Village Rhapsody: Gun violence getting out of hand in Zimbabwe

Jaison Muvevi, a former police detective and suspect in three murders

Zimbabwe used to be known for tough gun control laws some years ago, and people feared possessing a gun.

Even ex-police and ex-soldiers had respect for guns after retiring from duty.

The fascination with guns has become a dangerous sport that depends on whether you are at the right or wrong end of the gun.

However, it is like how Robert Heinlein expressed himself in his quote that “there are no dangerous weapons, but there are only dangerous men”.

Angry and dangerous ex-police officers and ex-soldiers are many in Zimbabwe.

The country is no longer safe just like in neighbouring South Africa where even a teenager can own a gun.

For what purpose?  

Free people should not only be armed, but also disciplined and this calls for a uniform and well-thought-out strategy.

Additionally, for the sake of their safety and interests, they should support any factories that will make them less dependent on outside sources for necessities.

Concern has been raised over the case of Jaison Muvevi, a former police detective and suspect in three murders who is currently in the custody of Zimbabwean authorities after he was arrested in Mozambique.

Muvevi was captured by civilians before he was handed over to Zimbabwean police.

He was on the run after he fatally shot a self-styled Johanne Masowe prophet at a Hwedza shrine before turning the gun on the police station's officer in charge and a barman at a nearby business centre.

The involvement of rogue serving and ex-police officers and soldiers in armed robberies is hindering the country's fight against armed criminals.

The government acknowledged last year that armed robberies were now a problem and that police officers needed to be retrained to cope with the problem before it got out of hand.

The same old training strategies and failure by the government to invest in proper technology tools and  equipment for law enforcement agents is one of the major causes of failure to curb increasing criminal activities across the country.

Police and prisons must be well-equipped to ensure public safety.

The statement by Jeff Snyder that: “The possession of arms by the people is the ultimate warrant that government governs only with the consent of the governed”  captures Zimbabwe’s situation as armed robbers have become more cunning and difficult to apprehend.

The biggest error is not looking into former law enforcement or military personnel who are in illegal possession of firearms.

History demonstrates that any administration that has permitted former cops and military to carry weapons has set itself up for failure.

Only last week, commissioner-General Godwin Matanga stated that police would shoot to kill when confronted by armed robbers, following the death of a top cop.

Guns should be kept out of the hands of ordinary citizens and criminals.

There were many incidents of people being killed last year as a result of misunderstandings in romantic relationships and armed robberies, but it appears that there are no long-term answers because the nation continues to experience the same problem.

*Evans Mathanda is a journalist and development practitioner who writes in his personal capacity. For feedback email: ev[email protected] or call 0719770038 and Twitter @EvansMathanda19

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