Deal with machete gangs decisively, ED tells police
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has directed the country’s security sector to decisively deal with illegal gold miners and robbers who are terrorising Zimbabweans with machetes.
Mnangagwa’s directive comes barely a week after his deputy, Constantino Chiwenga, also warned the machete-wielding gangs that their days were numbered.
The tough stance by the country’s leadership also comes as the government has been challenged to unleash the full might of the military to protect communities where machete-wielding gangs are running amok.
In his opening remarks during the 336th session of the Zanu PF politburo meeting yesterday, Mnangagwa called on all Zimbabweans to unite against illegal gold panners.
“Our security sector has been directed to urgently bring an end to the current scourge of violence by unruly machete-wielding criminal gangs and malcontents. We appeal to the party to support this endeavour,” Mnangagwa said.
The president’s order for the security sector to crush the ruthless gangs mirrors what was said by Chiwenga last weekend in Harare during an event to mark International Day of Prayer.
“The vice president said machete gangs and armed robbers would be dealt with without mercy by the government.
“A united, prosperous, peaceful and secure Zimbabwe is achievable where people can freely worship and carry out their day-to-day activities with a sense of security and belonging.
“While government takes stern measures against those who disturb peace, security and the conduct of business, such as those machete-wielding gangsters and robbers who have emerged, prayers and evangelical crusades can also provide significant complementary support,” Chiwenga said.
The former general — who led the military operation which ended the late former president Robert Mugabe’s long and ruinous rule in November 2017 — spoke days after Norton MP Temba Mliswa had called on the government to deploy soldiers to end the machete gangs menace.
He said a military deployment should complement the efforts of the police, whose operation has led to the arrest of thousands of machete criminals across the country since late last year.
Code-named Operation Chikorokoza Ngachipere (illegal gold mining must end), the operation has so far led to the arrest of more than 2 000 machete-wielding criminals.
In his politburo address, Mnangagwa also spoke strongly against corruption, calling on everyone to accelerate efforts in fighting the vice.
Yesterday, the president also encouraged the ruling party to, in the face of the current drought that has led to food insecurity in the country, ensure that food aid is distributed to all the needy “regardless of political affiliation”.
“The mealie meal subsidies will continue. We must all work towards strengthening the system and eliminate abuse of the facility.
“The vulnerable in our midst cannot be taken advantage of,” Mnangagwa said.