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Gun amnesty the right thing to do, but more action needed

President Emmerson Mnangagwa

REPORTS at the weekend indicated that 538 guns were handed over to authorities at the end of an amnesty announced in August.

It is not clear how many more illegally-owned guns are still in our society.

But for all its blunders, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime did well by this initiative to protect citizens from threats posed by a gun-toting few.

Firearms are a menace to societies.

Humanity is never safe in a society where there are many guns where holders are only accountable to themselves.

The temptation to solve misunderstandings through the barrel is high in a society with illegal gun holders, as are much bigger problems like civil wars.

This is why concrete action was required in Zimbabwe to deal with the problem before it spirals out of control.

The bloodbath that the world has seen in countries like the United States and even in neighbouring South Africa, is the result of authorities’ failure to contain a proliferation of guns in wrong hands.

Surely, Zimbabweans, after going through a frustrating 22 years of pain and grief triggered by unrestrained plunder since the turn of the new millennium, do not deserve being subjected to increased armed robberies.

This amnesty, therefore, was a timely boost, but it is only the beginning of a long process to ensure that blood is not needlessly spilt.

A more strict and robust regime of gun-control, which includes investigating how unregistered guns ended up in dangerous hands must be initiated.

This must be followed by awareness programmes that encourage society to report the presence of guns in neighbourhoods.

In addition, a more relaxed regime that encourages those on the wrong side of the law to continue handing over their guns should be implemented.

What has happened in the past two months has demonstrated what happens when moral suasion is applied to solve society’s problems and more such efforts must continue.

Zimbabwe is in close proximity to South Africa where more unregistered guns roam the streets compared to Harare.

Improved transportation systems have made it easier for Zimbabweans to travel to that country and vice versa.

This cross-pollination has been among the factors driving an upsurge in unregistered guns and armed crimes, which deserved immediate and decisive action.

The general problems that society has faced in the past 22 years, including an erosion of sources of income must be addressed.

A hungry society is a dangerous society. Add unregistered guns to the mix and you get a potent cocktail bound to explode anytime.

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