Rogue elements within the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) have been labelled as the scapegoats for the resurgence of the bloody machete wars which have resurfaced in mining areas such as Matabeleland South province, southern Zimbabwe.
According to the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC), police officers who either sleep on duty or engage in corrupt practices, are blamable for the machete wars involving illegal gold miners known as MaShurugwi.
Addressing delegates in Gwanda during a Churches Converging on Conflict and Peace (CCCOP) inception meeting attended by the Gwanda local peace committee yesterday, NPRC Commissioner Leslie Ncube attributed the resurgence of violence to laxity and rogue elements within the police force.
Ncube said the NPRC had received numerous reports of corruption by police at Colleen Bawn and West Nicholson police stations.
His remarks come after four miners were hospitalised after they were attacked by a machete gang while at Vova Mine in Gwanda on Friday.
Comm Ncube said the commission had visited Gwanda Provincial Hospital on Saturday to see people that were hospitalised following Friday’s Vova Mine attacks.
“As a commission we are concerned by issues of machete gangs which have resurfaced in Matabeleland South Province in areas such as Vova. Members of the security sector who are charged constitutionally with enforcing laws shouldn’t be found sleeping on duty. People can’t be moving around with machetes and attacking people and then walk scot free. We have security around us and one of its thrusts is to smell and detect where these criminals will strike. These gangs come in vehicles in a manner that would have been well organised and they do this under the watchful eye of the police which is disturbing,” said Comm Ncube.
“The reaction from police is very slow. For those who are sleeping on duty heads will roll. I believe that the State hasn’t run out of resources and on that note decisive measures will be taken and those who are not performing their duties will go home.
The police have a mandate to protect the people of Zimbabwe and they have to fulfill it. If people continue being attacked in this manner then it means we are not safe as people,” he said.
Comm Ncube also revealed that they had raised the Commissioner-General of the Police and were set to hold a closed door meeting with him on Friday to discuss the matter of rogue police officers and laxity within law enforcement agents. He said unnecessary loss of life through violence had to be stopped.
While commending the critical role played by the church in maintaining peace within the communities, Comm Ncube urged members of the media to expose members of the ZRP who were dabbling in corruption.
Comm Ncube urged the Gwanda Local Peace Committee to continue with its peace building efforts. He challenged the committee to address various issues of conflict which were being recorded in the community.
The commission, Comm Ncube said, was working together with Zimbabwe Christian Alliance to promote issues of peace building in Matabeleland South Province.
In Kwekwe, Zwnews reports that a notorious gold miner known as Pipiro was also killed following vicious confrontations pitting the Maketo group and its rival MaGrigamba over the weekend.
The deceased Pipiro belonged to the Maketo group.
In his address at the meeting, Zimbabwe Christian Alliance (ZCA) Executive Director, Reverend Useni Sibanda said the CCCOP programme sought to address issues of conflict within communities.
“As the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance we have been working with local peace committees to address issues of conflict within communities. The programme that we had initially launched under the banner Churches Convergence on Peace (CCOP) has come to an end and now we are extending the programme for a further one year 18 months under the name Churches Converging on Conflict and Peace (CCCOP). This programme seeks to promote peace after realising that trend of violence in mining areas. Further than that we have realised that there are conflicts that have emerged as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and more work has to be done,” he said.
Added Rev Sibanda:
“Our objective is to ensure that communities are able to transform conflict and revert to dialogue. We are going to retrain local peace committees so that they can address new forms of conflict that have arisen. We will be working closely with the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission”.
According to ZCA programmes officer Runyararo Chilenje, one of their objective was to strengthen and capacitate local peace committees as they had a crucial role to play in promoting peace within communities.
Chilenje said they were working with three local peace committees in the province in Gwanda, Matobo and Plumtree.
She said each committee was supposed to develop its own peace plans.
additional reporting: Zwnews