Residents of Kwekwe are living in perpetual fear of machete-wielding gangs, some of whom are gold panners in the gold-rich Midlands town.
Machete attacks have been experienced at schools, at hospitals, in bars and in homes. A Kwekwe resident, Tichaona Masvaure of Newtown suburb cheated death by a whisker in February this year after he was attacked by the machete-wielding gang.
While speaking to Newsday, Masvaure’s wife narrated what happened to his husband on the fateful day. She said:
When Tichaona went to ask the people to stop cutting down some bamboo trees at our house, they called him to come outside the gate and in no time I heard a loud cry from my husband.
A T-35 truck being followed by a cloud of dust were all I could see and my husband’s voice calling out for help from that cloud of dust.
Fortunately, the rope got torn and that’s how my husband survived. I thank God that he survived and just today he uttered his first words to me after some time at the Gweru Provincial Hospital’s intensive care unit.
The Midlands police spokesperson Inspector Joel Goko confirmed the incident and said that investigations are in progress.
Another Kwekwe resident, Nehemiah Tendai Muwirimi of Msasa Park, escaped the jaws of death by the skin of his teeth during an encounter with a machete gang. He was attacked in February this year at around 8 pm and lost all his money. He said:
I am still to escape the trauma of that night and trying to focus on building a better future that is safer not just for me, but for all of us.
Sometimes when it gets dark I relive the experience and realise that life can be taken away from you anytime and we should cherish and appreciate every moment.
As the attacks continue unabated, some residents now feel that the police are aware of the gangs and are afraid of arresting them.