Whinsley Masara, Chronicle Reporter
POLICE in Matabeleland South have banned the carrying of dangerous weapons in public for the next three months saying they were being used to commit serious crimes which include robbery, unlawful entry and assault.
The order, which has been made under the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), became effective last Wednesday and will run until June 15.
Similar bans have been effected in Bulawayo and Matabeleland North.
Acting Officer Commanding Police in Gwanda District, Superintendent Stephen Mutema, said no one must carry knobkerries, knives, catapults, machetes and daggers in public when the ban is still effective.
“The Regulating Authority of the area believe on reasonable grounds that carrying in public (whether openly or by concealment in a public place or public thoroughfare) or public display of any of the following weapons or items capable of use as a weapon; catapults, machetes, axes, knobkerries, swords, knives or daggas or any traditional weapons whatsoever is likely to occasion public disorder or a breach of peace.
“I hereby declare and issue an Order prohibiting the carrying of such weapons in Gwanda District for a period not exceeding three months from March 15 to June 15, 2017,” he said.
Supt Mutema said the Order has been necessitated by an increase in assault, murder and robbery cases mostly committed by illegal gold panners and at drinking places.
“Our statistics chart indicates assault as the most dominant crime committed within our province and this has become a cause for concern to us as a security force. In the period of January to February 2017, Kezi alone recorded about 22 assaults with most of the cases being recorded at mining areas and drinking spots.
“Due to the increase in assault, murder, robberies, and unlawful entry cases, it is our belief that possession of dangerous weapons exacerbates the crimes hence the need to issue a temporary ban on the possession of such weapons in public places,” he said.
Supt Mutema said during the period, police will intensify random stop and search operations and those found in possession of banned weapons will be arrested.
He said places like Esigodini, Filabusi, Fort Rixon, Kezi and Gwanda Urban would be closely monitored as they have reportedly recorded the highest assaults and murder crimes.
Last year, police in Bulawayo province issued a similar ban which expired in November following illegal protests in the city.