Parly probes maShurugwi
© THE parliamentary portfolio committee on Mines and Mining Development will next week start probing the origins and operations of machete-wielding artisanal miners — popularly known as maShurugwi — who have killed scores of people around the country and terrorised many communities, the Daily News reports.
The machete barbarians are particularly a major menace around the country’s gold and diamond producing regions — which has prompted Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi to announce recently that the government is mulling a shoot-to-kill policy against them.
The chairperson of the Mines parliamentary committee, Edmond Mkaratigwa — who expressed shock at the rate at which lives were being lost, as well as the general lawlessness now prevailing in the mining industry, announced yesterday that they would also summon the ministers of Mines, Home Affairs and Justice, in addition to holding public hearings to unpack the menace.
“The committee resolved to conduct an inquiry into the matter in order to identify and trace the foundations, origins and development of the gangs, as well as to find out the socio-economic impact on gold production in light of the $12 billion target set for the mining industry by 2023,” he said.
The Shurugwi South MP disclosed that his committee would start the process of gathering all the information next week, to establish what the government was doing to end the “terrorism”.
“The stakeholders that we will invite include … the police commissioner general, the National Prosecuting Authority, media executives and editors, traditional chiefs, the Zimbabwe Miners Federation, civil society organisations … among others, because the committee is perplexed by the rampant killings going on, and so Parliament cannot remain silent on the issue and it will ensure that punitive measures are put in place,” he said.
The committee also resolved to push the government to kick-start legislative proceedings which would provide for stiffer penalties on the perpetrators of the violence — just as it did regarding the vandalism of railway and electrical infrastructure, among others.
“Zimbabwe is a civilised republic hence the acts of violence sprouting around the country cannot continue because it is retrogressive,” Mkaratigwa added.
After the enquiry, that would see the holding of public meetings in several mining towns to gather evidence, the committee will produce and present a comprehensive report to Parliament — while also making recommendations for action.
Recently, a police officer was bludgeoned to death — while one of his colleagues was seriously injured in an attack by machete-wielding artisanal miners who had invaded Good Hope Mine in Kadoma.
Constable Wonder Hokoyo,27, fell victim to the machete killers on December 28. His colleague constable Kamhuka is still fighting for his life at Kadoma General Hospital
The two men were among four officers guarding the mine, armed with two FN riffles — but were over-powered by the gold panners who were armed with axes and machetes.
Last week, police in Gweru arrested six members of a machete-wielding gang after a bloody shootout in connection with the killing of Hokoyo.
Recently, police shot and killed a gold panner, while also arresting five others who had charged at them armed with machetes.