by Staff reporter
MACHETE-WIELDING gangsters linked to the infamous MaShurugwi on Saturday stormed two schools in Zhombe and Silobela and got away with valuables belonging to teachers after detonating explosives to scare them away.
On the same day, another machete gang pounced at a businessman’s house in Mancingwane and shops at Kwite Business Centre in Mangwe where they escaped with R18 000 and household property.
Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe president Takavafira Zhou yesterday bemoaned the attack at the two Midlands schools.
“We received reports that artisanal miners detonated dynamites at Batanayi Sessombe Secondary School in Zhombe, thereby, sending teachers fleeing from their residential quarters, after which the thugs stole from the teachers’ houses,” he said.
Zhou said the machete gangsters, who seemed to be getting protection from senior officials in government, also raided Zimele School in Silobela.
“Sadly, the thugs and thieves seem to enjoy some protective immunity… If the phenomena continues, we will have no option except to advise teachers to leave their respective schools and others to withdraw their labour in solidarity with the suffering comrades,” Zhou said.
Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya (MDC), who sits in the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines, said the trouble causers were some of the miners who were flushed out of mining compounds during Operation Chikorokoza Chapera.
“The gangs have fled back to their original homes in villages of Silobela, Zhombe, Shurugwi, Chirumanzu, Mberengwa and parts of Gokwe. In the village, the gangsters will be broke because they cannot do any illegal mining anymore. Now teachers and other civil servants who have regular incomes become their targets. They are now being robbed because they are perceived to be having money and valuables because in those areas they will be the tower lights of income,” he said.
Midlands provincial education director Luke Mathuthu said such cases of teacher harassment were handled at the district offices.
“As for the specific cases on the machete violence against teachers, I would need to first check with the districts. However, our policy is that teachers must be protected from any harassment and we do not condone violence against them,” he said.
Midlands provincial police spokesperson Inspector Joel Goko said he was yet to get situation reports of the cases.
“However, nevertheless, it is not true that machete violence perpetrators are given immunity. No one is above the law. We have since issued prohibition orders against carrying of any such dangerous weapons in concealment or in public places,” he said.
In Plumtree, a machete gang on Saturday evening raided Tsoki Mpofu’s house in Mancingwane and shops at Kwite Business Centre in Mangwe.
Mpofu, who was asleep with his wife at home, reportedly heard gunshots outside the house and went to investigate.
He intercepted three robbers armed with machetes and knives in the dining room and they switched off lights and attacked him demanding cash.
Fearing for his life, Tshuma reportedly handed over ZAR18 000 and they took a television set and two cellphones before escaping from the scene after deflating his vehicle tyres.
The robbers reportedly proceeded to Kwite Business Centre where they pounced on a shop before attacking and injuring customers.
They reportedly demanded money from the shopkeeper and were given an undisclosed amount and sped off after deflating tyres of a vehicle parked at the business centre.
Matabeleland South police spokesperson, Inspector Loveness Mangena confirmed the robbery yesterday.
“We are appealing to members of the public not to keep large sums of money in their houses or business premises as that will attract robbers. We are also appealing to those who might have information about the suspects to come forward or report at their nearest police station,” Mangena said.