BY VENERANDA LANGA
TOP MDC leaders Lynette Karenyi-Kore (vice-president) and Job Sikhala (vice-chairperson) this week lost their relatives to the violent machete clashes in mining areas in the country.
In an interview with NewsDay yesterday, Karenyi-Kore said she lost her 41-year-old uncle, Liberty Dadirai, who was stabbed to death on Monday in Chimanimani by two youths that were armed with knives and claimed to be diamond buyers.
“Dadirai was murdered yesterday (Monday) near the diamond-rich area of Hotsprings by two men aged around 19, who approached him claiming that they were selling diamonds,” Karenyi-Kore narrated.
“They asked him to accompany them to the place where they kept the diamonds, but he was stabbed and by the time he was rushed to hospital, it was already too late,” she said.
Karenyi-Kore said the people that murdered her uncle used knives and not machetes, which are the common weapons used by violent gangs robbing people of their minerals throughout the country.
“My uncle was not an illegal miner, but I think he was acting as a middleman for people buying diamonds when he met his demise. I think the country is under siege and we really do not know what is happening. It is the first time that someone has been killed because of minerals in this area and people are very shocked because the motive was to instil fear and to murder, as the assailants were said to have been carrying knives,” she said.
Sikhala also confirmed that his uncles, Yeweight Senzere and Elvis Matsikidze, were brutally attacked by machete gangs last week in Mvuma.
He said Senzere died on the spot, while Matsikidze is battling for life in the intensive care unit at Gweru General Hospital.
“Machetes have now become a national genocidal menace, which Zimbabwe must stop immediately. There is need of national consensus by all Zimbabweans to deal with these merchants of death,” Sikhala said.
Yesterday, the MDC released a statement on the MaShurugwi threat, claiming that the gangs were sponsored by the ruling Zanu PF party top leadership.
“MaShurugwi have wrought serious insecurity and if the menace is not stemmed, the country could plunge into chaos. What Zimbabweans desperately need is a true people’s government that can guarantee their personal security, which security is enshrined in the country’s Constitution, which Constitution the people made themselves and affirmed in a referendum,” MDC deputy national spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said in a statement.
Government has responded to the menace by arresting over 1 500 artisanal miners following a public outcry over the machete gangs.