Kwekwe and its surrounding towns have been the home of gangs involved in informal gold and chrome mining in the city. The gangs have been known to be violent towards one another as well as members of the public, with deaths, injuries becoming commonplace in the past several years.
The gangs carry machetes, homemade spears, bows, and arrows, improvised swords, axes and knobkerries which they use wantonly on opposing gangs and ordinary people.
The gangs are known to be politically connected and Zimbabwe Republic Police have expressed that they too are afraid of them. Some of the gangs, like Mashurugwi, are known to have political connections in Zanu-PF.
Here are the names of some of the well-known gangs and their operating areas:
- Al Shabaab – whose base is at Black Wadada and Gaika Mine is their main territory.
- Mashurugwi – originally from the small mining town of Shurugwi
- Anaconda – headquartered in Amaveni
- Mazero – from village head Gideon’s area (rural gang)
- Zviuranda – from Uranda and Mashanda rural areas. (rural gang)
- Sithekutheku – a group dominated by the Fengu sub-ethnic community. it conducts regular raids in the Mathe community (rural)
- Maketo – operates in Chiundura, also close to Kwekwe. Regularly bands up with Al Shabaab.
- Mukwade – a gang that operates in the Empress area
More: The Standard