MIDLANDS Provincial Affairs minister Larry Mavima yesterday called upon all stakeholders to join hands with the police and decisively deal with machete gangs before they become warlords who have a potential to start a civil war.

Speaking at a Gweru (church) Ministers Fraternal-organised meeting on ending violence in the province, Mavima said history was going to charge society harshly for failing to deal with the machete violence menace in the country.

“As society, and the Midlands province in particular, we should begin to ask ourselves: Who are these machete-wielding gangs?” Mavima said.

“The worst thing we can do is fold our arms, watch, sit and do nothing. In other countries, such gangs have become warlords and that is how civil wars start.”

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Mavima said there was need for people to unite and flush out machete gangs who were tarnishing the province’s image.

He said people should always be vigilant and work together with the police to ensure that the province was a no-go area for machete gangs.

“Let us respect and give authority to the police to carry out their duties,” he said.

“Let us build a wall around our city (Gweru) and the whole of Midlands province. It should be a no-go area for machete-wielding people.”

Speaking at the same occasion, officer commanding Midlands police, Assistant Commissioner Moses Magandi said the involvement of the public was the best way to deal with the problem of machete gangs.

He said the name given to the gangs “MaShurugwi” had already soiled Shurugwi town’s image.

“Let us not continue calling them MaShurugwi because they are machete-wielding criminals,” he said.

“As Midlands police, we are going to vigorously revive neighbourhood watch committees as we increase our efforts to involve the public in dealing with this menace.”