POLICE in Hwange District, Matabeleland North and Bulawayo have banned the carrying of weapons in public over the next three months amid concern over the prevalence of crimes such as murder, robbery and assault.
In separate statements, officers commanding four Bulawayo districts and the Officer Commanding Hwange Police District Chief Superintendent Smart Matongo said unanticipated acts of violence resulting in murder, attempted murder, robberies and assault had resulted in police issuing the prohibition order in terms of the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act.
Officers commanding Bulawayo Central, Bulawayo Suburban, Nkulumane and Bulawayo West said in a joint statement that the carrying of catapults, machetes, axes, knobkerries, sword, knives, spears or daggers, any traditional weapons whatsoever which is likely to cause public disorder or a breach of peace was banned until September.
“Hereby issue an order prohibiting the carrying of such weapons in Bulawayo province or any part thereof for a period of three months that is from 07 June 2021 to 06 September 2021. For the avoidance of doubt, it is declared that — any person failing to comply with such a prohibition made under section (1) shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level five or imprisonment for six months of to both fine and such imprisonment,” they said.
In Bulawayo last month, two axe-wielding men, suspected to be gold panners, went on a rampage in Mabutweni high-density suburb, axing eight people and killing one. The two men have since been arrested.
Chief Supt Matongo said anyone who acts contrary to the order shall be dealt with in accordance with the law.
“Being the regulating authority for Hwange Police District, do hereby in terms of Section 02(4) of the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act Chapter 11:23, prohibit the carrying or possession of the following weapons in a public place or public thoroughfares within Hwange Police District whether openly or by concealment or public display of catapults, spears, machetes, axes, knobkerries, swords, knives, daggers, stones, or items capable of use as weapons or traditional weapon for whatsoever occasion and might cause public disorder or breach of peace,” said Chief Supt Matongo.
Hwange police district covers areas around Hwange, Binga, Dete, Lusulu, Kamativi and Siabuwa.
He said any person who fails to comply with the prohibition order shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level five or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or both. —Chronicle