The opposition LEAD led by Linda Masarira has claimed that the machete-wielding gangs known as MaShurugwi are just miners who carry machetes for protection against rival gangs and even for digging underground and clearing bush thickets.
LEAD, through a statement released by its spokesperson Sydney Muyambi, says the rival Nelson Chamisa-led MDC through its Vanguard has taken over control of the Mashurugwi in a bid to discredit President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.
LEAD also says President Mnangagwa during his gold panning days “used to rely on these gangs to get maximum gold yield and dominate the gold panning areas,” but there was never any bloodletting violence as is happening now.
The artisanal miners, armed to teeth with machetes, knives and even automatic rifles, have instilled violence in gold-rich areas such as Zhombe, Kwekwe, Chakari, Fort Rixon, and other areas.
Over the past month alone, they have murdered a police officer in Battlefields near Kadoma, robbed and murdered a registered gold dealer in Mvuma, rap_ed and murdered a granny and her 16-year-old grandchild in Chegutu, and more violence including robbery in Harare.
We publish the statement by LEAD hereunder:
LEAD Statement on Mashurugwi
Mashurugwi originally are gold panning gangs. The objective of them carrying machetes is to protect themselves against rival gangs and because the machete is an all purpose tool usable even underground.
ED during his gold panning days had to rely on these gangs to get maximum gold yield and dominate the gold panning areas.
Today the issue of Mashurugwi has taken a new twist showing that it’s fast being adul_terated and used for political reasons.
It is sad to note that MDC Alliance has taken over the Mashurugwi in a bid to discredit ED.
The Vanguard has infiltrated the Mashurugwi and brought them to Harare and continue to spread propaganda that it’s Zanu-PF.
This dirty tactic being used by MDC Alliance in its desperate bid to gain power by force will result in bloodshed and leave us affected but will never remove Zanu-PF.
It is clear that to take this path MDC Alliance is just following a script provided by its funders.
We as LEAD would like to plead with the MDC Alliance leadership to spare us a day of mourning. We all want Zanu-PF out but not through the loss of life.
We have suffered enough as it is as a result of mismanagement by Zanu-PF and bringing war and bloodshed on us will surely destroy us.