Special courts for machete gangs

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Munyaradzi Doma

The Judiciary Services Commission will set up special courts dealing with machete gangs, popularly known maShurugwi, especially in areas where the attacks have been rampant, Chief Justice Luke Malaba has said.

Officially opening the 2020 legal year on Monday morning, Chief Justice Malaba said Zimbabwe could not be held at ransom by a few rogue elements.

He said the JSC will make sure all penetrators are dealt with decisively.

The machete gangs have been terrorising residents in mining areas that include Mazowe, Chegutu, Kwekwe, Bindura, Gokwe and some parts of Matabaleland .

The attacks have, in some cases, left many people dead or seriously injured.

Malaba appreciated the huge role being played by law enforcement agents in bringing the gangs to book adding that the courts deal decisively with the scourge.

“May I assure the nation that the courts stand ready to decisively deal with those accused of these offences in accordance with the law. Special courts to specifically try the cases have been set up in all affected areas across the country.

“I call upon all stakeholders in the administration of justice to make concerted efforts to end this problem. Institutions mandated to protect the citizens cannot sit back and watch a few rogue elements terrorise the entire nation for their selfish benefits,” Malaba said.

He added: “We hear stories of callous murders of ordinary Zimbabweans and law enforcement agents. Citizens’ rights of freedom movement, freedom to conduct their affairs without fear and freedom of association are being violated without impunity by the gangsters.”

He said the terror gangs have to be neutralised as they have the potential to cause anarchy.

The ZRP has unleashed armed detachments of the Police Support Unit in a bid to crush machete gangs while Parliament has also launched an investigation to unearth the origins of the gangs, how they operate, their impact and how they can be tamed by police action and legal changes.

The legislators want longer-term solutions including the formalisation of the small-scale gold sectors and legal changes to bring in tougher penalties for those who operate outside the law.

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