THE media, social groups and opinion leaders have been called upon to desist from labelling criminal gangs in a way that creates tribal tensions.
According to the State media, the call was made by Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister, Kazembe Kazembe who was reacting to the continuous stereotyping of machete wielding criminals as MaShurugwi. Society has been made to believe criminals terrorising genuine artisanal miners are from Shurugwi, hence the name MaShurugwi.
Information on the arrested culprits suggests that they come from different parts of the country and none of them come from Shurugwi. Minister Kazembe says the repeated labelling has the potential to create tension, not only among artisanal miners but Zimbabweans at large.
“People must stop the use of the word Mashurugwi referring to criminals. These are criminals and have nothing to do with Shurugwi. This practice promotes unnecessary divisions. Let us be responsible citizens. We are a peace-loving nation,” Minister Kazembe urged.
Artisanal miners say such criminal elements have tarnished their image and called on government to take the necessary measures.
“They come to terrorise us and what we are asking for is for the authorities to arrest these criminals. We are genuine people and we do not want criminals to soil our operations. I was attacked last week,” one of the miners said.
Meanwhile, Minister Kazembe assured citizens that all the criminals will be brought to book.
“We are still pursuing these criminals and we will not tire until we arrest all of them. Artisanal miners are important in the growth of the economy and we will protect them,” Minister Kazembe assured. Last week some machete-wielding criminals killed a police officer in Kadoma. The police have managed to arrest some of the culprits and none among them is from Shurugwi.
Shurugwi is a beautiful town located about 40 kilometres outside Gweru.
The town is home to the scenic Boterekwa Mountains, one of the most beautiful places in Zimbabwe and a potential tourist attraction.