Movement for Democratic Change legislator for Mbizo, Kwekwe, Settlement Chikwinya, spoke to The Standard on how the notorious Kwekwe Machete gangs were formed and how the problem has gotten out of hand. He blames Zanu-PF leadership for creating the problem.
Initially the violence started as a gold war with youths from different camps fighting for the control of gold deposits, especially at Gaika Mine (in Kwekwe) which has rich ores. The fights did not have anything to do with politics at that time.
The problem came when Zanu PF senior politicians wanted to control the same gold fields. They would then use these youths as foot soldiers to invade rich claims and take control.
In turn, they provided immunity against arrest. This made the youths untouchable since even the police were under the control of the Zanu PF chiefs.
The impunity escalated towards elections. Now victims range from fellow gold panners, night club revellers, sex workers, cross-border traders and political opponents.
The thugs, if they run short of money, are now literally robbing people. The Zanu PF politicians now want to disown the thugs but it’s too late because the cancer has spread.”
Chikwinya’s claims were confirmed by Kwekwe Central Member of Parliament, Masango Matambanadzo, who is also a former senior Zanu PF member who is now with the National Patriotic Front. He said that the gang members get their orders from senior Zanu-PF politicians.
More: The Standard