Freeman Razemba-Crime Reporter
At least 85 unregistered firearms have so far been voluntarily surrendered to the police by members of the public countrywide following the recent amnesty granted by President Mnangagwa.
Last week, members of the public who were in possession of unlicenced firearms and ammunition were granted an amnesty by President Mnangagwa to voluntarily surrender them to the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) by September 30 and face no criminal charge.
The call came after cases of abuse of firearms, often unregistered, have been on the rise, with unlicenced owners committing heinous crimes such as murder.
To combat the scourge, the President granted the amnesty in line with Article 12 of the SADC Protocol on the control of firearms, ammunition, and related materials.
In an interview, national police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the developments.
“So far a total of 85 unregistered firearms only have been surrendered to the police. We however would like to call upon the public to surrender the ammunition as well,” he said.
Asst Comm Nyathi said they had noted with concern that only unregistered firearms were being surrendered without the ammunition.
Police last week said those holding firearms should surrender them at their nearest stations between August 8 and September 30 with no criminal charges against them.
“In this regard, the Zimbabwe Republic Police advises the public that in line with Article 12 of SADC Protocol on the control of firearms, ammunition, and related materials, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, His Excellency Dr Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa has granted an amnesty to all members of the public who are in possession of firearms and ammunition falling under the categories listed above to voluntarily surrender them to the Zimbabwe Republic Police from August 8 to September 30, 2022.
“The firearms should be surrendered to any nearest police station with the volunteer being given an official safe custody receipt to confirm that the weapon has indeed been taken over by the police officer at the local police station.
“No criminal charges will be preferred to members of the public during this period as long as one complies with the provisions of the Presidential Amnesty,” Asst Comm Nyathi said.
He said the police will conduct physical checks and verifications on all residential and business premises where illegal firearms are suspected to be.
Checks and records, said Asst Comm Nyathi, have revealed that some companies have closed yet their representatives are still holding onto firearms, some members of licenced gun clubs are no longer active while some farmers, hunters and individuals are no longer in the same position that they were, when they applied for firearm licences.
On the other hand, he said relatives of late firearm licence holders are still holding on to firearms, some of which are used to commit various crimes, including armed robbery.
He said it was disheartening that some licenced firearm holders are no longer renewing their firearm certificates or even notifying the authorities about the change in residential or business addresses to enable constant checks to be made by the police on the status of the firearms.
He added that some individuals and institutions were improperly securing firearms resulting in some falling into wrong hands and being used to commit robbery and murder cases, while some licenced gun dealers and clubs are holding on to unclaimed firearms which were surrendered to them for safekeeping.
The amnesty covers anyone who is in possession of any weapon which was smuggled or illegally brought into the country.
Police recently said that more registered firearm owners are abusing their guns countrywide and those who use their legal firearms for anything but what their licences state risk revocation of their licences and face arrest.
Asst Comm Nyathi said members of the public who possess firearms should comply with the law and stop carrying or displaying such firearms in public gatherings, shopping centres, service stations, and other public places.