SINCE August this year 105 people have died in machete wars, while hundreds others were injured by Zanu PF-linked terror groups that have terrorised the country’s gold-rich sites committing heinous crimes claiming immunity because of their government and ruling party links, NewsDay has learnt.
By Brenna Matendere
In its October report titled Who will protect citizens from their ‘supposed’ protectors? the Zimbabwe Peace Project said the majority of the machete hit squads, infamously known as MaShurugwi and the Al-Shabaab, come from President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s home province of Midlands.
The latter is based in Kwekwe while the former originates from Wonderer Mine in Shurugwi.
“Artisanal mining terror groups continued wreaking havoc in Mashonaland West province, especially in Kadoma with machete attacks being reported almost every day.”
The report revealed that 105 murder cases were caused by the machete shock troops while over 200 people were butchered and left nursing wounds.
“Mining gangs are fighting a brutal war against each other and citizens are often caught in the crossfire or in some instances targeted by these gangs. Between the months of August and October a total of 105 murder cases have been recorded in mining areas surrounding Kadoma while 221 cases of assault have been recorded,” says the report.
Senior government officials have been implicated as behind the machete violence menace with Mnangagwa’s top lieutenant and State Security minister Owen Ncube being fingered in the bloody wars.
Ncube is famous in the artisanal mining circles and at the just-ended Zimbabwe Miners Federation annual conference in Gweru, Ncube was received with a thunderous ovation by the small-scale miners when he entered the venue at Gweru Convention Centre. Director of ceremonies, Joseph Nhara, had a torrid time trying to bring the miners to order as they shouted Ncube’s nicknames – “Third Bomber,” “Mudha” and “Touch Bomba”.
ZPP bemoaned that artisanal miners who are involved in machete wars are never arrested as they are reportedly protected by their god-fathers.
“These figures (of murder cases and injuries from the machete wars) indicate that there is a marked increase in lawlessness in the area (Mashonaland West) and innocent citizens are also suffering at the hands of mining gangs. This is further exacerbated by the fact that the gangs seem to be enjoying impunity as most of them continue without being arrested,” reads the ZPP report.
At the ZMF conference, Mnangagwa pledged to end the machete wars, saying they were soiling his administration’s image.