BY VENERANDA LANGA
SENATORS have called on security agencies to end machete wars and violence being perpetrated by artisanal miners fighting for control of gold claims throughout the country.
This came out during debate last Thursday on a motion on human rights violations suffered by Zimbabweans, which was moved by Bulawayo Metropolitan senator Siphiwe Ncube (MDC).
Keresencia Chabuka (Manicaland senator MDC) said the violence by artisanal miners was being driven by the high rate of unemployment in the country.
“There is a lot that is happening, especially with regards to violence around the mining areas in our country, and if you go to most mining towns, they have coined the term “maShurugwi or mabhemba” and this was emanating from the violence caused by people trying to eke out a living (from mining),” Chabuka said.
“One finds that this is caused by unemployment, which is driving most young people to become artisanal miners, and government must find ways of stopping young people from becoming violent, because this is not good for the development of our country,” she said.
Chabuka said violence had also permeated families and was being perpetrated by both the young and old, with women being the hardest hit, as they were even being raped.
“We also notice that women are raped, which is another form of violence. We should look for ways of solving this problem of violence. When we talk of violence, we are not talking of fighting between husband and wife — we mean anything that disturbs another person’s way of thinking, something that causes another person to be insecure,” she said.
Chabuka said government must attract investment into the country in order to create jobs for the youths that are roaming the streets.
“These youths indulge in violent activities, which include killing each other using machetes, housebreaking cases, where house owners who resist, are injured or killed. These youths also take dangerous drugs so that when they indulge in these violent acts, they will be under the influence of these drugs,” she said.
Mashonaland East senator Jane Chifamba said shortages of basic commodities such as bread also caused violence.
“The other day, I was in a bread queue and a fight broke out because bread had been in short supply. The Zimbabwe Republic Police had to be called in to maintain peace. At times, violence is caused by shortage of fuel; when people jump queues violence erupts. People use weapons such as knives, machetes and guns. Some people have lost teeth in some of these fights, because somebody will have tried to jump the fuel queue. Youths indulge in deadly substances such as bronco and when they have taken these substances they fight over trivial issues such as women. Such a scenario happened in Bindura and Marondera where some of the victims were injured and others died,” Chifamba said.
She added that there were rising cases of gender-based violence with some stepfathers raping their stepdaughters.