By Chenjerai Gumbeze
CHEGUTU – ARTISANAL miners around this mining town have commended swift action by
the police after they nabbed members of machete-wielding gang that recently unleashed a reign
of terror in and around Chegutu.
The arrests followed a wave of violence that occurred a fortnight ago when a gang armed with
machetes terrorised residents, beating up whoever they came across.
They are part of gangs that take a lion’s share of what they don’t work for. The gang would
disrupt mining activities by violently attacking artisanal miners indiscriminately, robbing,
maiming and killing other people in the process.
The gang even conducted raids in the town’s residential areas as they followed up in search of
their “enemies”. In the process, they ended up attacking whoever they came across.
The police tracked some members of the gang and arrested them. The gang leaders are reported
to be on the run, but police have vowed that the long arm of the law will soon catch up with
Said one artisanal miner: “Dai mapurisa vangokwanisa kubata Tavonga nekuti ndiye
aitungamirira mabhudhi pamabasa ose akaitika mazuva apera. Iye achayaura vamwe vake vose
vaanoshanda navo, ava vakabatwa. Zvipopi izvo,” said a miner, who refused to be named for
fear of reprisals.
“Some miners work day and night to try to make the ends meet, but Tavonga and his marauding
gang can demand a large share in the process known as ‘kushandira mabhudhi’.The police had
been ignoring these incidents but it seems that things are taking a major positive turn.
“The culprits were known but never arrested. These are the same people, who willy nilly always
cause a mayhem among the community without fear. Police sometimes used to sweep the cases
under carpets, but this time around the situation is totally different. Mabhudhi vaingoita
zvavanoda vasingasungwe, but iyezvino zvinenge zvachinja.
“Well known perpetrators of violence were seen roaming freely and committing new crimes.
Some of the perpetrators who terrorise people some days ago were nabbed by the police.”
Some members of the terror gang have gone into hibernation as police are on the massive
manhunt for them, while those arrested are expected to appear in court soon.
The miners allege that the known perpetrators of violence used to pump a lot of money to
officers to evade arrest.
“We applause the ZPR for the intervention. We are relieved since the situation is now a bit
normal,” said a vendor, who says she lost all her wares when she ran away from the machete-
wielding attackers last time.