A magistrate in Zimbabwe today issued a search warrant to the Zimbabwe Republic Police to search the main opposition party’s headquarters. The warrant states that police are looking for machetes and any subversive materials.
Of late there has been an upsurge of violent robberies in Zimbabwe which has been attributed to a gang of gold-panners known as Mashurugwi. The gang is known to move in groups wielding machetes, guns and knives. They used to be concentrated in the mining areas of Shurugwi in Midlands, however with the growth of artisinal mining across the country, they have now been spread across the country.
Their genesis is attributed to the current president of Zimbabwe Emmerson Munangagwa who has for long been known to be backed by a violent group known as Al Shaabab. The group had its roots in Kwekwe where Munangagwa contested twice as MP and lost to Blessing Chebudo.
The Al Shabaab group was named so due to its ruthlessness and violent nature. A number of people were killed by this group.
As the economy began to falter and mining companies collapsed, gold panning grew in along the mineral-rich Great Dyke. The group started to require patronage fees. In the clashes that followed the panners began to arm themselves with machetes.
Over time Al Shabaab morphed into the panners, and again Mnangagwa and his agents controlled the market. This is common knowlege and it is why Mnangagwa is reluctant to use power to control the violence.
The minister of State Security Muda Ncube who is Mnangagwa’s right-hand man has been linked with the gang. It is alleged he is considered its Godfather.
The raid on MDC headquarters is seen as a way to preempt Nelson Chamisa’s party who have issued an altimatum to the government. Nelson Chamisa was banned from giving a “State Of The Nation” speech to his supporters. This is the second time it has happened and an infuriated Chamisa has vowed to take the military junta head on.
Zimbabwe police is known to be brutal. They are partisan and are fully controlled by Mnangagwa’s ZANU PF party.
In 2019 Zimbabwe government attributed a stash of police helmets that was found in a basement in Harare’s CBD to the opposition. This resulted in another raid on the party headquarters. It was later found out that the helmets had been bought by one of ZANU PF’s associates at an auction by the governemnt.
Each time police raids the party headquarters, they take computers and documents which in the end disrupts the activities of the opposition and also puts its members at risk.