Gweru (The Times-New Ziana) – Residents in Midlands province have welcomed the Prohibition Order in which police have banned the carrying of dangerous weapons in public, especially machetes which marauding gangs were using in recent months to terrorise people in the region and country as a whole.
The Prohibition Order was issued recently following an upsurge in assault, robbery, rape and murder cases committed by machete wielding gangs, mainly gold panners.
Mindlands police provincial community relations liaison officer, Inspector Joel Goko said police regulating authorities in all five districts of Gweru Urban, Gweru Rural, Kwekwe, Gokwe and Zvishavane had issued prohibition orders which have been displayed in public places.
“The reasons of these Prohibition Orders is to curb assaults, robbery, rape, murder and where the carrying of these weapons may be used in the commission of other crimes.”
Residents in Gweru applauded the police move, and hoped that all the criminals would be brought to book to restore order in the country.
“I really thank police for banning the carrying of machetes by makorokoza (small-scale miners) as we were now living in fear of these heartless criminals. We have lost quite a number of people killed by these machete wielding thugs. They are also behind rape and robbery cases happening in this province,” said Donald Penyayi of Amaveni, Kwekwe.
“It’s high time police should arrest these criminals. They are a nuisance in the community. We have been enjoying peace in this country but these thugs are causing a lot of suffering to the residents as they rob them of their valuable assets like cellphones, laptops and mostly money. We now fear for our lives,” said Netsai Moyo of Senga, Gweru.
Others said these machete wielding criminals should be given stiffer penalties when they appear in court, in order to give a stern warning to would-be-perpetrators.
Meanwhile, police in Midlands Province said they were now geared to stop the marauding machete gangs.
“We are appealing to members of the community to report all those found in possession of such prohibited weapons at any police station or make use of suggestion boxes, hotlines and whatsapp platforms,” said Inspector Goko.
He vowed that all those found on the wrong side of the law will be arrested.
“We warn all those who would be found on the wrong side of the law that we shall be out there in full force to ensure we thwart any criminal activities.”
“For the avoidance of doubt it is declared that in terms of Section 4 of the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act Chapter 11; 23, any person failing to comply with such a prohibition shall be guilty of imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both such a fine and imprisonment,” Goko said.
He said apart from patrols and road blocks, police shall be visible in all places and shall use different methods and measures to curb the machete gangs.
“We shall be conducting patrols and traffic enforcement activities as a deterrent measure against the commission of crimes using these dangerous weapons.”
He added that due to cases of violence caused by machete gangs, the police have been deployed in most violence-prone areas in the province to thwart the criminals.
The Times-New Ziana