JUSTICE minister Ziyambi Ziyambi has promised the Senate that government will deal with the machete-wielding gangsters called MaShurugwi who have been causing havoc in gold panning areas and killing people.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
The issue was raised in both the National Assembly and Senate after videos went viral showing MaShurugwi ruthlessly killing rivals with machetes, resulting in Norton MP Temba Mliswa (independent) alleging that the machete wars at gold mines were perennial because they were sponsored by some ruling party bigwigs.
Although the police and army have been very swift in dealing with political dissent in the country, the violence caused by the MaShurugwi has taken years to deal with.
On Thursday, Mliswa raised a matter of privilege with the Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda on the machete wars. He alleged that MaShurugwi were in control because Zanu PF leaders were involved in gold smuggling.
“The government is quick to issue statutory instruments (SIs) on monetary issues, but when life is being lost in these machete wars, nothing is done. Why not even ban that?” Mliswa asked.
“There must be an SI that empowers the police to arrest anybody with a machete until a certain time these issues are dealt with because people are dying in Norton and everywhere in the country because of these people who are disrupting business and they go to clubs and kill people.
“I would like to protect the people of Shurugwi, whom I lead as village head. The people of Shurugwi do not behave like that. These people are called MaShurugwi because there was a lot of gold panning in Shurugwi. Government has not been quick to come up with an SI to block them because some of the leaders in Zanu PF are the ones doing illegal smuggling of gold and that is why they are not keen to solve this (yet) people are dying.”
In the Senate again, Midlands Senator Lillian Timveous (MDC Alliance) on Thursday grilled Ziyambi over the issue where she suggested that government must deploy soldiers in the areas affected by the MaShurugwi violence.
“I saw a gruesome video of these MaShurugwi cutting a man’s legs. I feel that soldiers should be in those areas. These people are fighting for gold and gold should belong to the State and gold areas should be pegged. I do not think it is Zimbabwean and I do not think it is our ubuntu spirit. I last saw such a video when the Libyan late President Muammar Gaddafi was killed,” Timveous said.
Ziyambi said he did not even believe that some of the MaShurugwi that were terrorising people were even miners.
“This is a cause of concern because the problem is now across provinces. The Minister of Home Affairs and the police are alive to this issue. We are going to take some measures if need be like you rightly pointed out,” he said.
“If the police feel that they are not capacitated, then they will request the assistance of the military. In the near future, you should be able to witness some changes regarding the issue of illegal people who go about terrorising others. It is a cause for concern even for all of us and we believe that people should be allowed to go about their business at peace without fear of any terrorist attacks from the so-called MaShurugwi.”