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Parliamentarians concerned over the increase in armed robberies

Parliamentarians have expressed concern over the increase in armed robberies in the country, a situation they say puts the lives of many Zimbabweans at risk.

The country has of late been experiencing cases of armed robberies and last week there was a cash-in-transit robbery in central Harare in which cash amounting to US$91,980 and ZWL$514,840 was stolen.

Speaking in the National Assembly Wednesday, Bikita East legislator, Johnson Madhuku asked Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Deputy Minister, Ruth Mavhunga-Maboyi what the government was doing about the armed robberies.

“Madam Speaker Ma’am, in recent days and months we have been seeing a proliferation of cases of armed robberies throughout the country,” he said.

“It is so disturbing because as a nation, we are feeling that we are very insecure. A lot of people are being shot and in some cases, even by guns with silencers. I would like to ask the Hon. Minister for Home Affairs, what has been put in place by the Ministry to ensure that they are proactive.”

In her response, Mavhunga-Maboyi said the government was equally concerned with what is happening in the country.

“We are very worried about the armed robberies which are happening,” she said. “Police are not everywhere but we are trying our best to make sure that we protect the people, banks and so forth. However, you will find that things are happening. We are talking of people who are intelligent and are also understudying the police.”

She explained further: “I do not think that we are all happy here about what is happening but it is happening. We are facilitating whatever we are able to do. If armed robberies are happening, usually we go and attend to that and at times we do not have vehicles to dash quickly but we are trying to do everything we can.”

But Norton legislator, Temba Mliswa was not convinced by Mavhunga-Maboyi’s explanation.

“My supplementary question is, the numbers of armed robbers involve people in the security, the army, police and these are trained people and they are dangerous,” said Mliswa.

“It seems that you have been overtaken in terms of protecting the citizens. To be honest, what are you doing as the police? Are you well equipped? Are you well-trained to be able to deal with former army personnel and so forth in terms of kubata pfuti (holding the gun)? We need to be quite serious. It is not the civilians who are doing this. If we do not say this, we are lying to the nation.”

He added: “It is the ex-soldier, police, security, and some serving who are given guns. While they have guns, they use those guns to do armed robberies. What are you doing to curb that? What measures are you taking as the Ministry of Home Affairs to first deal with your own? The issue is not about the people. It is about your own security. What are you doing to ensure that people are safe?”

Mutare Central MP, Innocent Gonese also weighed in demanding to know what the government was doing about members of the army and police involved in the robbery cases.

 “If there are trained personnel who are doing that, for sure they are experts,” said Mavhunga-Maboyi.

“We also have police officers who are experts but we cannot say the police or the army are the ones who are stealing. Even ourselves here, we might be one of those who are doing that. We are saying once they are arrested we are going to deal with them.”

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