underestimating the power of the machete as a weapon of war and civil strife? The Rwandan genocide rode almost predominantly on the machete! A million people were butchered in the streets. Honestly, the government has an obligation to act preemptively, even if political alliances suffer. If it is for the safety of the people, so be it," he added.

This comes as the police arrested four other machete armed gangs in Norton yesterday.

It is believed that the gang ambushed a man and robbed him of ZWL$300.00 and 40 kilograms gold ore.

The men were armed with two machetes, an axe and two wooden logs, the police said on Twitter.

However, Mliswa said the government should not protect funders of the gangs which he claims are known.

"I have always said it. I have even named some of the corrupt officials who are behind these gangs. That is why they are bold in their operations, operating in broad daylight without even hiding their identities. It points to a belief inculcated in them that they are well-protected from the law", said Mliswa.

Last week, Heal Zimbabwe Trust Director Rashid Mahiya called on the government to snub gold being produced from these highly violent mines.

He also said the gangs will likely be used as merchants of political violence ahead of the 2023 elections.

The general fear is that, eventually, it will be difficult to differentiate between robbers and political militias, a situation that will muddy the pool in national security considerations.

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