BY Brenna Matendere

Police in the Midlands province have banned the possession of machetes in public places as cases of violence involving gangs wielding the weapons escalate.

Last month, Kwekwe police issued a three-month prohibition order against possession of machetes, but in a statement yesterday the force extended the ban to the other four main districts that have been hotbeds of criminal activity. These are Gweru Urban, Gweru Rural, Gokwe and Zvishavane.

“Due to the increase in cases of violence using machetes, knobkerries, swords, knives, spears or daggers, catapults and other offensive weapons the possession of such whether by openly carrying or concealment in public is likely to occasion public disorder or a breach of peace,” Midlands police spokesperson Inspector Joel Goko said in a statement.

He said people who disregard the ban would face the full wrath of the law.

“The police in the province shall be visible in residential areas, central business districts, industrial, mining and rural communities. We shall be conducting patrols and traffic enforcement activities as a deterrent measure against the commission of crimes using these dangerous weapons,” Goko said.

This comes as the judiciary has also threatened tough action on machete gangsters. Yesterday, a 49-member machete gang, which last week invaded a police base in Gokwe North in an attempt to rescue its arrested counterparts, was denied bail. Gokwe magistrate Musaiona Shortgame remanded the gang to January 22 for trial. Shortgame said the gang members were facing a serious crime and were a flight risk if released on bail.