BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA
Police in Mashonaland East province have banned people from carrying weapons in three districts, following a sharp increase in violence cases and armed robberies.
Some of the banned weapons include catapults, machetes, axes, knobkerries, swords, knives or daggers, and any kind of traditional weapon likely to cause public disorder or a breach of the peace.
According to the police, those who breach the law will face a six-month jail term.
The prohibition order, to be executed in Marondera, Murewa and Chivhu, will run until June 11.
Provincial police spokesperson Inspector Tendai Mwanza said the move was meant to protect people’s lives and property.
“Such prohibition will run from March 8 to June 8 2019 for Marondera and Murewa districts and from March 11 to June 11 2019 for Chivhu. For the avoidance of doubt, it is declared that in terms of section 14(4) of the Public Order and Security Act (Chapter 11:17), any person failing to comply with such a prohibition made under sub section (1) shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level five or imprisonment for six months or to both such fine and such imprisonment,” Mwanza said.
“Mashonaland East province has of late witnessed a rise in violent cases that include armed robbery, murder and some violent demonstrations by misguided elements of society recently witnessed in January 2019,” Mwanza added.
“Armed robbery cases increased to 77 cases in January and February 2019 compared to the same period last year. It is, therefore, disturbing to note that armed robbers are moving in gangs and armed with such weapons as firearms, knives, machetes and to some extent axes in a bid to instil fear and sometimes maiming their victims.”
He said several people had fallen victims to robberies and a lot of cash and other valuable property stolen.
“It is, therefore, paramount for the police to take drastic measures as stipulated by the law in terms of section 14(1) of the Public Order and Security Act Chapter 11:17, to safeguard property and people’s lives,” Mwanza said.
On January 15, protesters destroyed and ransacked Dombotombo Police Station, with reports that some firearms were stolen during the raid. This was followed by an increase in armed robberies in Marondera, where money changers and businesspeople were attacked by gangs at their homes and ordered to surrender their foreign currency at gunpoint.