Bulawayo citizens have expressed mixed feelings over the recent decision by the Zimbabwe police to ban residents in the city’s western suburbs from carrying weapons for the next 3 months until November 23.
The Officer Commanding Bulawayo West District, Chief Superintendent Mthokozisi Manzini Moyo, on Monday announced that they was on those found in possession of the weapons deemed dangerous will be arrested to allow legal processes o take place.
Some of the weapons that have been banned include knobkerries, knives, catapults, machetes and daggers.
In a statement, Moyo said the ban has been necessitated by the prevailing volatile political situation and had been effected in terms of the Public Order and Security Act.
However Bulawayo based activist Gift Ostallos Siziba said the decision by police was an assault on the Ndebele culture.
“The recent revelations by Manzini are mind boggling especially coming from a senior police officer. Manzini seems to be out of historical touch with the Ndebele culture, the law is a bi-product of culture hence it should not degrade or corrode the people’s way of life exhibited in a manner they see fit,” said the former University student leader who now leads pro-democracy movements in the city of Kings.
Siziba described the recent decision by the police as ‘draconian’ and unconstitutional which is not good for the country.
“We are a proud society with a history that is full of scars of a top down, centralists approach to decision making, this reflects how Zimbabwe has turned into a failed state. The ban is draconian and unconstitutional, and it is us the citizens who will fight to defend our culture, the political situation will instead worsen due to reasons that are known to all- Mugabe- Mugabe and his mediocre,” he said
Siziba instead blamed the current problems in Bulawayo is being caused by the police.
‘What has constantly escaped the police in this entire travesty is the fact that their mediocrity has ushered all sorts of banality, ineptitude, debauchery, chaos and will soon cause unrest,” he added.
Hapson Ncube of a campaign known as #Mugabemustfall said that this was an intimidation strategy.
“ The ban is an intimidation strategy on the citizens who are victims of the Zanu PF youths in Zimbabwe Republic Police uniform, this means those who are selling knives on the streets to earn a living will be arrested in this desperate bid,” said Ncube.
Asked if campaigns such as #Tajamuka and #Mugabemustfall were not leading to violence Ncube said they were peaceful protestors whose rights were being violated.
“I want to clarify that the demonstration are very peaceful and the only violence escalates when the heavily armed police incites and starts butchering innocent and peaceful marchers. Indeed this is a threat on violence by police and a violation of the freedom of expression by police who are now an extension of Zimbabwe,” added Ncube
Another Bulawayo best Pan- Africanist activist and academic Richard Mahomva welcomed the move saying the police were simply protecting the security of citizens.
“The fact that the ban comes as surprise its clear indication of how much the police are aware of some underground mischievous acts of insubordination because you can’t just work up one day and formalize such seemingly radical security measures without any hints of underground acts,” said Mahomva who is popularly known as Ras Mkhonto Wesizwe.
Mahomva highlighted that they was a possibility in the increase of what he called ‘acts of vandalism’ which he said the police must deal with.
“A few days of ago they was vandalism as far as the illicit renaming of the Robert Mugabe way to devolution way, these are decisions which lead to the ban of dangerous weapons. It is informed by security measures to prevent vandalism,” he said.