Police in Gweru and Gokwe have banned the carrying of dangerous weapons such as machetes, axes, knobkerries, knives, daggers, catapults, spears, and swords as they battle to contain a spate of violent crime including gruesome murders ravaging the two districts, midlandsnews can report
The three-month prohibition order will run from June 14 through September 14 for Gokwe while Gweru’s will last from June 22 until September 22.
Police warned that anyone found in violation would face up to six months in jail.
“Due to the increase of cases involving the use of machetes, axes, knobkerries, knives, daggers, catapults, spears and other offensive weapons and any traditional weapons whatsoever, which is likely to occasion public disorder or breach of peace, I hereby issue an order prohibiting the carrying in public of such weapons, whether openly or by concealment, in a public place or public thoroughfare or display within Gweru Urban District or any part thereof for a period not exceeding three months,” said officer commanding Gweru urban district, chief superintendent Tambudzai Gumpo.
He added: “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 prohibition made under subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level five or to imprisonment for 6 months or to both such fine and imprisonment.”
And in Gokwe, the district commanding officer chief superintendent Tsitsi Chikono issued a similar order, adding that “members of the public are warned to desist from carrying or displaying in public any weapons whatsoever likely to occasion public disorder or breach of peace for the specified period of time.”
Bloody wars involving such weapons, especially among gangs of artisanal miners across the Midlands province have become the new normal as the illegal gold panners fight for control of claims.
Early last year, about 50 machete-wielding miners raided a police outpost in Gokwe North in an audacious effort to free nine colleagues who had been booked for various offences.
A similar ban was issued for citizens in Bulawayo last week following an increase in armed robberies involving guns and knives.