CHIREDZI, (CAJ News) – THE relatively peaceful sugar farming town of Chiredzi degenerated into a battlefield amid gun-toting criminals and unruly members of the public engaged in running scuffles that have escalated over the past three months.
According to Lowveld Post weekly newspaper, things came to a head last month when a daring robber, Smart Gwangwava, was buried at Chiredzi Cemetery after mob justice effected by angry citizens in the middle of the night.
He met his fate when he broke into a house near the Zava business centre.
The owner of the house woke up from his slumber and caught him red-handed, after which he alerted neighbours.
Disillusioned by rising crime, the public beat him into pulp.
He died a few days later after he was admitted at the local hospital.
Enraged members of the public rendered the burial chaotic and the town ungovernable.
Marijuana smoke permeated the air and beer flowed as law enforcers watched helplessly.
It was anticipated the demise of Gwangwava would address burglaries.
However, few days after his burial, a couple was severely injured when intruders broke into the house of a money changer.
After failing to get the money, thugs shot the man and his wife on their legs.
They are hospitalized at Chiredzi General Hospital, where ironically Gwangwava died.
The incident sent some shivers down the spines of the public.
The public is blaming police for failing to address the rampant criminality.
“The current situation in Chiredzi entails everyone living in fear and police sleeping on duty. They should have rounded up those criminals during the (Gwangwava’s) funeral wake. Some suspects could have been sniffed out,” said a money changer who refused to be identified.
True to the money changer’s line of thinking, if police had swooped on the skirmishes during Gwangwava’s funeral wake, they could have arrested one Macdonald Mpofu (29) of Gumiremhete village, Chief Chireya in Gokwe.
He was on the wanted list of the Zaka police following alleged murders recorded under case numbers CR 191/01|18 and DR 14|02|18.
After attending Gwangwava’s funeral from Harare, where he was believed to have been in hiding, Mpofu rented a house at number 461 Molly Road.
It is the busiest and well-known road in Chiredzi, stretching from the popular Chigarapasi Beer Hall.
Last week on, a police officer shot the alleged outlaw dead as he tried to rescue his two friends who were arrested while allegedly robbing a passenger who had disembarked from South Africa at the local new rank.
According to police, Mpofu was part of a gang that tried to track the traveler to steal his money using the infamous “Chadonha” but failed to do so because the traveler was alert.
The gang then feigned to the traveler that they were police officers, before handcuffing him and dragging him across the railway line where they robbed him of R6 000.
Two suspects were arrested the following morning.
It later emerged they were accomplices to Mpofu in the previous night’s heist.
After hearing of their arrest, Mpofu mobilised a mob in a bid to rescue the two.
According to a police memo in Lowveld Post’s possession, Mpofu was shot during a scuffle with an officer.
He was taken to Chiredzi General Hospital but was immediately transferred to Masvingo Provincial Hospital where he was confirmed dead upon arrival. He has been laid to rest at his rural home in Gokwe.
This has aggravated tensions between police and the gang.
The gang has declared war against the police, particularly at the Molly Road where Mpofu was shot.
Zimbabwean police on the other hand, save for some lapses at Gwangwava’s funeral, are known for their no-nonsense approach when dealing with criminals.
- CAJ News