By Vumani Mthiyane
Umzingwane villagers have expressed concern at the high crime rate in the district with most of the cases blamed on undocumented illegal gold panners amid calls for the law to make it mandatory for people to carry identity documents.
Speaking during a public hearing on the Maintenance of Peace and Order (MOPO) bill, organised by the Parliamentary Portfolio on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services together with the Thematic Committee on Peace and Security, villagers said there is a need for the law to make it mandatory for people to carry their identity particulars.
“As a miner and a farmer, I have discovered that whenever there is a gold rush here at Umzingwane district, people always invade our territory. Most of the outsiders come without national identification particulars and therefore we want the law to enforce the carrying of an I.D card at all times,” said Daniel Zondo.
“Secondly, everyone who comes to the district to conduct such activities must be vetted through the district administrator’s office because after the gold rush some remain behind to commit heinous crimes as they cannot be easily identified.”
Another villager who identified himself as Dube implored traditional chiefs to vet people who settle in their areas.
“I am happy because our chiefs are here. People coming as far as Gokwe, Shurugwi and other parts of the country just come to settle here without even notifying our traditional leaders which creates a lot of confusion.
“Don’t just come from Mutare to lead us because you don’t know our tradition, for example, if we are to go the Njelele shrine it is us who know better than a foreigner.
Umzingwane has become a place to harbour criminals and ex-convicts because security officers are overstaying here for wrong reasons.
“Be it an officer from the president’s office, army or police must not stay more than five years because they end up fuelling corruption and crime,” quipped Dube adding that some of the officers own vast tracks of land yet locals have nothing.
Community Youth Development Trust, Director Sichasisiwe Ndlovu said the clause that gives powers to security personnel to right to shoot to kill during demonstrations or when one is committing a crime, must be struck off from the bill.
“As a parent, I strongly condemn the shoot to kill concept. What measure is considered to warrant someone to be killed? I am working with young people and most of them do not have identification particulars.
“I am also privileged to work for an organisation that petitioned this very same committee to this effect.
“Why can’t we have a conducive environment for people to register for I.Ds first because the seven day period stipulated by this Bill is not enough?
“Lastly, this Bill infringes on our constitutional rights. Whenever we convene meetings, we are required to provide a list (number) of the participants. That alone is intimidating and infringing into my constitutional rights as a human being.
“This Bill came at the right time but has to consider some of the constitutional provisions and also observe the right of every Zimbabwean,” said CYDT Director Ndlovu.
In an interview with CITE, Umzingwane Member of Parliament, Levy Mayihlome also emphasised on the need for the law to be strict on identity documents.
“In MOPO and indeed other legislations there is need to address such things. Personally, I believe that having an ID and carrying it must be mandatory. Trespass laws need to be reinstated and all employment seekers must register with Employment Exchange and vetted before being employed,” said the MP.
He added that mining like all other industries must be formalised.