SENIOR Zanu PF officials have been implicated in violent clashes over gold claims in the Midlands province, a government official has said.
The fights have reportedly pushed the province to the top of a list of areas with most violent crimes, especially involving dangerous weapons such as machetes, Midlands Provincial Affairs minister Jason Machaya told a ruling party meeting recently.
“I must inform the leadership that it has come to our attention that Midlands is topping the list of violent murders using machetes,”
Machaya told a Zanu PF provincial co-ordinating committee meeting held in Gweru last Saturday.
“Some politicians are being accused of being ring leaders of violence and as a province we must seriously address this issue.”
Machaya singled out Kwekwe and Zvishavane as areas with the most violence involving illegal gold panners in the province.
Contributing to the discussion Gokwe-Kana legislator, Owen Ncube distanced Zanu PF from the gold wars, saying thorough investigations should be carried out so that the name of the party was not tarnished.
He said Zanu PF youths who were allocated gold claims in Kwekwe had no criminal records of violence.
“There are no registered youths from Zanu PF who were allocated claims, who have been implicated in murder cases involving machetes and mining disputes,” Ncube said.
“We invite law enforcement agents to make thorough investigations so that the name and image of the party (Zanu PF) is not put into disrepute.”
According to police reports, last year the province recorded 89 cases involving the use of machetes.
Of the cases, 10 people lost their lives, while 30 were injured and 10 displaced.
Recently, Mines minister Walter Chidakwa said the government had set-up a taskforce to investigate deaths and injuries caused by gold wars.-Newsday