Ending machete gangs: Everyone has a part to play

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THE move by Parliament to call for a thorough probe on the killings of innocent people by machetewielding gangs on gold belts across the country is a welcome decision. However, it needs the support of all-well-meaning and progressive Zimbabweans to come to the party so that their dastardly acts can be brought to an end. Parliament wants to probe the origins of maShurugwi and involve all critical organs in the communities — starting from the politician to ordinary people — to gather information which it believes would help weed out the senseless bloodletting culture that is fast pervading almost every province. But the welcome move by Parliament is just one of the many routes that the authorities and ordinary people can really take to bring a stop to the killings and robberies. Generally, these pangas were known to be reserved for use in cane fi elds and clearing vegetation in the yards of private homes. And for nearly four decades, the use of machetes appeared to be restricted to those activities and there were few reports of crimes committed using the deadly weapon. Now that these heinous activities are increasing to the detriment of peace-loving communities and indeed Zimbabwe’s own ability to maintain peace and order — it is important that the government crafts laws that end the activities of these ruffi ans. One, the authorities need to control the sale of machetes, including restricting their imports except in cases where those that are allowed to use them, such as cane cutters — provide proof they need them for that purpose. Two, as the police continue with their crackdown against machete-wielding gangs, the government must put measures in place that deny bail for these dangerous criminals. It is disconcerting to see these people being allowed to go back to the same communities they are terrorising simply because they have been admitted to bail. Finally, corporates and ordinary people — those who have resources, be they fi nancial or material — should help the police to function properly by resourcing them to fully carry out patrols. Progressive communities do not wait for Treasury to support the police, especially when their very own existence is threatened by criminals such as these machete gangs. Everyone must come to the party to end these hair-raising activities. Today it’s your neighbour who is attacked, tomorrow it could be you!

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