Courts tighten noose on machete gangs

BY SILAS NKALA / Richard Muponde / Precious Chida

Chief Justice Luke Malaba has announced the setting up of special courts to deal with the marauding machete gangs wreaking havoc in most parts of the country, warning that the courts would not have mercy on those who terrorise communities.

Machete gangs have been unleashing a reign of terror, especially in mining areas where they go about killing and maiming people before robbing them of gold and other valuables.

Speaking during the official opening of the 2020 legal year at the Constitutional Court yesterday, Chief Justice Malaba said the institution mandated to protect citizens could not just sit back and watch a few rogue elements terrorise the entire nation for their selfish benefits.

“As we speak, the country is gripped by another spate of violence perpetrated by the so-called machete gangs. May I assure the nation that the courts stand ready to decisively deal with those accused of these offences, in accordance with the law. Special courts to specifically try the cases have been set up in all affected areas across the country,” he said.

“We hear stories of callous murders of ordinary Zimbabweans and law enforcement agents. Citizens’ right of free of movement, freedom to conduct their affairs without fear and freedom of association are being violated with impunity by these gangsters. Courts must demonstrate to the public that they are possessed of real capacity to enforce the law and punish crime,” he said.

According to statistics, machete gangs have killed over 100 people in gold wars.

Last week, 47 machete gang members were arrested, while two of them were shot by the police after they stormed a police base in Gokwe North to rescue their colleagues, who had been nabbed for robbing a mine of gold ore.

Officially opening the 2020 legal year at the Bulawayo High Court yesterday, Deputy Chief Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza also spoke strongly against the machete gangs.

Justice Gwaunza called on all stakeholders in the administration of justice to make concerted efforts to end the scourge.

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